As we embark upon a new year, it is often filled with various prognosticators who pretend to know what will occur in the next year. Perhaps nowhere else is this evident than in the financial markets. The year is not yet even a week old and I have seen predictions of the stock market continuing to reach new highs vs. the market crashing to half of its present level. Hyperinflation is on the way with all the Quantitative Easing the Federal Reserve has done vs. we are in a deflationary time with falling commodity prices. A great economic recovery is right around the future vs. the US will face financial ruin.
It is impossible to know what will actually happen, but is often fun to see the predictions and who is actually right. In the spirit of this, I am testing the one of the greatest predictors of future events—Hollywood. The prophet in focus with this blog is the movie Back to the Future II.
For those of you who live under a rock and are not familiar with this classic, Marty McFly has to travel 30 years into the future from 1985 to 2015, to save his kids from ruin. This was a fun example of what the ‘80s Hollywood thought may occur in 2015. Now I do realize the year has just started and some of these items that have not come true yet could. But we first explore what the movie predicted that has happened.
>>Handless and wireless video games. The Wii and Xbox Kinect are great examples of these. In the movie, Marty shows some kids how awesome games were in the ‘80s by playing on some old western shoot-‘em-up game one would find outside of a Wal Mart at that time. One of the brats claims games that require you to use your hands are totally stupid.
>>3D movies and sequels. Almost every movie that comes out now has a 3D option. The grandeur the view and action, the more likely 3D will be available. Now in the movie they had Jaws 19 in 3D. Even though we have not seen a Jaws 19, one can’t argue that most hit movies do have a lot of sequels.
>>Handheld tablet computers. Enter the IPad, Microsoft Surface, Samsung Galaxy, to name a few. Now these items are outselling traditional desktop computers and some are even using these to replace the desktop.
>>Professional baseball in Florida. At the time of the movie, there were none. Now we have the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays.
>>Video conferencing. Tonight, my oldest son was skyping with a friend he has in China. You can now have entire relationships established and never have physically laid eyes on the person.
>>Wall-mounted TVs with multiple channels. If the TV is not suitable for wall mounting, why even think about buying it? As for the channels, it still amazes me how you can have hundreds of them and still not have anything to watch.
>>Personal electronics dominate people’s lives. In the movie, a family dinner had each individual member consumed with wearing TV glasses instead of interacting with each other. Google Glass is one of the newest versions of wearable technology on the market. But even if you do not have one of these, many of us are still consumed with our smartphones and tablets when we should be engaging in each other’s lives.
Now for some items from the movie that are in the works but are not commonplace...
>>Compost fuel. This does exist and is know as biogas. It is used in some large scale methods such as harvesting methane from landfills. But the ability to rummage through the trash to pick up a few items to power the flux capacitors has not become widespread.
>>Flying cars. Now this is not commonplace but there is a company called Terrafugia that converts to a small airplane. Google their website and be amazed! The car cannot hover and take off in a small area like the one in the movie, but it is a start.
>>Hoverboards. A company called Hendo Hoverboards has a prototype and met their initial goal for funding through the website KickStarter in December 2014. Watch out, this could be common in the future.
Now a few items that have not come true that are in the show…
>>Cubs sweeping the World Series in 5. The World Series is the best of 7 so to sweep in 5 would require the fall classic to be 9 games long. I doubt an expansion of the series will happen anytime soon. If baseball season goes any longer, we will be watching it over Thanksgiving. And of course, the Cubbies actually winning? What is with that?
>>Fax machines are the preferred method of communication. Robert Zemeckis’ movie asserts that sending information by fax is by far the most efficient way to communicate in 2015. I suppose the script writer did not see email or IM in the future as most faxes have gone the way of the rotary telephone.
>>Pontiac dealerships are still around. In one of the hoverboard scenes, there is a Pontiac dealership in the background. For this to happen in 2015, GM would have to resurrect the brand.
>>Double ties are an acceptable look. Several male characters in Back to the Future II are sporting double ties. Thankfully, this fashion statement is only found in the movie. I have enough problem with a single tie!
So I suggest to keep some prospective after you listen to the prophets on the financial channels is to download Back to the Future II from Netflix. It will help put the forecasters in place as no human will get it right. For me, I hope hoverboards will become popular, would be content if all fax machines went away, and am happy if the Cubs stay in the cellar (as I am a lifelong Cardinal fan). Anyway, if the Cubbies actually won, I would expect it to be an omen for the end of the world.