The Back to the Future series of SF films are also arguably somewhat comedic as well. In Back to the Future Part II, Marty travels to the year 2015 and we, the audience, get to enjoy a spectacle of futuristic technologies from self lacing shoes to hover boards.

Were the filmmakers making a genuine effort to predict the technologies of the world of 2015, or were they were just grabbing a bunch of ideas and sticking them in together?

If they were planning it out, was part of their efforts to- I am not sure how to put this, but- “unify” the technologies? The idea being that as technology evolves, it can upgrade multiple technologies simultaneously.

For example, we posit flying cars in BTTF2, okay well why wouldn’t that technology also be available for other wheeled device, like skateboards? I don’t know if that’s what they actually did with the hover boards or if it was The Future And Therefore Flying EVERYTHING as an idea.

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    What counts as a genuine effort? Seeing a psychic? Studying all the latest tech trends for 3 years?
    – Raditz_35
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 9:35
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    @Raditz_35 sure to both but I was thinking more likely having a meeting where everyone sat around a table and hashed out what they thought would be reasonable to expect to see some variation of in 2015.
    – Broklynite
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 9:38
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    @Raditz_35: When making Minority Report, Spielberg held a three-day think-tank with 15 experts to try to predict the future more realistically. It kind of nailed the targeted advertising we see on the web now, although its version is a bit more transparent than ours. Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 12:17
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    @PaulD.Waite That’s exactly the sort of thing I’m talking about, I figured someone had to be doing it. Thanks!
    – Broklynite
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 14:04
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    Arguably? They're comedies, not somewhat comedic.
    – ian
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 19:13

1 Answer 1


According to the Q&A Commentary with Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, Back to the Future Part II Blu-Ray, 2010, the description of 2015 was not meant to be accurate. In the commentary, Zemeckis says (quoted by Wikipedia):

"For me, filming the future scenes of the movie were the least enjoyable of making the whole trilogy, because I don't really like films that try and predict the future. The only ones I've actually enjoyed were the ones done by Stanley Kubrick, and not even he predicted the PC when he made A Clockwork Orange. So, rather than trying to make a scientifically sound prediction that we were probably going to get wrong anyway, we figured, let's just make it funny."

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    Flying cars prototypes go back to 1926, they are nowadays commercially available (3 years off from the prediction), cars working on waste has also been tested and several anti-gravity patents are not even mentioned... Entertainment that captivates millions of people does indeed influence the minds of creators, an older example is Jules Verne's atomic submarine.
    – CPHPython
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 9:16
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    Star Trek also goes into this category. Bill Gates (by way of example) and a few others (founder of IBM as another example) were heavily inspired by the computers and communicators of Star Trek: TOS and wanted those devices to be real world. Now they pretty much are.
    – ahwm
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 20:57
  • @ahwm: IBM was founded in 1911 (and named "International Business Machines" (IBM) in 1924) - about 55 years before Star Trek aired. And the founder died about 32 years before it debuted. So I don't know who you're thinking about. Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 22:25
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    I imagine he is thinking about (as most people would), the second CEO of IBM (1952–71), Thomas Watson Jnr, who drove the shift of IBM from focussing on mechanical to electronic devices. Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 1:23
  • @MichaelMacAskill Yes. Thank you. I just lost my marbles for a bit. :)
    – ahwm
    Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 16:02

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