November 8, 2015
In “Back to the Future Part II,” Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel from 1985 to October 21, 2015, to find a world filled with flying cars, hoverboards and self-drying jackets.
Those predictions didn’t exactly pan out, although people are working on each of those concepts. (Screenwriter Bob Gale did get a lot of things — from drones to fingerprint scanners — right, as he told TODAY earlier this year.)
The future is now, and it’s pretty cool. But what will the world be like in another 30 years? Three futurists shared their predictions with NBC News.
Katie Aquino, a.k.a. ‘Miss Metaverse’: Super-fast travel, nanomedicine and virtual immortality
“No longer will expensive and lengthy flights be the norm for world travel,” said the futurist and filmmaker known as Miss Metaverse. Instead, frictionless maglev trains will allow “us to travel at speeds in excess of 6,000 miles per hour while only feeling a G1 gravitational force, the same we feel when riding in a car.”
At those speeds, going from New York to Beijing will only take two hours. And if you get sick on your trip?
“Nanotechnology, although not a hot topic today, will likely unlock the keys to destroying cancer cells and ‘programming’ stem cells for a myriad of health benefits in the future,” she said.
Customized drugs will solve a lot of ailments. Death isn’t one of them, but we could still find a way to become immortal … kind of.
“Our future lives may truly be limitless thanks to an organization known as the 2045 Initiative that’s working towards a goal of uploading human consciousness into synthetic avatars,” she said. “Much like in the movie ‘Avatar,’ humans may evolve into what are theoretically known as post-humans, human consciousness in upgraded or synthetic bodies.”
Jamais Cascio: Jurassic pets and augmented reality clothing
Love the movie “Jurassic Park” but don’t like being eaten by terrifying symbols of man’s hubris?
Synthetic biology could let people create “miniature versions of various dinosaurs or other prehistorical creatures,” said writer and futurist Jamais Cascio. That might include a “mini-Velociraptor on a leash, with the right behavior modification to make sure it’s safe to be around,” or a “micro-Brontosaurus that’s perfect for a kid to ride.”
Of course, you want to look when riding around on your designer dinosaur. Hence the augmented reality clothing, which, Cascio said, will be visible to people wearing the “ubiquitous smart glasses, digital contact lenses, and eye upgrades.”
“Imagine a dress that looks like (and acts like) it’s made of water,” he said. “Or a Halloween costume that appears to be entirely made of living spiders.”
That would look great with a pair of sneakers with power laces.
James Canton: Digital memories and robot soldiers
Sharing a Facebook photo won’t seem very impressive in 2045, according to James Canton, a futurist, writer and business consultant.
That’s because people will share “entertainment memories,” which are “like real-time videos,” he said, “except others can experience the emotion, physical sensation and actual experience as if they were there.”
Intense and kind of creepy! Gene-editing will eliminate genetic diseases, he predicted, and replica organs will be printable on demand.
And yes, “Terminator” fans, there will be machine combat as “robots fight our wars, no more human soldiers.”
There is no guarantee that any of these technologies will arrive, of course. Hopefully by 2045, we will see at least some of the predictions from “Back to the Future Part II” come true, although there is a decent chance we still won’t have flying cars and the Chicago Cubs (currently losing in the playoffs to the Mets) will still be waiting for their first World Series win since 1908.