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3 predictions about the 2010s that came true – and 3 that didn’t

Science fiction movies and books are always predicting the future. Sometimes the future catches up, and other times, people are left disappointed with the reality of the future. While we continue to wait for teleporters and light sabers, here are three predictions about the 2010s that came true and three that didn’t.

True: Self-lacing Nikes

Jogger wearing running shoes laying down on gray floor, with Nike swoosh logo on display
Credit: Benjamas_Photovec/ Shutterstock

Back to the Future Part II” came out in 1989 after the major success of the first movie in the series. This time, Marty McFly and Doc Brown headed to the distant future of 2015. Creating a future is no easy task, especially when the writers knew that the time was bound to happen in their lifetimes. While many of the inventions that Marty finds never became reality, there was one that did.

Just before the day that Doc and Marty were supposed to land in the future — October 21, 2015 — Nike made good on their destiny to create self-lacing shoes as seen in the movie. The first pair was even delivered to Michael J. Fox, the actor who played Marty McFly. Since then, Nike has continued its self-lacing legacy with new technologies like the E.A.R.L. system, which automatically tightens and loosens according to what you’re doing.

False: Hoverboards

Young people ride two-wheeled "hoverboard" toys in white sneakers and jeans
Credit: Kirill Shashkov/ Shutterstock

Of course, when Nike came out with their self-lacing shoes to fulfill the promises in “Back to the Future,” everyone was hoping that another company would step up and invent Marty’s hoverboard. Unfortunately for all you thrill seekers out there, that one remains to be invented.

The closest thing to the “Back to the Future” hoverboard that exists in real life is the misnamed, two-wheeled "hoverboard" that doesn’t really hover. Today, it can be seen on sidewalks across the country. But because it still touches the ground, it doesn’t count as an official hoverboard.

True: Predictions from "The Simpsons"

Lego figurines of the Simpsons family cartoons
Credit: Semen Trofimov/ Shutterstock

Throughout the decades of its syndication, "The Simpsons" have been eerily accurate at predicting the future. In 2000, they predicted that Donald Trump would become President of the United States. Sure enough, 16 years later it became a reality.

Some other things that the Simpsons accurately predicted include:

  • Autocorrect
  • FaceTime calling
  • Smart watches
  • Nobel prize winners
  • Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show
  • Disney buying Fox

False: Flying cars

Audi, Airbus and Italdesign mobility flying vehicle concept at 88th Geneva International Motor Show
Credit: Kaukola Photography/ Shutterstock

As far back as 1882, people predicted that flying cars would be the primary source of transportation by the 21st century. Artists painted pictures of flying cars carrying people to the opera and restaurants around the city. Even futuristic movies like “The Fifth Element” and “Back to the Future” predicted the invention. Unfortunately, there is still no such thing as a flying car.

While it may not exist for mainstream consumers just yet, there are plenty of companies working on prototypes. AeroMobile is a Slovakia-based company that has a working model of a flying car that can park in regular parking spots and fly at 124 miles per hour. It still might be some time before you see them regularly on (or above) the streets.

True: iPads

Man holding Apple iPad showing apps and features in a dimly lit room
Credit: guteksk7/ Shutterstock

In 1968, Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant space epic “2001: A Space Odyssey” gave the world many new ideas about what technology could achieve in the future. One of the most notable were small, flat personal television screens that the crew used to watch news and get updates about their ship. To people today, they look a lot like Apple iPads.

iPads weren’t released until 2010, meaning that Kubrick accurately predicted the technology almost 50 years before it was reality. He was so accurate with his prediction that, in court, Samsung argued that Apple couldn’t have the patent on tablets because Kubrick invented them first.

False: Mission to Mars

Aerial view of Mars Rovers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In 1996, a group of NASA researchers and scientists got together to discuss how to better study the Red Planet. In their suggestions, they stated that a manned mission to Mars would be entirely possible by the year 2018.

Although NASA has been making strides towards a mission to Mars, nothing has actually happened yet. They did, however, send out a new, higher-tech rover to do more scouting of the Martian landscape in 2018 with plans to send another in 2020. Maybe in the next decade?