It’s the late night of October 21, 2015, the day that Marty McFly visits the “future” in Back to the Future Part II. It’s being celebrated and laughed about in all corners of the internet, mixing nostalgia for a beloved trilogy of films with amusement at the inaccuracies of its predictions. I think it’s causing some reflection upon the state of society and technology today compared to our expectations.
No, nothing hovers, but you do have WiFi on your cell phone. I’d say we’re good.
But what makes these films (notably the first two) such touchstones in our culture? Why are they so endlessly memorable and entertaining?
The “# impressions” or “# views” meters next to tweets or Facebook posts can be a little intoxicating. It’s easy to get caught up in chasing that value, making it rise. It’s always right there, if you manage a Facebook page or use tools like Hootsuite. As if it’s all that matters in our digital world based on eyeball glances.
When I encounter a problem that doesn’t really have a concrete solution when searching online, it gets frustrating. I still haven’t found a perfect fix for this issue, but I am able to get by for now.
I upgraded to Windows 10 a few months ago and didn’t have many issues. The games I wanted to play worked just fine, as did everything else. Then recently I tried to play Far Cry 3, and it simply wouldn’t run when I double-clicked it from Steam. (More specifically, my Steam avatar would become green-bordered for a few seconds, indicating I was playing a game, then return to blue.)
I came across this image on Facebook this evening. The framing of this scenario tees it up for a understatement joke, like a wholly pitiful expletive, but I ended up taking the question very seriously, pondering the speech that a person might give at this sight, at this realization. Here’s what I came up with:
We may very well be the last humans alive. Our species may be finished like so many others on that precious blue marble. But how fitting that the last of us spend our final moments on the frontier of progress in science. That humanity’s purpose, if we had one, of the pursuit of knowledge allowed for this both literal and figurative perspective. We send this message over radio waves into the blackness of space, our voices slowly fading into the aether of cacophonous silence. We were here.
What would you say?