“Evolution is far easier to predict than revolution,” says Yuval Rotstein, an entrepreneurship and engineering lecturer at Tel Aviv University. Rotstein’s comment is a reflection on the 1989 movie Back to the Future II, as sci-fi fans across the world celebrate October 21, 2015 – the date Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and co. time-traveled to.
Here we are, on that day 26 years later, and many of the predictions have been realized. Video calls via the likes of Skype or Facetime are an integral feature of daily life for both social and business purposes, bio-metric ID systems are well in place and while we don’t yet see hoverboards flying through the streets, they do exist.
Rotstein, who is also head of consulting for MIT Forum’s Israeli chapter, notes that all the technology predicted in the movie was the evolution of existing technology which was familiar in the 80s.
“But the real revolution, like the Internet, they didn’t succeed in predicting,” he tells The Jerusalem Post.
“This is the big guess: what will be the next revolution, not the evolution of what already exists,” he emphasizes. “In the next 30 years all the apps we know today will be faster, smaller, more fun and more easy to use... but to try to predict a revolution like Facebook or Internet – it’s like trying to predict electricity.”
Yuval Rotstein celebrates Back to the Future Day
He asserts that there will without a doubt be a tech revolution that will change the world in the next 30 years, hazarding a guess that it might be in the field of medical devices. “I hope Israel will play a big part in the innovation of this revolution. I believe we can,” he added.
“As we have shown the world in the last two decades, we have a lot of entrepreneurs and a lot of innovation and we can lead at least one of the next revolutions.”
Indeed, Intel Israel announced Wednesday that while it hadn’t yet developed flying cars, its staff is working on developments which would “make your jaw drop,” and which they would be keen to show to Marty and Doc Brown.
Rotstein also notes that it takes time for technology to come into use in daily life.
“There is a difference between technological capabilities and the commercial use of technology,” he said, explaining that infrastructure and bureaucracy slow the process down, which is a good thing in his opinion.
“Technology isn’t the only factor. We can’t control bikes with electricity, so imagine if there are hoverboards with electricity,” he says referring to their implications on traffic and hazards on the streets and roads. “Imagine if everyone had a hoverboard right now – it would be crazy! It’s good that they’re not here yet.”
Rotstein further remarks that the movie failed to take into account environmental elements, with its vision of high usage of fax machines. “They didn’t predict the green trend. Tech has to take other factors into account.” The movie did, however, feature fuel produced from garbage for cars, which Rotstein hopes will be made a reality within the next 30 years.
“All in all, they did a great job in predicting the future, and since the age of nine when I first saw this movie I have been waiting for 2015,” Rotstein adds. “Finally it’s arrived and it’s certainly a great reason to celebrate Back to the Future Day!”