Great Scott! St. Bonaventure University talks Back to the Future

By Jason Klaiber @J_Klaibs

Oct. 21 2015 most likely isn’t circled as a special day in your calendar, unless perhaps you plan to celebrate the occasion of it being 10 days before Halloween. In film circles, however, it signifies the day that Marty McFly and “Doc” Brown travel in time by way of the DeLorean in 1989’s Back to the Future Part II.

In the sequel to the series’ inaugural 1985 blockbuster, director Robert Zemeckis foresaw flying cars, self-tying shoes and a World Series-winning Chicago Cubs roster in the year 2015. With the Cubs currently playing in the National League Championship Series, the latter of those three actually retains the potential to happen on schedule. The others? Not so much. What the film thematically envisioned with an accurate scope, though, is that society would welcome a range of differences by today’s date.

St. Bonaventure University journalism and mass communication professor Kimberly DeSimone had just started college at Niagara University when the film premiered in November 1989.

“I think the biggest change [since 1989] has been the shift in power,” said DeSimone. “There used to be a hierarchy of power where a small group of people had all of the power—and the masses did not—in every industry. I think a lot of the technological advances have allowed that vertical hierarchy to become more horizontal. So you can put out your music, and you can put out your writing, and you can have an influence of public opinion and so forth without the gatekeepers of previous [times] being the only ones who can do that.”

Brother Kevin Kriso, O.F.M., saw Back to the Future Part II when it debuted in theaters.

“The fax machine was a big deal back then,” said Kriso. “The Internet wasn’t really invented yet, so those sorts of things have jumped forward really fast.”

In the spirit of Back to the Future Part II, students and faculty members predicted how our world might look in another 30 or so years.

“We’re all going to be able to fly,” said freshman finance major Justin Lefave.

Junior journalism major Riley Eike said she doesn’t think society will be much different in 30 years.

“I really hope that jetpacks are a thing,” said Eike.

Eike also said that by that time, there should be a system for instantly transferring meals to other countries to help prevent wasting of food.

Senior strategic communications major Andrew Bevevino thinks that robotics will play a more prominent role in civilization.

“I know they’re on the verge of developing the technology to overtake jobs that actual people do,” said Bevevino.

Sophomore psychology major Katie Tercek also thinks there will be more technological advances over the next 30 years.

“The appearance of everything will become way more modern than we already think it is, from clothing to houses,” said Tercek.

Senior strategic communications major Allie Napoli said she sees hints at what the future will be like in today’s young children.

“Instead of creating their own world in their minds, there’s already a world in front of them within their phones,” said Napoli. “Their brains don’t develop in the same way as their parents. The imagination and brain stimulation won’t be there.”

DeSimone believes everyone will have their own personal Wikipedia page, which will serve as a historical archive without many privacy boundaries.

“I think people are going to have a distinctly high level of knowledge and understanding of this generation of people that we never had before,” said DeSimone.

Bonaventure television engineer Joe Paciorkowski equates how people treat their computers nowadays to the way his father treated the car his family owned and said the future will revolve even more around computers.

“In the world of technology, it’s going to be incredible,” said Paciorkowski.

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