The date of October 21, 2015 has been etched in the back of many minds for the better half of a generation. Today is the day that Marty McFly traveled to the future with Doc Brown in the Back to the Future sequel. On that date, Marty arrived in a world of automated diners, hoverboards, flying cars, and the premiere of Jaws 19. Why hasn’t our reality lived up to the one predicted by the creative minds behind the Back to the Future series?
Some aspects of our society do resemble that of the Back to the Future future. One of the first things Marty does in the future (I mean today) is order a drink from a fully-automated diner. While we don’t have Jetsons-style androids cleaning our houses or preparing our food just yet, labor regulation has driven the cost of labor up to the point that businesses are beginning to replace humans with touchscreens and burger-flipping robots.
But where is my hoverboard?! Is it possible that the would-be entrepreneur who would have invented the hoverboard was regulated out of existence or prevented from ever going into business in the first place? Just look at the hostile reaction that gig-economy services like Uber and Airbnb are experiencing in their industry. And with the technological advancement and proliferation of things like 3D printers and drones increasingly falling under government scrutiny, is it possible that we have tons of unmet innovative potential?
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