By Isaac Woods
The film Back to the Future debuted in 1985 and made flying cars a seemingly attainable goal by 2015, the year in which the film’s sequel is set. Yet here we are in 2021, and still no flying cars…what gives?
In our interview with Kalyn Farris, we discuss her past and what other things she thought the future would hold as a child, what’s going on in her present, and of course, her current thoughts on the future. Kalyn, who currently works as Director of Organizational Effectiveness for one of the country’s top medical groups, wanted to work in medicine since she was eight. Back then, the dream was to become a neurosurgeon, so she could learn all about the brain and save others from the plague of brain cancer, with which her brother was diagnosed when she was a child. In her current role, though not as hands-on as a neurosurgeon, she is helping patients at scale by leading strategy and ensuring the effective operation of hospitals all across the nation so that all patients can get the best care possible.
Above: Founding Partner Kalyn Farris with her late brother Jonathan, who inspired much of her life’s efforts around making the world a better place.
While there are no flying hoverboards today, we do have the technological marvel that is the iPad, which Kalyn considers one of her most precious possessions today, only topped by her Golden Retriever, Ruthie, named after the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The iPad gives you the ability to carry thousands of books, sit face-to-face with people across the globe, and carry the computing power that in 1985 would have taken up an entire room...all in a package that fits in a small briefcase.
Looking to the future and what excites Kalyn about things to come, it’s back to flying cars. While they aren’t quite close yet, virtually autonomous ones are here already. As a California resident, more virtual workplace post-COVID and more autonomous vehicles may positively change one of the worst aspects of California life, traffic (San Jose, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are in the top five most congested US Cities). Kalyn believes that virtual workspaces could seriously impact California highways; less traffic would mean less stress for a lot of people, as well as a significant reduction in pollution. Thinking five years in the future, “I’m interested to see if commuting is going to be a totally different experience,” she said.
When asked what she would want to put in a time capsule for the high school class of 2121 to open, Kalyn rattled off the following list:
a 2021 technology package consisting of a laptop, iPad, and Apple Watch,
prints of some of the most popular memes from today.
Until someone creates a working flux capacitor, no one knows exactly what the future holds. Kalyn’s wish is to leave as small a footprint as possible and, through the Gordian Knot Society, leave the world just a little better than she found it for the next generation.
Photo courtesy of Kalyn Farris archives.