Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET)
To everyone’s dismay, the future has not actually arrived. Folks, hoverboards are not real.
At long last, actor Christopher Lloyd of “Back to the Future” fame conceded Wednesday in a Funny or Die apology video that the strange and still confounding online viral campaign promoting a working hoverboard was indeed a hoax, throwing in the towel on what has been a drawn out, exhaustive social-media time suck for the last 24 hours.
HUVr, the company purported to be behind the groundbreaking new technology, is fake, as are its “Back to the Future”-inspired hoverboards. The effort — seemingly concocted by Funny or Die and aggressively pushed on Facebook using the likes of Tony Hawk, Terrell Owens, and others — has now come to a somber end. What we’re left with is nothing but a deep sense of disappointment that hoverboards are nowhere near real, and an even deeper sense of shame that we spent time debunking this instead of, you know, becoming physicists specializing in superconductivity.
Lloyd at least approached the admission with a sense of humor. “Hey there hoverheads,” he says, wearing a fantastic purple HUVr promotional hat that one can only hope surfaces on eBay soon. “Those rascals over at Funny or Die tricked you and me both into thinking hoverboards were real,” he adds, appending a list of “tricked” synonyms including “flimflammed” and “hoverduped,” which is now a necessary addition to modern vernacular. He proceeds with a semi-sincere apology for leading people on, to overtly dramatic background music.
Funny or Die)
The original HUVr product teaser, which went up on YouTube on Monday accompanied by a decently well-made company Web site, quickly went viral as online news outlets began writing about it and its questionable veracity. It was easy to pick the video apart: Internet sleuths spotted shadows of cranes, deduced mathematical discrepancies with the hoverboard’s tech specs, and surfaced the portfolio Web sites of nonfamous actors and production crew members involved with the video.
Still, HUVr kept up the act, taking to its increasingly popular Facebook page, now at 112,000 likes, to assert that its product was in fact real. Though as the attention mounted, whoever was in charge of the social-media efforts either became bored or was told to have some fun with it, because the page began posting self-aware gems that perpetuated a quasi-naive understanding of the Web.
There’s still no explanation for why Funny or Die, or any of the multiple celebrities involved, got together to make the video. Is it evidence of the existence of “Back to the Future Part IV”? A viral ad campaign for the new Tony Hawk mobile game? Or a Nike-influenced plug for the company’s upcoming self-tying shoes? We don’t know right now, and it’s highly unlikely anyone will really care if and when we do find out.
Screenshot by Nick Statt)
Lloyd did close out his apology with some good news. A lucky Facebook user will get the chance to win a signed hoverboard used in the video — specifically the 1980s pink one stylized after Marty McFly’s “Back to the Future Part II” hoverboard. Apparently, the video will soon be posted to the HUVr Facebook page where a commenter on the post will be chosen to receive the prize. Lloyd didn’t disclose how the winner will be picked.
“This belongs to the people…at the very least, one person will be happy after so many of you have been sad,” Lloyd says. “Part of me is happy about my involvement. Because if we inspire one person to get into the hover sciences, I consider that a victory. Here’s to hoverboards being actually real one day. Go, do it! Make it happen! For all of us.”
At least Doc Brown is right about one thing: Hover sciences are the next frontier for humanity. Let’s all use this as a lesson and get to work revolutionizing transportation, most importantly pizza delivery.
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