It's sad, tragic really that this post was inspired by an article I read in the AARP Magazine. I know, right? I'm getting to be that age. In my defense, my mom gave me the article. SHE has a subscription to the magazine. I think, however, I could qualify for my own subscription. But I don't want to talk about that. Ever.
I was unable to find a link to this article because you have to pay to view it. It is from the AARP Bulletin June 2012 issue, page 43 in a recurring section called "Power of 50" and the title is "Vanishing". It's a one page article about some of the everyday items that will soon fall by the wayside. Sort of like this rotary phone...and cassettes, LPs, 8 Tracks, bag phones. Some of these items I don't care about, but some I will miss, and I'm slow to adapt so change is a struggle for me. I'm only now getting to where I am willing to use a debit card. I never use my cell phone, and have never texted. Obviously, I've embraced computers, email, blogging, internet research, social networking etc. But most of the new technology is starting to pass me by. I'm just not interested in being connected all the time...to anyone. But I digress...as usual.
Here are some of the items the article says are vanishing:
- Postal delivery. or the U.S. Post office. Obviously certain things will have to be delivered. I envision a time of more competitive businesses in the private sector taking over package and mail delivery of those things that can't be electronically sent (so far). I'm already seeing fewer catalogs in my mailbox (thank goodness), but I really don't like online catalogs for the things I want to shop for. I'm in transition.
- Analog clocks and watches. Many people use their cell phones for timekeeping and alarms. The modern timekeeping connects to satellite so the time is always correct and automatically changes time zones when traveling or with the seasonal change. I haven't worn a watch in years. Mostly because the world is obsessed with time, and I can just ask or look up...time is posted everywhere. That and I'm not employed so I don't care what time it is.
- Toilet paper. Really? That's what the article says. Smart toilets will have bidets that will both wash and dry your naughty bits. Hmmm, what will that be like?
- Desktops. I wasn't clear if they were referring to desktop computers or desks themselves. At any rate, the article said everything will be paperless and all data saved to computers. The issue I see with this is we will be so enslaved and dependent on the computers that we are then vulnerable to cyber terrorism. If our computers to down, we're crippled.
- Home phones (aka "land lines"). This is already happening. In part, as people are trying to pare down their expenses, they find it doesn't make sense to pay for two plans for the same thing. Phone plans are not always cheap. We still have a land line bundled with our internet access. We rarely use our pay-as-you-go/prepaid cell phones. I can see that changing, I suppose. The I won't answer that one either.
- Glove box road maps. Yeah, with GPS devices in cars and on phones, the paper versions are going away. Implications? What about the tactile, and clarity of vision for those with vision issues. I can't see the freaking screen on my phone as it is. I rather enjoy foldy maps.
- All forms of physical storage media. This includes thumb drives, CD's DVDs, Blue Rays and all of the players. Soon it will all be streamed from, stored to and purchased from the internet. This is a world I could not even have imagined when I was a teenager.
- Language Barriers. Phone aps will (or already are) offering the ability to speak in your language of origin and have it translated into whatever language you want and spoken out. You can carry on a conversation anytime, anywhere, in any language. Hmmmm...how can you trust the nuances? Is it translating your tone as well as the words? We've seen how "auto correct" has gotten some people into some fine pickles. Plus, we will cease to have a reason to make the effort to learn some challenging new things. I see both plus sides and minus sides to all of these potential vanishing acts.
- Gas Pumps. Oh, we'll so miss that! OK, maybe not? Replaced with self serve alternative fuel and charging stations?
- Business Cards. Yup...it's is and will be, all electronic.
- Coins and paper money. Yup...electronic transactions. It's insinuated that currently, cash is primarily used by criminals for transactions they don't want traced. That may not be quite the case just yet, but imagine!
- Person driven vehicles. Google has a robotic car. Nevada will be the first state to issue permits for self-driving autos.
- Passwords. Soon most electronic devices will recognize you via your face, a retina scan, or a fingerprint.
- Cursive Writing (or perhaps writing at ALL in physical form). Four states have already dropped cursive writing from their curriculum.
- Answering machines
- Tube TVs
- Phone Books
- Bank Deposit Slips
- Subway Tokens
- Printed Encyclopedias (I actually thought those went away a long time ago). What about books? Do you think hard copy book will go by the wayside?
- Incandescent light bulbs
- What about paper checks? Grocery store checkers?
Things don't seem to be built to last. Washing machines and such that used to last 25 or 30 years are pooping out with their plastic parts in just a few short years. We want a "greener" world with less waste, but we are cranking out disposable electronic products with no place to pile up the refuse. There sure are a lot of things to consider. Balance and inclusion, and need. Should we make ever increasing speeds and aps for every conceivable thing just because we can? I'm really in a baby-boomer gap. I'm sort of on the tail of baby boomer but not quite young enough to be a gen X er. I use techology, but I can't or don't want to keep up because I don't want to be that "connected". With limited income, I'm priced out of the market for many gadgets that I don't think I need. But I can see that I'm falling behind, and what will that mean as I age?
Tomorrow I'm gong to explore a little the latest craze in employers demanding/requiring access to an employee's social networking sites. Wow...now there's an issue.