“Ten Things That Will Disappear In Our Lifetimes” (…Or Sooner???)
Actually, gang, the final article this month is not designed to be humorous; I put it together to be thought-provoking and to encourage you to think a little. (Maybe even go hmmmm?) Since we are all involved heavily in computers and technology I thought it would be interesting and enlightening to consider what facets of our society will no longer be here in the near future.
Below is a list of ten things that a number of experts feel will no longer be in our lives just ten years from now. See if YOU agree; I’d be curious to get your feedback…..
- THE POST OFFICE:
Snail mail is so deep in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. E-mail, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post offices alive. Most of your mail every day is just junk mail and bills. Online bill payment options, mobile technologies and social networking for minimum costs will further put the nail in the post office coffin.
(I’ve got-to agree BIG time with this one. Oh, the post office may still be around in en years, but I see it dramatically transformed into another entity like FedEx or UPS. Recently, I couldn’t see what the big deal was when they wanted to eliminate Saturday delivery of the mail. What’s the big deal?! You can’t wait until Monday to get the latest Sears flyer!?)
- THE CHECK:
It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check.
(I can’t even remember the last time I wrote out a check! The same goes for money – hard currency. I love the convenience of paying with a debit card; and since it deducts the money from my bank account immediately, to me it’s the same as paying cash.)
- THE NEWS PAPER:
The younger generation simply doesn’t read the newspaper. They certainly don’t subscribe to a delivered print edition. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.
(There was a time not long ago when I would purchase three or four different newspapers each day and spend an hour with them over breakfast. But who needs information and news when it may be several hours old? Between the 24-hour TV news services and the Internet feeds, I can be updated on what’s happening in the world virtually in real time. Years ago one of the newspapers I used to read religiously was USA Today. I was shocked recently when I happened to pick up a copy to find it is now the size of a mere over-sized grocery store flyer!)
- THE BOOK:
You say you will never give up the physical book you hold in your hand. You can browse a bookstore online and read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half of a real book. Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find you are lost in the story, can’t wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you’re holding a gadget instead of a book.
(Ahhh, books! I’ve always been a bibliophile and held books to be near-sacred. Over the course of half a lifetime I’ve acquired a pretty extensive personal library. Near the start of the computer revolution, I scoffed at the idea of computer screens taking the place of my sacred physical books. “After all,” I often joked, ” you can’t take your computer to the bathroom!” But with the advent of notepads and e-readers, I was FORCED to change my mind. Now, when I look at the walls of my library, I’m almost embarrassed by the fact that ALL of my precious library (and then some!) can be stored on my Kindle. What a waste of space!)
- THE LAND-LINE:
Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don’t need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they’ve always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service and for those intrusive “telemarketing” calls.
(I agree. Personally, I still have a land-line ONLY because of the business, and the fact that I’m just too dog-gone lazy to go through the process of eliminating it. But each time I get my new copy of the local white pages phone directory, i can’t help but notice it gets smaller and smaller every year. My generation is undoubtedly the last to be “tied down” to such an antiquated device.)
Illegal downloading and piracy have just about killed record labels. Getting music out in new and innovative ways through technology will be the survival tactic.
(My personal music library consists of roughly 200 CD’s of various types of music, all of which are gathering dust in the basement. Whereas my IPOD can hold many times more music than that at a fraction of the space. And it’s not just music! I spent the ’80’s and 90’s acquiring a collection of over 700 movies on VHS tape. And, then, when DVD’s too over the scene, I swallowed my pride and began buying DVD’s. But now, I stream most of my movie viewing from Netflix or Hulu.)
Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. People are watching TV and movies streamed from computers. And they’re playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4.5 minutes. Now, with DVR recording, many viewers skip right through those pesky advertisements and are watching shows in half the time.
(Now, I can’t quite agree that television will disappear completely. But, as a completely separate device, it WILL be transformed dramatically into a combination TV and personal computer.)
- THINGS THAT YOU OWN:
Many of the possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in “the cloud.” Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your “whatever” from any laptop or handheld device.
(Like I stated above, a lot of today’s entertainment in the form of music and video already reside in the “cloud,” and I have absolutely NO doubt that this trend will reach all-encompassing proportions in the very near future. And this “rent-but-never-own” trend will take in even the non-electronic areas of our lives. I have a number of acquaintances who have never OWNED a car; they just continue to lease them.)
If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That’s gone. It’s been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, “they” know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates. If you buy something, your transaction is put into “a-zillion” profiles, and your ads change to reflect your purchasing habits.
The way we use our time, supplement our time, and cherish our time has changed. Time that used to be spent chasing phone calls and trying to “reach” people has been replaced with technology. Emails and texting have been shown to save “time”. Drive time is now supplemented with “talk time”. Doing two things at once is now the new normal. Some call it a new level of efficiency, while others call it the “distracted” society.
All we will have left that can’t be changed are “Memories”… And then probably Alzheimer’s will take that away from us too!
Welcome to 1984!