Thursday, December 1, 2011

WHY WE WILL LOOK SILLY

WHY WE WILL LOOK SILLY

Yesterday’s cutting edge technology, like the once-cool Sony Walkman, looks silly to today’s children who use iPods. Much of current technology will look silly to your future grandchildren, according to Shane Richmond and Ian Douglas who write for UK’s Telegraph newspaper. What follows are a few of the things that they and others predict will look silly to future generations. Actually, I think they are right.

TV schedules: That week-long wait for your favorite TV show was a familiar feature of my childhood. Remember cartoons on Saturday mornings? Now, TV is transforming into a demand-driven service. Watch whatever, whenever you want.

Recipe books: In the house of the future, your fridge will know exactly what food items it contains, and what meals you can make with those ingredients, while video panels embedded within the work surfaces will guide you through every stage of the cooking process.

Laptops: "I used to have to carry a separate bag for my computer," you'll find yourself explaining to some youngster as he unfolds his e-paper, touchscreen laptop, connects it to his cloud storage database and starts watching a film.

Cordless home phones: The phone used to be attached to the wall by a cable and, for some unknown reason, it would probably be in the hall, forcing you to sit on the stairs while you chatted. Then came the cordless phone. Isn't it great to be able to walk around the house while you're on the phone? Your kids already wonder why phones were ever “attached” to homes by a curly cord.

Glasses: Wearing glasses to correct vision problems is still a social norm but with laser eye surgery and contact lenses, it's not hard to imagine a point in the near future when they become obsolete. However, the concept of hanging lenses in front of your face has been around for centuries and is still pretty useful. Sunglasses will be around for a while and your children may start wearing glasses to take advantage of augmented reality services, for example for navigation.

Video and Audio tape: Tape is already a thing of the past in most homes. There's no need to remember to rewind a rental video before you return it. The language remains, however, and your children may wonder why you talk about "taping" a TV show when what you're actually doing is saving it to a hard drive on a Digital Video Recorder (DVR).

Photo processing: The idea that you'd have to shoot a whole roll of film holding, if you are lucky, 36 pictures, before you can see whether any of them were any good, sounds odd to the digital camera generation. Stranger still is the idea of taking your film to the drugstore - after snapping three pointless shots of your cat to finish the film - and then waiting an hour while they processed them.

Watches: You spend most of your time sitting in front of a computer that shows the time in the corner of the screen. When you're at home you can see the time on your DVD player and your oven. And when you're out and about you're carrying a mobile phone that displays the time. Admit it, your watch is just a piece of jewelry now, isn't it?

Keyboards: Many touchscreen devices still make a clicking noise when you type on them but there's no real reason to. Modern keyboards are very quiet - nothing like the thump of old typewriters or the clacking of keyboards from the 80s. But the keyboard itself may not last much longer. They take up space, adding to the bulk of portable devices, and they suffer from being fixed: a British keyboard cannot transform into a Russian one but a touchscreen can. Though touchscreens take some getting used to for those who have learned keyboards it's unlikely that those who grow up with them will have the same problem.

CDs, DVDs and Minidiscs: Physical media are constantly being replaced. The path from records to eight track cartridges to cassettes to CDs to minidiscs to MP3 players is littered with laser discs, digital audiotapes and HD-DVDs. They’re replaced now by wireless downloads to your watching or listening device. Your CD collection is already as outdated as your grandfather's library of Vinyl LP Albums!

Pagers: It required someone to call a number so that a message can be sent to you, to ask you to call them back - is nonsense. Don't even try to explain it to your children.

The map and compass: The time of the paper map and physical compass has already passed. Having a map in a device, such as a mobile phone, means that it can be updated when necessary and can be made interactive.

Black & white film and TV: The world of old used to be in black and white, at least that's how it appears to children.

Letters: The art of letter writing is being killed by the internet. However, it's not just the art, but the technology of letters that has been usurped. The idea of writing something, putting it in the mail, waiting for it to arrive and then waiting even longer for a reply seems bizarre in our world of always-on communications. Plane tickets, bank statements and bills are already paperless for most people.

Fax machines: Every now and again a piece of paper can't be emailed to someone and, as discussed above, the mail is just too slow. So we have to dust off the fax machine in the corner. This technology dates back to the 1970s.

Email: As we've seen already, email has replaced letters and the fax machine. But don't think being email-friendly means you can escape the mockery of your juniors. Teenagers these days eschew email in favor of instant messenger for direct communication and prefer social networks for longer messages.

Gas-powered vehicles: Our children may be slightly perplexed to hear that we used to pump flammable liquid into our cars to keep them running. They’ll be plugging theirs in instead.

Phone booths: Yes kids, we left phones lying around the country, in giant glass boxes with sticking doors that pinched your fingers. Whenever someone wanted to use one of these phones they had to pay, which meant needing to have change on you. Good luck finding a phone booth anywhere today. (Where would Superman change now?) In the future, life long phone numbers will soon be assigned to find you wherever, whenever, forever.

Multiple remote controls: We used to have to walk across the room to change the channel on the television that had only three channels anyway. Now we have four remotes. In future, your mobile phone will probably double as a remote for whatever it is you're trying to operate.

Floppy discs: From the 1969 eight-inch format, to the mid-1990s 3.5 inch plastic case, your children will be amazed to learn that at their best, they held up to 240MB. (A few songs’ worth on their iPod).

Telephone directories: We printed every phone number into a huge book, which we delivered to every household in the country! Seriously! (Now, few have home numbers anyway.)

Dial-up internet access: It will seem odd to future generations that we used to turn our internet access on --during which you couldn't use your phone– and be charged by the minute for access.

Computers in boxes: As components get smaller still and more computing power is transferred to the cloud, cutting the need for local resources, the need for a box will be eliminated altogether.

Visiting the supermarket: By the time your children are grown up, all of those boring products will be ordered online and delivered to save you the trouble of going to the shop and getting them.

‘Owning’ music, books and film: Once data can be stored in the cloud and accessed by your device whenever you need it, the idea of 'owning' something starts to seem strange. Your children won't collect albums, they'll have every album ever made at their fingertips all the time.

Cords and cables: Wireless data transfer, battery-powered devices and cordless charging mats will make the spaghetti of wires in every office as obsolete as going into or gas station to pay for gas.

TVs and radios that need tuning: "Stay tuned" lost its original meaning and your children will never guess that you used to turn a tiny dial like a safe cracker in an effort to get your TV tuned to the correct channel.

Disposable batteries: Mobile phones, laptops and MP3 players mostly use rechargeable batteries. The idea that you used to have to throw batteries away and then go and buy some new ones already seems quite strange.

Fillings in teeth: It's good to know that in the near future all that business with injections, numb mouths and metal amalgams will be over and old, damaged teeth will be removed and replaced with shiny news ones, grown from stem cells to order. The last generation to know the special fear that comes with the rising whine of the drill is already brushing its own teeth.

Road signs: Universal Satellite-navigation will mean they’ll be tearing down those hulking sheets of metal at the side of the road and insisting that your car informs you that it's five miles to town or that road works will be disrupting traffic until July 2035. Those same devices will also keep an eye on your speed and report your movements to the traffic police.

Checks: You probably laugh at these already, and your children will be laughing right along with you. Imagine, a booklet of pre-printed IOUs that you use instead of money. You hand out details that would allow the recipient to set up direct debits on your account with every payment. They are secured only by your signature, which the person processing the check has no chance of recognizing. Mobile phones will be swiped for payment at checkout (to get your right hand used to that motion?)



Mr. Peel, who is feeling older everyday, is a local attorney seeking justice for those hurt in motor vehicle accidents, work related injuries, medical malpractice, nursing home and trucking cases. Mr. Peel often addresses churches and clubs and can be contacted through www.PeelLawFirm.com, wherein other articles can also be found.