VIA| Technology is rapidly improving and our lives continue changing every day. While we mock our elders for reminiscing about the ‘good ole days’, we fail to realize that we’ll soon be in the same situation. Things we loved growing up have become nearly obsolete, some for better, some for worse. Though many of these things are USA oriented, the rest of the world isn’t far behind and may already be ahead of the curve. Ultimately, whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come.
1. The Post Office
Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.
2. The Check
Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with check by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions wi ll lead to the eventual demise of the check. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.
3. The Newspaper
The younger generation simply doesn’t read the newspaper. They certainly don’t subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. It will go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online,=A 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 the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.
4. The Book
You say you will never give up the physical book you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books.
You can browse a book store online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half of a real book. And think of the convenience! 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 you’re holding a gadget instead of a book.
5. The Landline Telephone
Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don’t need it any more. Most people keep it simply because they’ve always had it. But you are paying double charges for the extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes.
This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It’s the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is “catalogue items,” meaning traditional music the public is familiar with, older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit.
To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, “Appetite for Self-Destruction” by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, “Before the Music Dies.”
Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they’re playing games and doing lots of other things to take up the time usually spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are sky-rocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds.
I sa y good riddance to most of it. It’s time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through services like Netflix.
8. The “Things” You Own
Many of the very possessions 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. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of this is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest “cloud services.” It means when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet.
If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or hand held device. This is the good news. But, will you actually own any of this “stuff” or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big “Poof?” Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out a photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.
Seriously, why did we learn to write cursive during our schooling? Probably because it’s been ingrained in our culture since before this country was even born. It’s already gone in some schools who no longer teach “joined handwriting” because nearly everything is now done on computers or keyboards of some type (pun not intended). Sure it has its benefits to learning as far as older documents go, but in terms of actually using it? Let this one die and stay dead (we all just make scribbles for our signatures anyway).
If there ever was a concept we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. It’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 24/7, “They” know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. The TV show “Person of Interest” isn’t as far out as you may think. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits.. “They” will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.