Huffington Post had a story called You’re Out: 20 Things That Became Obsolete This Decade.
It’s a great retrospective on the technology leaps we’ve made since the new century began, and it got me thinking about the difference today’s technology will make in the lives of tomorrow’s kids.
The following was a contributed story by Yahoo Financial News.
Video tape: The tape-less broadcast camera today offers much higher quality than anything that could have been imagined 10 years ago — and cost less than the lens on a camera previously used.
Travel agents: While not dead today, this profession is one of many that’s been decimated by the Internet. When it’s time for their honeymoon, will those born in 2011 be able to find one?
The separation of work and home: When you’re carrying an email-equipped computer in your pocket, it’s not just your friends who can find you — so can your boss. For kids born this year, the wall between office and home will be non-existent.
Books, magazines, and newspapers: Sure, there may be books — but for those born today, stores that exist solely to sell them will be as numerous as record stores are now.
Movie rental stores: You actually got in your car and drove someplace just to rent a movie.
Watches: The correct time is on your smartphone, which is pretty much always in your hand.
Paper maps: The next generation will probably have to visit a museum to find one.
Wired phones: We use are home phone as a fax line only. For those born today, this will be a silly concept.
Long distance: Thanks to the Internet, You can talk to somebody in the next city, state, or even country unlimited.
Newspaper classifieds: Craigslist, besides Newspapers put all the data on the internet. So the word “paper” in News will go away.
Dial-up Internet: Everyone is not on broadband, but dial-up Internet goes the way of the plug-in phone.
Encyclopedias: Imagine a time when you had to buy expensive books that were outdated before the ink was dry. This will be a nonsense term for babies born today.
Forgotten friends: Babies born today will automatically be in touch with everyone they’ve ever known even slightly via Facebook.
Forgotten anything else: Kids born this year will never know what it was like to stand in a bar and incessantly argue the unknowable. Today the world’s collective knowledge is on the computer in your pocket or purse. And since you have it with you at all times, why bother remembering anything?
The evening news: The news is on 24/7. And if you’re not home to watch it, that’s OK — it’s on the smartphone in your pocket.
CDs: First records, then 8-track, then cassette, then CDs — replacing your music collection used to be an expensive pastime. Now it’s cheap(er) and as close as the nearest Internet connection.
Film cameras: For the purist, perhaps, but for kids born today, the word “film” will mean nothing. In fact, even digital cameras — both video and still — are in danger of extinction as our pocket computers take over that function too.
Yellow and White Pages: Why in the world would you need a 10-pound book just to find someone?
Catalogs: There’s no need to send me a book in the mail when I can see everything you have for sale anywhere, anytime. If you want to remind me to look at it, send me an email.
Fax machines: Can you say “scan,” “.pdf” and “email?”
One picture to a frame: Such a waste of wall/counter/desk space to have a separate frame around each picture. Eight gigabytes of pictures and/or video in a digital frame encompassing every person you’ve ever met and everything you’ve ever done — now, that’s efficient. Especially compared to what we used to do: put our friends and relatives together in a room and force them to watch what we called a “slide show” or “home movies.”
Wires: Wires connecting phones to walls? Wires connecting computers, TVs, stereos, and other electronics to each other? Wires connecting computers to the Internet? To kids born in 2012, that will make as much sense as an electric car trailing an extension cord.
Hand-written letters: For that matter, hand-written anything. When was the last time you wrote cursive? In fact, do you even know what the word “cursive” means? Kids born in 2011 won’t — but they’ll put you to shame on a tiny keyboard.
Talking to one person at a time: Remember when it was rude to be with one person while talking to another on the phone? Kids born today will just assume that you’re supposed to use texting to maintain contact with five or six other people while pretending to pay attention to the person you happen to be physically next to.
Retirement plans: Yes, Johnny, there was a time when all you had to do was work at the same place for 20 years and they’d send you a check every month for as long as you lived. In fact, some companies would even pay your medical bills, too!
Mail: What’s left when you take the mail you receive today, then subtract the bills you could be paying online, the checks you could be having direct-deposited, and the junk mail you could be receiving as junk email? Answer: A bloated bureaucracy that loses billions of taxpayer dollars annually.
Commercials on TV: They’re terrifically expensive, easily avoided with DVRs, and inefficiently target mass audiences. Unless somebody comes up with a way to force you to watch them — as with video on the Internet — who’s going to pay for them?
Commercial music radio: Smartphones with music-streaming programs are a better solution that doesn’t include ads screaming between every song.
Hiding: Not long ago, if you didn’t answer your home phone, that was that — nobody knew if you were alive or dead, much less where you might be. Now your phone is not only in your pocket, it can potentially tell everyone — including advertisers — exactly where you are.