It used to be that changing technology allowed you to think about the things that were part f our lives and have been invented in our time.
There is a sense that in order to make way for this stuff we have had to say goodbye to some of the old things.
I recall how excited my dad was when he got a telex in the office and instead of having to deal with the three am phone call he could arrive in the office to 24 feet of message spewed out of the machine in triplicate. I suspect these machine are gone. When I started work we had a comptometrist on the team and as the new boy I had to lug the comptometer into and out of client offices so the comptometrist could do her job. Another job and another machine gone.
When we look at the world today it is clear that some things are here for a good time rather than a long time.
- Snail Mail. The rise in the price of traditional mail, and the rise of alternate private enterprise carriers mean that postal services are under pressure. You may have noticed how much stuff you can buy in the Post Office, and how many other things you can do in the post office, (like pay rates and phone bills) are indicative of the reality that the economic sustainability of this way of communicating puts it in the lst of things that will probably vanish.
- The Landline Telephone. The concept of the land line phone as a meaningful device is diminishing. The under 40’s have to a large extent abandoned it in preference of having a device that does with them.
- The Fax Machine, will no doubt follow suit and fall into the abyss, as a relic of a bygone era.
- The Cheque. The cost of organising the processing of these bits of paper through the banking system will reduce the desirability of them as negotiable instruments, and as such there are being abandoned in favour of internet banking.
- The Paper New Service, as a means of receiving and remaining up to date with information seems likely to be redundant. Many people these days take a weekend paper for the joy of having a cup of coffee while perusing it how ever online and media news services are the way most of us keep up to date.
- The Paper Book, is likely also to fall by the wayside. The cost and time delay in producing a paper book, means that it may take two years from finishing the book and receiving money for it, and the author will be luck to make $1.00 of a $30.00 retail sale, where they ar4e likely to make $2.00 from a $3.00 online e-book sale, two weeks after finishing the book.
- The TV set as an independent device is also likely to go by the wayside. The idea of watching a program when it is broadcast, as against watching it when I want to see it, mean that online entertainment services will almost certainly spell the end of the TV as we know it.
- The ownership of digital media is likely to dissolve into a set of licences that allow you to rent access to these things for the time you want to use them. The notion of cloud based technology where nothing is stored locally beyond the access key seems like a new world, yet it seems clear this is likely to be a big part of where we are going.
- Privacy, a once cherished notion, is proably already an illusion for most of us, and it is simply like to recede into oblivion.
We may not like it, we may lament to progress, yet it seems clear these things are circling the plughole in the basin of technological progress.