The Dodo never had a chance. He seems to have been invented for the sole purpose of becoming extinct and that was all he was good for.” ~ Will Cuppy
Who remembers typewriters, 8 track players, and disco? So much from the 1960s are gone. Now I’m thinking what will be gone in 50 years and thought I’d wax poetic. Most of this I won’t miss.
For example, I was peeking in on Mad Men, which I don’t really follow. There was a scene where the main characters were leaving a picnic. Don throws a can into the woods. His wife picks up the blanket they were sitting on, unceremoniously dropping the potato chip bags, napkins, and trash onto the park ground. Then they walked away. In what, 1964, this was acceptable behavior. Well here, watch it for yourself.
It’s easy to point out the stuff that is all but gone. Phone books, answering machines, printed encyclopedias, photograph film and tube TVs are some of the many items we have left in the rear view mirror of our lives. Here, I will attempt to predict some of the things we use today that will be gone in 50 years.
Gasoline pumps. Many of us already drive hybrids, the first step towards electric cars. They are wonderful. It’s nice to go two or three weeks without visiting a gas station. The Tesla is my new favorite dream car.
Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 by a group of intrepid Silicon Valley engineers who set out to prove that electric vehicles could be awesome. Their roadster hit the streets in early 2008 as a car with no equal. Three years later, over 2,100 Roadsters drive emissions-free in more than 32 countries.
Toilet paper. You heard it hear first. Bidets already exist that wash and dry you at the touch of a button. Imagine the paper that will be saved and, I hear, the experience is rather nice.
House keys. We have been using keyless-entry for over 12 years now. We just punch in our access number and we’re in. And, it’s one or two less keys that I schlep around. At work I use a card to get into the building. There’s another key I don’t have making a hole in my pocket.
Password. Gawd how I hate what we have now. I have over 20 passwords that I have to rotate through. Already most new laptops sport a finger print access port. Some companies have been playing with photo recognition systems. And the idea of using a biometric system is already in use for many government facilities.
Business cards. I don’t see why these still exist. Passing a virtual business card already exists. LinkedIn.com has replaced the need for a paper resume. In 50 years, people won’t even remember what a business card was.
Language barriers. When I tried out the virtual computer world called Second Life, I
was able to play out fantasies that I might not experience in real life. I actually played my sax in a live bar. Okay, I’ve done that many times. But I was able to talk to Germans and French people using what little skill I had from my high school training and a program called Babelfish. (It’s now called Bing Translations.)
Now, a short 10 years later, there are already hand-held translators, phone apps, and such that help you to speak to someone in a language different from your own, which each party speaking in their own native tongue.
Incandescent light bulbs. This a no brainer. The lights outside my house are 4 watt LEDs. And they have a photo-sensor that automatically turns the lights on when it gets dark and off when it gets light outside. We have florescence lights throughout the house. With light management used throughout the house, we easily save $200 a year on our electric bills.
These are but a few musings I have in this space. I save $500 a month by taking the bus to work. I read my iPad the whole way—the trip seems like it takes five minutes. Someday we may never drive cars. I read about a Google car that is driven by a robot and has thousands of accident free miles!
What do you imagine will be gone in our future? I have a lot of really smart readers. Feel free to share your favorite prediction.
Off the top of my head, I’d also wager we will also see the disappearance of:
screens. replaced by projections either onto surfaces for group viewing or directly into our eyes for private viewing.
wallets. replaced by scanning of either physiology or implants.
physical input devices. replaced by voice and thought command, and every once in a while projections combing with gesture control.
cars as we know them. replaced by self-modifying self-“driving” transporters.
personal data storage. information, like money, will flow towards institutions, with some people opting to keep a safe at home.
physical media of almost any type. pictures, movies, books- all of these things will be accessed wherever and whenever we want via the local projection. not only will physical media be seen as a pain in the butt, but also incredibly wasteful.
most types of jobs.
our current economic model
the third world.
and within 100 years, death by old age.
oh! and “stores” as we know it. most things you will get by getting it printed from plans, either open-sourced (pay the printer) or designed (pay the printer and a licensing fee). just like the internet is a portal for information of all sorts, a 3-d printing place will be a portal for things of all sorts.
Nice ones Matt. I think you could do a really good post for your blog on the world of music too, what being a repair tech and all. :0)