By| Published: December 28th, 2015
Over the last 30 years the pace of technological transformation has increased so quickly that, one-decade’s must have gadget becomes the next decade’s laughing stock.
You may have felt cool with your Sony Walkman as a teenager, but contemporary teens can fit more music onto a device smaller than a box of matches. And they don’t have to flip the tape over halfway through an album.
There can be little doubt: yesterday’s cutting edge technology looks silly to today’s children and much of today’s technology will look silly to tomorrow’s children. Here’s a list of 5 technological advances, past and present, that will have young people asking: “you used to have to do what?”
That weeklong wait for your favorite TV program was a familiar feature of many a childhood as little as a decade ago. These days TV schedules are less meaningful because of ‘catch-up’ TV channels, numerous repeats, on-demand Internet TV services and, for the less law-abiding, torrent services. In future the concept of scheduling will further disintegrate as TV transforms into a primary demand-driven service.
Back to phones again. Having stuck one in most and left a few in the street then had the problem of how anyone would find the number they needed. So we printed every phone number we thought would be relevant into a huge book, which we delivered to every household in the country. Seriously. Then people started asking to be left out of the directory, rendering them largely useless.
Computers in boxes
The big beige box on your desk received its death sentence with the launch of the iMac in 1998. Now, only the budget end of the desktop market and very high-powered machines need their own tower away from the monitor. 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.
‘Owning’ music, books and film
The idea of ‘collections’ of media has been central for as long as there have been books, films and music. But 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. If you buy more than one album per month, you might be better off putting that money into a subscription service and listening to the album you would have bought and any other album that takes your fancy. Availability and portability issues are holding these services back at the moment, along with the nagging fear that the service could just disappear, taking your ‘collection’ with it. It’s changing fast though: your children won’t collect albums; they’ll have every album at their fingertips all the time.
You rarely have to rush back home from the airport in a taxi having forgotten to bring your retinas or thumb prints, but still we persist in carrying around little faux-leather bound pages of documents as though we’re bearers of Her Majesty’s seal.
Well! The best thing you can do with your ‘past’ is to sit back and smile about it. So are these technologies, which were once the booming trends. But they are just passé now and could only be useful to laugh at them just for the old times sake.