Saturday, April 17, 2010

Plugging in the crystal ball

I recently rented Fight Club on Netflix. I’d seen it years ago, but I wanted to watch it again.

There’s a scene in Fight Club during which Edward Norton finds a phone booth and makes a call. And it struck me like a freight train – when’s the last time you saw a phone booth?

Fight Club was made 11 years ago, and in that time span, phone booths have disappeared from our cultural landscape.

Phone booths afforded privacy. And there was a time, not that long ago, when we required privacy when we made a call. Phone booths provided just such sanctuary.

Fast forward less than a decade. No more phone booths. Assess the landscape further, and it’s evident that the comfort level when it comes to speaking frankly vis a vis cell phones has redefined our topography. We don’t require much privacy.

 Which begs the question: what will become obsolete a decade from now that we currently value?

I’m thinking mainstream television. I don’t think those big clunky boxes will be around 10 years from now.

My tee vee is gradually becoming obsolete, so I can see it coming, like a big fat phone booth.

I subscribe to very basic cable. I get just enough cable to get my tee vee working without the need for rabbit ears. That means general local stations, as well as the food network, the sci fi channel and a couple of other obscure offerings.

But thanks to my computer, I can get virtually any show I’d like, whenever I want. I watch Jon Stewart, Colbert, Olbermann, Maddow, 30 Rock, so much more, all on my computer box.

And I hear that technology is already available on phones. Here’s what a recent Southern California Public Radio segment had to say:

This spring, hundreds of people in Washington, D.C., are testing new gadgets that allow them to watch local TV on their mobile phones and laptops. In part, mobile digital TV is an effort by broadcasters to reach more viewers. But they're also trying to send a message to Congress that they deserve to keep their airwaves at a time when the Federal Communications Commission wants them to give some back.

It's coming, like a pandemic for which we're all inoculated.

The future, that amorphous wisp that's here before we know it, is peeking right around the corner.

What won't we have a decade from now that we take for granted presently?

I guess we'll have to wait and see.


  1. Someone told me the other day that some schools have started teaching keyboarding using thumbs only, instead of traditional typing technique.

    Don't know if that's true or not, but it seems a logical evolution. My 16-year-old can type faster on his cellphone than I can on my computer. And he only uses one hand.

  2. Our kids are truly defining our future.

    And we can just sit back and watch what's here that slowly disappears; stuff that we use every day presently.

    Times change so quickly.