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Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Future Comes 1 Day at a Time

“Because things are the way they are,
things will not stay the way they are.”

-Bertolt Brecht
Things change. There used to be a time that milk was delivered to your door direct from the dairy ... not a lot of milkman jobs available today.
There are many other jobs that have disappeared: pinsetter at the bowling alley, ice delivery man, switchboard operator, typesetter. When you think about it, there is a good chance that your job didn’t exist 100 years ago and it might not exist 100 years from now.
The advancement of technology, along with the changes in our society, has made a number of jobs obsolete ... let’s make some guesses about other things that might be disappearing in the near future:

1.      Will clipping coupons become a memory? Companies like Groupon, Living Social and Deal Chicken are moving us faster towards the majority of coupons being digital.

2.      Will paperback books still be printed 10 years from now? The switch to Kindle, Nook and other e-readers is happening at a rapid pace.

3.      Will there be many job openings for toll booth operators? Paying by transponders such as E-Z Pass is making that job as obsolete as an elevator operator.

4.      Will you have a checkbook? With online banking and services such as PayPal will you need one?

I could go on listing things that in 10 or so years might look like a buggy whip looks to us today: desktop computers (laptops and tablets might make them obsolete), blind dates (the amount of research available changes the concept of the truly blind date), corked wine (I like the cork, but screw tops will probably prevail), broadcast TV (is streaming just better technology?), alarm clocks (smartphones can handle that function), paper maps (between Google Maps, Mapquest and my GPS, I haven’t consulted a paper map in years), mail order catalogues (it’s all moving online), offline voting (changing the % of the population that votes and getting results in real time), big box stores (with online ratings, reviews and prices are one line, will stores like Best Buy go the way of Blockbuster Video?), and so on.

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it,
move with it, and join the dance.”
-Alan Watts
Things are changing in this hyper-connected digital world ... do you agree with any of my observations? Have any to add to the list?

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