Ten Things Children of the Future Wont Experience
Today, many people already see landline telephones as a quaint and unnecessary addition to the home. Although some of the older generation still prefer the comfort of their landline phone to their cellular one, most under 30 view landlines as a waste of money. There really isn't a rational defense in support of the landline telephone that doesn't rely simply on nostalgia and consumer preference for the way they used telephones as a youth. Kids today will look back on phones plugged into walls like we look at black and white televisions with 'rabbit ears'.
#9. Cable Television
Speaking of televisions, those probably won't be relevant in the world of today's newborns - at least not in the way they are now. You can already see the writing on the wall if you examine trends in the cable industry. More and more young adults, upon leaving the home, are foregoing cable television entirely in favor of online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube. So don't panic, there's always going to be someone making great content like House of Cards and Game of Thrones, you just won't have to pay to subscribe to dozens of channels you don't watch to get what you do.
Although handwriting is so ubiquitous it'll never truly disappear from the human skill-set, it's drastically decreasing use means that kids today will have some pretty sloppy handwriting. When you can type on your computer and phone faster than you can write by hand, what's the point? Soon enough the speech-to-text applications on phones will reach a very high level, and we'll all be dictating what we want to write into our gadgets instead of actually writing it out ourselves.
#7. Physical Media
Another one that might sound like a bit of a 'duh' to most of you, but one worth mentioning nonetheless. The disappearance of physical media began in the early 2000s with the MP3 player, but has spread to virtually all other forms of media that we consume. MP3s replaced CDs, eBooks are taking a bite out of book sales, and digital television/film and video game distribution have been established as the media distribution method of the future. Physical media will remain a niche, much like vinyl records, but digital will be the norm.
#6. Electrical Plugs
Surely you remember the dark age of the Internet - before wireless connections. We had to hook up our devices to 56kb modems through long pieces of wire. Now we plug that same wire into a router to create a Wi-Fi zone to connect to the internet. Wireless power technology - which has made considerable progress in recent years - will allow the devices in your home and all of your gadgets (laptops, phones etc.) to charge automatically when in the presence of the wireless field. The future is truly wireless. Well, similar technology is soon going to revolutionize electricity.
#5. Single Use Tools
Think back to your father or grandfather's workshop. There was, more likely than not, a million and one things lying around, some that maybe got used once. Think of what your smartphone has replaced; a flashlight, a compass, maps, an audio recorder, a camera, the list goes on. Expect that trend to continue, especially as 3D printing takes off and resourceful individuals create the schema for new and revolutionary tools and distribute the open source files online. How about a microscope and telescope function for your phone? We'll take it.
#4. The Retail Experience
20 years ago, if you wanted to buy something, you had to find a brick and mortar store in your area that sold the product or go through some mail-order service. Today, if you're looking for something particular, you just have to go online and have it delivered to your house - and it's usually cheaper. More and more retail transactions will be done online, whether it be on the phone or on a computer. For those who forgo online shopping, the physical retail experience will be very different.
Bad news for all you car aficionados, your passion may be going out of style rather quickly. Self-driving cars are not just a part of the future; they're very much a part of the present. Self-driving cars will fundamentally change our relationship with the automobile. Sure, some people will want to buy their own, especially if they live in rural or distant suburban areas, but car ownership for urban dwellers will become kind of a joke. Why waste tens of thousands of dollars on a personal car when there is a swarm of self-driving taxis that are constantly circling the city.
#2. The Internet (as we know it)
Lower your arched eyebrow, there's a good explanation here. The present Internet experience is centered around us navigating a browser or a GUI on a screen, but that isn't really what the Internet is. The Internet is connectivity, and that connectivity doesn't have to be driven by the human hand. For children born today, the divide between the physical and digital world won't be a screen - the divide won't exist. Nearly everything will be connected to the Internet, at all times.
#1. The Human Monopoly on Intelligence
Admittedly, this one is a bit out there, but not as out there as you might initially suspect. The concept of artificial intelligence reaching a human level of intelligence is known as the singularity, and there is extensive research and discussion on the topic online. This, obviously, opens a massive can of worms. The AI beings will, over time, become vastly more intelligent than we are. It's a strange proposition to be sure, but given the exponential growth of processing power and technology, it's one that we should be preparing for.
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