While riding the van into work this morning, my mind was pondering the following question: What technology do you use today that you used, in the same form, 30 years ago (i.e., 1984)? How about 40 years ago (1974)? 50 years ago (1964)? Similar to that, 30 years from now, what technology from today will you still be using. Let’s exclude pens, pencils, and the like. I’m talking things connected via electric cords of some form.
Some technology has gone by the wayside. I know I don’t use cassettes any more (although I still have a player), and I haven’t hauled out my electric typewriter in years. Certainly how I connect to the network is different — in 1984, I was still on services like Agora or Rain, using basic terminal servers; in 1974, I wasn’t even on computers except for the Compucorp programmable calculators. TV has changed as well — although my TV could take analog input, there’s no more analog OTA or CCTV anymore — it is digital to the house, and then goes through a converter box. Without those modern boxes, my old TVs would be useless. CDs? I got my first CD back in the early 1990s, less than 30 years ago.
But there is some technology that hasn’t changed. I’m still listening, on analog record players with tonearms, to LPs from the 1940s and 1950s. My telephone is still POTS (plain old telephone service) using copper wires — the only change was moving from pulse (dial) to tone (DMTF) between 1974 and 1984. AM and FM Radio hasn’t changed from 50 years ago, except for stereo.
What about the future? What technology that we use today will be the same 30 years in the future? Hopefully, all that digital music we’ve purchased will still be usable, even though it might be a copy of a copy. LPs will likely still be around. Cassettes and CDs probably won’t. Radio will likely have gone digital, if only to recover the bandwidth. Telephones will probably have a VoIP backbone instead of copper pair, but will that change the instrument on the wall?
So, what about you? What do you use from 30 – 40 – 50 years ago? What will you be still using in 30 years?