Funny how life changes; many commonplace parts of our lives fade away and new items come along that are the current or popular “thing.”
I remember laughing back in the mid-1990s when my oldest son, Patrick (who was all of five or six years old) heard someone refer to a “station wagon” and he looked at me and asked, “Dad, what’s a station wagon?” As we hopped in our car, I told him I would point one out on the road … so we drove around town – in heavy traffic – for 15 minutes or so and never saw even one. We saw a million mini-vans and plenty of trucks, SUVs and sedans, but no station wagons.
Try finding one yourself. There are still a few models made, but station wagons may be on their way to being the automotive equivalent of the dodo bird.
While on the lookout for a station wagon that day, I made a stop at Hi Fi Buys to purchase blank CDs for this incredible new CD RECORDER. (You could actually make your own CDs. WOW!) This stop elicited another question from Patrick. “How come we’re stopping at ‘Hiffy Buys’?” – “Hiffy Buys?” I thought. Well, phonetically, he’s pretty much got it right. And, he’s learning to read, so I told him that I understood why he thought it would be pronounced that way. Besides the term “hi fi” was so 1960s. When I was a kid, having a hi fi was next in line of importance to having an old beat up car that guzzled gas and sounded like the Beverly Hillbillies’ truck when it came rumbling down the street.
In the mid-1990s, which wasn’t THAT long ago, think about the electronic gizmos of the day and how they’re either extinct altogether or have been modified so much that any resemblance between what they were then and what they are today is purely coincidental. I had a Sony Watchman TV back then … Thanks to digitized broadcasting, it’s little more than a paperweight today … but of course we have smaller, lighter portable video devices here in 2011 that are much more advanced and versatile.
Back then, you could send emails and instant messages from a bulky desktop computer – and a few people even had laptops. That was still in its infancy … today the options of immediate communications are staggering. Still, it is only logical to think that what is all the rage today will be just as antiquated 15 years from now and we’ll look back at what we have today as something still in its infancy.
What will communications technology bring us in 2026? My guess is that the dominant pieces of technology of tomorrow, that iPads and Facebook are today, are still being conceived. Some of those possible concepts of the future have a tendency to frighten our contemporary minds. Don’t let Hollywood scare you.
People laugh because I like The Terminator movies and have said for a while that I didn’t consider the basic premise of the story to be so farfetched. Do I think computers will take over the world and attempt to extinguish humanity? No, but I don’t think it is too much of a reach to see that as computers become more and more sophisticated, and so-called “artificial intelligence” is achieved, that there could be difficult issues between man and machines. We already know that the best Jeopardy! players in the world couldn’t beat a super-computer. How long is it until they can’t compete at all and how long is it until the competition isn’t something harmless like a TV game show? We may never be presented with such a dilemma, but maybe we will.
So in 15 years, maybe my grandson or granddaughter might ask me, “Hey Grampa, what’s an iPad?” And we’ll head off to a museum to see one and maybe spot a station wagon too. As long as my grandchild never asks me “Hey Grampa, what’s baseball,” I’ll be okay.
Right now, my only question is, “what’s next?”