Wednesday, September 21, 2011
9 Things That Will Disappear In Our Lifetime
Jimmy M sent me this list. Kinda interesting. I’ve added some comments in italics.
Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come. . .
1. The Post Office
Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.
Me: Given that companies exist that could assume the tasks of the USPS, maybe. But that assumes that Congress would let them charge what they want for the services. I lay 10 to 1 that it won’t happen.
2. The Check
Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with chegks by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process cheques. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.
Me: This assumes that everyone will have Internet access. I don’t know what the current percentage of people having Internet access is but it is probably less than 70%. I lay 100 to 1 it won’t happen in the foreseeable future.
3. The Newspaper
The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper. They certainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.
Me: Again this assumes that everyone has Internet access. They don’t. As for paying for it, perhaps. But the market is not as large as they think. I lay 100 to 1 that newspapers won’t disappear in the foreseeable future.
4. The Book
You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can't wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you're holding a gadget instead of a book.
Me: Again this assumes that everyone has Internet access. Again, they don’t. I gave my grandson a Kindle. It’s neat. He’d rather read a paper book. Plus, there is a market for books because there are people like me who just like the feel and smell of books. Music and video are different things. I lay 100 to 1 that books will not disappear in the foreseeable future.
5. The Land Line Telephone
Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they've always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes
Me: Huh? What happens when a disaster shuts down your electric power? What will keep your cell phone charged? And what are the government regulations establishing a certain level of service? They don’t exist for cell phones. And all those “cheap” plans?? They can, and will, go away when the cell phone companies reach a certain market penetration point. I say keep your land lines for security and inexpensive Internet access you’ll need. 100 to 1 this won’t happen.
This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It's the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalogue items," meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit.. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, "Appetite for Self-Destruction" by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, "Before the Music Dies."
Me: I agree that big changes are coming. People are becoming more and more unwilling to pay big bucks for an album that may contain only 1 song they like. Thus, with internet access, or via cello phone, people will buy one or two songs at a time…. Wait! That’s what we did with the 78’s and 45’s in my youth!
Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they're playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It's time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.
Me: Years ago I attended a CATV trade show where one of the speakers said the limit wasn’t technology, but content. He was right. But again we run into the Internet access. Worse, movies and games require HIGH SPEED Internet access. That’s probably less than 45% of the country. I lay 50 to 1 that this won’t happen.
8. The "Things" That You Own
Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in "the cloud." Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest "cloud services." That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider.. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That's the good news. But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?" Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.
Me: Again we run into “Internet Acess.” I wonder if the guy who wrote this had any technical knowledge. Will the number of “appliances” increase? Yes. Will the home computer disappear? No. And if anyone is stupid enough to store important personal info on a server located heaven knows where… well, that’s stupid. 100 to 1 this won’t happen.
If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That's gone! It's been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, "They" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. "They" will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.
Me: Unfortunately this is true. You can do things to fight it. Call your elected reps.
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"Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them." - Karl Popper
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