Dying Technologies?

-A big thanks to the author of the article for leaving a comment on my post. Please read his thoughts below-he also adds some clarification on a few of his points.

There was a really interesting article on laptopmag.com, featured on Yahoo! today. It was 15 current technologies that practically won’t exist or be widely used in 10 years or so. The writer is thinking about his soon-to-be born child, so perhaps even some of these predictions are for as soon as 5 years from today. I’d like to go through them and decide which ones I agree and disagree with, based on a 10-year estimation. I hope to justify at least the ones I disagree with. I will label each one as Agree, Disagree or Maybe. Those labels are likely self-explanatory.

1. Wired Home Internet (Disagree)

If there are enough users like me who much prefer wired Internet, there’s no way this will die out in 5-10 years. The author himself even admits current offerings of wireless Internet cannot compare to the speeds of cable Internet. Speeds are one thing or another. Reliability amongst cable Internet is much higher, too. I don’t see this dying so soon.

2. Dedicated Cameras and Camcorders (Agree)

This one I can see coming because I personally have found myself less willing to carry around my big, heavy 26x optical zoom camera. I am proud of how far I can zoom and get far-away shots, but the fact of the matter is I am getting lazier about carrying it around. I had a friend come from America to Japan for a week, and I not once took that camera. I’ll still use it to record some HD video every once in a while, but I think even my iPod does that, which I always have with me. And when I get a better phone, the camera will always be with me anyways. Just as the author says, the average consumer will not have separate cameras. Obviously, people who like taking pictures more than I will continue with their dedicated cameras. Those are the people who know how to shop for lenses and what not.

3. Landline Phones (Maybe)

I don’t know enough about the trends to know if this will really happen or not. But won’t businesses still use landline phones? I can’t see the death of it in 10 years, though for the average joe, yeah, this could happen.

4. Slow-Booting Computers (Agree)

This one is very feasible. My computer boots rather slowly, and it shuts down extremely quickly, but I can see the day when this is no longer something that I would even talk about.

5. Windowed Operating Systems (Agree)

I do think that most users will be able to move on from the window-based setups that we are so accustomed to. It might take myself a little bit of time, but I will do my best.

6. Hard Drives (Agree)

This one is easy because it is common knowledge that solid state drives are quickly replacing hard drives.

7. Movie Theaters (Disagree)

I completely agree that many people have a good home theater setups. There are many other reasons why movie theaters will stay for a very long time. I really don’t understand how the author thinks that in 5-10 years all but art-house theaters will exist. Can you really imagine that yourself?

One of the reasons the author cites is high movie prices. While that is certainly a factor, matinee prices are still somewhat reasonable. Many grocery stores in my area sell slightly discounted tickets, as well. Additionally, movies cost more than $20 in Japan at theaters and people still go. I have seen entire families go to see a movie. Why would people pay this much?

I think the reason is obvious enough. Going to the movies is an event. Sure, you can call a bunch of friends over to your house to watch a movie at your pretty darn good home theater system. But there is something about movie theaters offering the whole gambit. Besides the talkers and texters, I feel it’s much easier to watch a movie without real interruption. I swear, and I don’t know why, but it seems impossible to watch a movie all in one sitting with friends over. The ability to pause a movie at anytime gives too much power, methinks.

Even if movies are just $10 for me instead of $20 (in Japan), it’s still kind of a hassle for me to get out to go see one. However, I would make arrangements to see something like The Dark Knight Rises in theaters. There are some movies that are better in theaters, right? Can you imagine a day where a movie like that (or Inception) was only offered on-demand at home? There’s something about the event of going to a movie that makes me believe that movie theaters won’t die anytime soon. It may be only the car ride home where everyone offers their take on the ending, but home theaters will not replace movie theaters. Home theaters supplement movie theaters. It’s so that you can enjoy the experience that you (supposedly) had in a theater at your home. Anyways, there is my two cents on that (more like twenty cents, but…)

8. The Mouse (Maybe)

The days of touch-only stuff are coming, but will the ubiquitous double-clicker be gone in less than 10 years? I am not too sure about this one, so I won’t call it either way.

9. 3D Glasses (Agree)

While I wish 3D would just die altogether, at least the glasses part should die out soon enough.

10. Remote Controls (Disagree)

If we use our smartphones, isn’t that still a remote control basically? Now, voice controls, he has a point on. I, however, doubt that most TV users (aka everyone) will switch to voice-only in 5-10 years. Frankly, why would you want to use your smartphone to control your TV? What’s so bad with remote controls?

11. Desktops (Disagree)

The author gives no reasons why this would disappear except for there being a lack of the market for it. But the author said it himself-like wired home Internet, there will be enough people who actually see the value in desktops to keep it alive.

12. Phone Numbers (Disagree)

The author says that this one will apply to when his son is in high school, so he gives this one more like 15 years. Even 15 years from now, we’ll still be using phone numbers. Yes, I get the point that we just look for a person in our phone’s address book and hit “Send”. But what is behind the “Send”? It is a phone number that the phone knows and is dialing out to. So, I think that there will be at least that much of the remnants of phone numbers, if not the actual numbers themselves.

13. Prime-Time Television (Disagree)

The author doesn’t really say what would replace prime-time television. So what if a lot of us watch shows online or on DVR? Many of us still like to see the show live because we want to know first what happens to someone, whether fictional or real. You can’t take that excitement away in just 10 years’ time. Remember what I said about movie theaters-events are things that people like to be a part of.

14. Fax Machines (Maybe)

He puts a convincing argument for this one, but I feel like my school prefers to have documents sent by fax anyways. I guess they could scan it, put it in an e-mail and send it. The person receiving it would have to print it out. It’s not too big of a deal, but it does seem like an extra step.

15. Optical Discs (Agree)

It’s only if I carefully think about this do I actually have to agree. One of the first DVDs that I received was about 8 years ago. Blu-ray is still a relatively newer technology that I won’t adapt to until summer of 2013 (yes, I have a date for it 14 months from now). I’d like to hope that I can get 8 years out of it after I purchase it. I guess we will see.

Thoughts?

2 comments

  1. Josh,

    Thanks for the thoughtful evaluation of my predictions. I admit that, like any other set of predictions, they won’t all pan out. A few comments:

    13. As for primetime TV, it will be replaced by on-demand. There is no logical reason for TV networks to run their businesses under the 20th century model of judging ratings and success based on time slots. Most of the major networks now offer episodes for all their shows as free on the web or on cable on-demand. So, in the near future, I believe they will give up the ghost and simply announce that they are posting the episodes for viewing at a given time, rather than assigning them time slots on a TV schedule.

    7. Movie Theaters – The fact that studios are now releasing some films on-demand at the same time they arrive in theaters shows that the studios are looking toward a post-theater market. Yes, there is an appeal in the social experience of movie-going, but I think that people going on a date or a “night out” are fewer than those who just want to see the Avengers on a big screen and don’t want to wait 4 months for it to come out on video. When that delay is gone and the average home theater is nearly as good as a multiplex screen, there will be less need for multiplexes.

    12. Phone numbers — Just as people are cutting the cord from cable and using web streaming services, even more will use Skype or other voice chat / IM services in lieu of phone numbers. On such services, you have a user ID, not a number.

    10. Remote Controls – Don’t get me wrong, I like the dedicated remote but I think that a lot of people lose them, they are a support issue and cost, and other things you carry with you like your smartphone and tablet can change the channels. Also, gesture and voice will be huge.

  2. Thank you very much for taking the time to leave a comment on my blog. I think your points help to clarify a few things for anyone who read this post, as well as for myself. I’ll share a few things in response.

    13. Admittedly, I really don’t like cable and won’t pay for it. I am a product of the postmodern era, if you will, and simply watch shows on Netflix, Hulu and the respective companies’ own websites. Frankly, I don’t like most of what’s on TV anyways. I have to wonder if the average consumer will follow suit with what I am doing, which is essentially abandoning TV programming altogether, so I guess we will see.

    7. If I could only bet on one that won’t occur, this would be it. That being said, I am not the person who will keep movie theaters alive. I am that guy who will wait 4 months for a DVD/on-demand release. It’s a rare movie, like the Dark Knight Rises, that will get me out of the house and going somewhat far away to pay more to see a movie. I like the idea of independent and art-house films to have an audience enough to keep those types of theaters or venues alive, because I do appreciate a good independent film from time to time.

    And we probably both agree that it’s already bad enough to pay upwards of $10 for the ticket, but most people want some movie popcorn which is already costing $5, $6 or maybe $7 now? That’s one thing not so easily sneaked into a theater, which is unfortunate for those who do that sort of thing.

    12. You’ve probably convinced me on this. I only use a cell phone and Skype, and Skype is already replacing most of my cell phone calls anyways. This one could definitely occur in the near future.

    10. I can also see this one happening, and I 100% agree that gesture and voice will be a big thing coming soon. Heck, Toshiba is already advertising voice-controlled air conditioners here in Japan, so…

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