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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

As the world turns

This is fascinating -- "15 current technologies a child born today will never use." A few are already practically out the door, like the fax machine, hard drives and movie theaters. Most are so obvious that once you seen them listed, you realize how right he is -- prime time TV, desktops, landline phones. This is one I hadn't thought about:

Phone Numbers

I still remember my parents' phone number, which hasn't changed in more than 30 years, but how many of us dial numbers rather than just tapping a name in our contacts menu? With the advent of VoIP chat services like Skype, Google Talk and even Facebook audio chat, you can just dial someone by username. When my son is in high school, he'll be asking the pretty girl on the bus for her user ID, not her phone number.

It might even be argued that with the growing popularity of touchscreens, the need to type in words to do things like get applications and go places on the Web will be greatly diminished, which will accelerate the demise of written language, but maybe that's a prediction too far.

The fax machine is an example of a phenomenon becoming so common it ought to have a name -- a step in technology that seems like an advancement but turns out to be only a placekeeper till the real advances come along. The pager is another one -- you'd never be out of reach of the phone, as long as, you know, you were close enough to walk to one. So was the eight-track -- well, every music medium after vinyl and before digital downloads, really.

I still remember when faxes were becoming the hottest office tool around. I was on the Big Brothers/Big Sisters board at the time, and we could not convince the executive director the office needed one. "What's wrong with the mail?" he'd say, or just driving documents across town. What's the big deal about instantaneous transmission? Well.