9 Things That Will Disappear In Our Lifetime

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.

2. The Check
Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with check by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. 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.

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.

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.

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.

6. Music
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 “catalog 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.”

7. Television
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.

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.

9. Privacy
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.

All we will have left that can’t be changed are “Memories”. And then probably Alzheimer’s will take that away from you too!

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Posted by on July 11, 2012. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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16 Responses to 9 Things That Will Disappear In Our Lifetime

  1. bitcodavid Reply

    July 11, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Well, this is the bleakest, most depressing thing I’ve ever read.

    • Bill Formby Reply

      July 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm

      Isn’t though, David? Humans may be next.

  2. Jason Reply

    July 11, 2012 at 8:51 am

    I hope the computer never dies when it comes to having a hard drive and physical media to store it on. I may sound out of touch, but I do not trust this cloud crap to keep my stuff safe from hackers, safe from virus issues and safe from identity theives. Why would I? I don’t care if I am the last one to do it in the world, I like having cd’s and books. Electronics devices break down, so you will have to buy that book on ipad or iphone again with the new model. If that tablet or laptop breaks, say goodbye to all the music you bought from itunes. You have to buy it again if you didn’t back it up, but of course, if you do, virgin or arista or sony may try to sue you for piracy. If I am the last one to have old media, fine with me. As for the post office, the only reason they are in the red is because of a bill put through congress 6 years ago that forced them to have to pay for 40 years of retirement benefits in 10 years and it has caused costs to skyrocket as a result. That is what put them into the red, as they had 9 billion in profits and now sit at 3 billion in the red. For many people it is how they get life saving medicines, the legal system still prefers it and it is still cheaper to send most packages and letters through the post office than ups or fed ex. Ebay survives because of the post office. Almost everything I have ever ordered through ebay has come to me via the post office because they are cheaper.

    • Bill Formby Reply

      July 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm

      I hope you are right but I am afraid congress will be the one to make it obsolete.

  3. Peggy Roche Reply

    July 11, 2012 at 8:57 am

    I will give you most of these but I question books being in the list. Agree novels etc may enter the “cloud” but as an avid collector of illustrated books and photography tomes I can’t figure how clouding them will be enough.

    • Bill Formby Reply

      July 11, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      The problem right now is that publishing hard copy books is fast becoming a luxury with more and more books being published via the internet.

  4. Leslie Parsley Reply

    July 11, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Agree with Peggy. The book will never die. As for so-called “innovative new” music? If what I’ve been subjected to over the past ten plus years is innovative or new, I can’t wait for its demise. Other than that, an interesting article.

    • Bill Formby Reply

      July 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      @Peggy, I am still listening to classic rock and roll and blues but the best way to get it is online.

  5. Jason Reply

    July 11, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Also, as a man who is trying to make movies for a living, there is no way I want my work stored on a cloud. I want it safe and offline. I want my footage where I can store it and edit as I see it, without worrying that someone could be leaking the unedited film on the web. Indie filmmakers don’t get the luxury of professional editing suites, we have a macbook pro laptop and final cut pro editing software or whatever software the person can afford. That is fine with us, final cut pro works as good as any editing suite the studios have for non-3D films. I couldn’t trust a cloud with that information. Any filmmaker would feel the same way. The last thing you want is an unfinished movie leaking onto the web because of some hacker, I don’t even want the laptop I use for editing to go online for that reason. Also, a digital media backlash is brewing. Have you not noticed that the record and record player are making a comeback?

    • Bill Formby Reply

      July 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      I would love to get some of the old stuff back but it seems that the rest of the world keeps moving on without me.

  6. Erin Nanasi Reply

    July 11, 2012 at 9:59 am

    People have been trying to get me to buy a Kindle for a few years, and I refuse. I love books. I love turning a page, the smell of the paper, curling up with my knees at my chest, reading Stephen King or James Rollins. You can take my television, but you’ll never take my books!

    • Bill Formby Reply

      July 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      I agree Erin. I hate reading books online. However, every class I teach now has a virtual textbook. I really hate it.

  7. Carol Maietta Reply

    July 11, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Well, this justifies me keeping my grandmother’s Victrola working! I’d better stock up on 78RMP records on e-bay. As far as the post office, I can live without my mail man accusing me of receiving too much junk mail for him to handle every time I see him. I have way too many TVs in my house and rarely watch any of them, so that will be a blessing…of course, except for the one I use for my WII exercise and games. And I already go everywhere with my Kindle…carrying 100 plus books with me with special bookmarks and notes as I need. I couldn’t do that with the real thing. I WILL NOT miss the marketing calls on my land line phone since that’s all anyone uses it for. And what’s a check and newspaper? Ahhh, but my privacy…..you are correct…it has been gone a long time and I miss it. Thanks for an interesting post. I’ll print it off and keep in hard copy with my written memories in case my computer crashes or my Alzheimers kicks in soon 🙂

    • Bill Formby Reply

      July 11, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      Alas, there are, hopefully, some things they can never make virtually.

  8. Jess Reply

    July 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    I have a Kindle (second one) and I am still not using it. It will stay in the box it came in, till I am good and ready to give that one away like I did the first one. I love my old dusty tomes and flipping through the paper, hell I just love the feel of books in my hand. Far as music, I do use an iPod but only for my runs, at home I have the turntable and CD player that has been here for forever with first the ‘rental units, now hubby and I. Don’t use my cell phone that much for anything other than emergencies when I am out. I do all my banking online so the check thing, other than just being a cost saving device for banks I could go one way or another with that. If it meant screwing with the banks and using checks again I would be all for that, otherwise meh. Biggest issue for me to lose would be my privacy. I’ve already had a few real life stalkers and it scared the mess out of me, how they found me with little to no private info from me.

    • Bill Formby Reply

      July 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      Jess I am with you on the paper checks. I so seldom write a check that I have trouble remember how. I do hate giving up books. but them about the only mail I get anymore are sales papers and junk mail along with bills. UPS and FEDEX deliver most packages plus congress is trying their best to kill the post office. Things keep changing and I can’t seem to stop them and I am getting to old to keep fighting.

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