Things We’ve Known That Are On The Way Out


Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come…or should I say…here they are already!

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 checks 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’re 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…

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11 Comments on "Things We’ve Known That Are On The Way Out"

  1. Slushie_Man | Apr 5, 2010 at 5:45 pm |

    I agree with all those except the book. While I'm in no way a big reader, the bookstore in the mall tends to be one of the busiest stores there every time I'm in the mall ESPECIALLY around Christmas and Easter and such. I don't see those going away anytime in the next 50 years or so. The rest though I can very easily see happening.

  2. MAYBE in some ways. I doubt most of these will die out entirely. I've got to comment on some of these.

    Books won't go away. I'm a bibliophile and I'm not the only one! A lot of people want to own books. Ebooks might replace popular fiction but that's hardly ALL of books. Also, I'm a library science student and feel it's worth pointing out that public libraries have been reporting record usage rates recently.

    The Land Line might actually die, but I like mine. Because having a tape-based answering machine is SUPERCOOL.

    Music? Um, maybe corporately controlled music, which is what seems to be implied. But there will always be lovers of music and creative individuals. Creativity cannot be suppressed for long!

    Also: I refuse to pay for things if I don't get a physical copy, if I have a choice. MP3s don't interest me, I'll still buy CDs. Or else listen to the radio (there are a FEW free-form stations still in existence).

  3. Burn the future…

  4. I agree with everything but books.
    I collect and adore physical books while also constantly reading articles online. I love the massive used book store in my city, because you never know what forgotten, long-discontinued book you'll find (I've even gotten my hands on some Freemason books) and only currently published books would be digitized and even then, probably only the most popular (which would exclude much of what I read). There's also something of a fetish in holding a physical book in your hands. The idea of reading a book on a handheld device makes me feel sick… as if I don't spend enough time staring at screens in my life.

  5. I don't agree with any of these. Two words: Peak Oil.

  6. E.B. Wolf | Apr 5, 2010 at 11:07 pm |

    The techies can have my bookshelf (and it's contents) when they pry them from my cold, dead fingers.

    I expect all of these will see a decline in the next few years, but checks are the only item on the list that I can see disappearing entirely before mid-century.

  7. I share the same sentiments with many of these but there are differences of opinion:

    3 – Online Newspapers can charge if they want. It will simply drive many readers away to whatever else is free (even if it's just blogs eventually) while their physical format continues to die.

    4 – There are many reasons that physical books will never die. Many people don't enjoy reading book length things in a digital format on your LCD screen at all, and the formatting is still superior. Books are also incredibly cheap. Ever hear of Half-Price books? The used bookstore market (completely DRM free) is perfect for getting many books that outprice that ebook by a good margin.

    6 – No, the only problem is distribution, not the death of music. Better the record companies die and the only music I find is my niche stuff than where we currently are. Unfortunately, we most likely will continue to have a pedestrian class that just LOVES Beyonce's latest craptacular special and makes their 5 year old listen to it.

    7 – Cable no longer serves any real purpose, but Families for some reason still have trouble sitting around the computer. TV shouldn't go away, but cable is a million channels of stuff you don't need.

    8 – All excitement about the cloud is overblown. At the end of the day, no one wants the stuff they are primarily using stored exclusively online. It's only useful for backing up stuff (and there are companies for that) but the 1980s futuristic super computer hosting every thin client in the world is both out of reach and undesirable. What do you think happens when the internet goes down? Just look at Assassin's Creed 2….

  8. georgebushpimps | Apr 6, 2010 at 7:41 am |

    Its all mental masturbation really, because shortly none of these will exist as parts of daily life except maybe the book, and those will only be the one you saved yourself. Hopefully full of good info about Planting crops, irrigation, hunting, or just outdoor survival. I think we are all gonna need some of that if we plan on sticking around that long 😉

  9. Books will be staying, for me anyway. Screens hurt my eyes and I hate reading books online. I've tried it and it sucks. Also about the music bit, pretty sure there are a lot of people who don't just listen to radio station music, and then there's the whole post modern classical stuff (which is awesome) that has its own little niche. As long as humans have any sort of emotions, music will exist, and there will be damn good music too. The first person to make music didn't make it so he could have money, and that mindset will exist regardless of how it may seem in the mainstream business. As a music major (classical piano) I have totally accepted the fact that I will be poor for most of my life and am pretty fine with it. As long as I can do what I love and not die, I'll be fine.

  10. emperorreagan | Apr 6, 2010 at 4:56 pm |

    You know what's not on the way out? Racism on the internet. Hi!

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