Explaining our lives to future youngsters

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Endless Mike
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Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby Endless Mike » Thu May 12, 2011 1:54 pm UTC

Another forum I read had an article about the last WWI vet dying posted. This prompted a discussion about how much he had seen and experienced in his life, a sentiment I agreed with. As I stated, I would have loved to have listened to his stories. I also noted that people will probably think the same when we get to that age (under the assumption that most people are of a similar age as myself - I'm 29), which I quickly got disagreement on. Am I incorrect in thinking this? For some comparisons:

WWI vet:
-Rise of cars
-Supermarkets
-Airplanes
-Two world wars (I believe he was in both, but I'm too lazy to look right now)
-Running water moving from a luxury to commonplace in developed areas
-Electricity
-Moon landing
-Lots and lots of other things

Me, just in my 29 years (granted, these overlap with him, but I hopefully have a lot more life to live)
-Rise of home computing and the internet
-Cell phones
-First black American president (this is obviously not as big a deal outside the US)
-The single largest attack on American soil
-Lots of other things I can't think of right now (I won't be a good person to talk to)

Am I wrong in assuming that there's tons more "firsts" to occur and that technology will continue to improve? Is it a bad assumption to think that the world of 70 years from now will be different from today? I guess it's a matter of comparison. Does the internet really compare to airplanes? I don't know. I wonder if it's a matter of perspective, too. Things like airplanes that seem commonplace to me completely changed the world, but isn't that true of more modern innovations?

Relevant xkcd comic: http://xkcd.com/864/

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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby Adacore » Thu May 12, 2011 2:11 pm UTC

It's not exactly the same, but a lot of related material was discussed in this thread, which was pretty interesting.

I think there are likely to be just as many 'firsts' and new inventions in the next 70-80 years as there were in the previous 70-80. At that sort of timescale we may even be able to predict some or even most of them, with a bit of thought (although we'll miss some as well, obviously). I think the internet and the global information age in general definitely compares to aeroplanes in terms of significance.

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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby AvatarIII » Thu May 12, 2011 2:21 pm UTC

Endless Mike wrote:Another forum I read had an article about the last WWI vet dying posted. This prompted a discussion about how much he had seen and experienced in his life, a sentiment I agreed with. As I stated, I would have loved to have listened to his stories. I also noted that people will probably think the same when we get to that age (under the assumption that most people are of a similar age as myself - I'm 29), which I quickly got disagreement on. Am I incorrect in thinking this? For some comparisons:

WWI vet:
-Rise of cars
-Supermarkets
-Airplanes
-Two world wars (I believe he was in both, but I'm too lazy to look right now)
-Running water moving from a luxury to commonplace in developed areas
-Electricity
-Moon landing
-Lots and lots of other things

Me, just in my 29 years (granted, these overlap with him, but I hopefully have a lot more life to live)
-Rise of home computing and the internet
-Cell phones
-First black American president (this is obviously not as big a deal outside the US)
-The single largest attack on American soil
-Lots of other things I can't think of right now (I won't be a good person to talk to)

Am I wrong in assuming that there's tons more "firsts" to occur and that technology will continue to improve? Is it a bad assumption to think that the world of 70 years from now will be different from today? I guess it's a matter of comparison. Does the internet really compare to airplanes? I don't know. I wonder if it's a matter of perspective, too. Things like airplanes that seem commonplace to me completely changed the world, but isn't that true of more modern innovations?

Relevant xkcd comic: http://xkcd.com/864/


i think you are absolutely right, there will be plenty of stuff we (i am 25) will have seen in our lives to compare the the generation 80 years our senior, possibly more, probably more in fact,

some more of our generation,

- Hubble Telescope
- first extra-solar planets discovered
- gene therapy
- first commercial space flights
- internet (and all that comes with it)
- the rise of video games
- the beginnings of 3D video technology
- picture perfect computer graphics
- widespread home computers
- widespread pocket computers (smart phones etc)

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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby SecondTalon » Thu May 12, 2011 2:38 pm UTC

At 31, I've basically seen the Home Computer go from a luxury of the very wealthy meant for Serious Businesswork to a home appliance more necessary than a television.

I've seen getting together with more than three friends go from being meticulously planned a week in advance as to where everyone will be at what time to being slapped together in 5 minutes because you can basically reach anyone from anywhere. I don't think the social implications of what's essentially worldwide near-instant communication with a majority of the citizens of the First World have really hit yet.
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby broken_escalator » Thu May 12, 2011 2:47 pm UTC

Don't forget to explain it as the period when they cracked the human genome, and boy bands roamed the earth.

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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby Triangle_Man » Thu May 12, 2011 4:21 pm UTC

Not to mention Internet Menes and the popularity of groups and 'artists' that may or may not deserve that praise (Justin Bieber, who may not deserve his popularity).
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby KestrelLowing » Thu May 12, 2011 4:31 pm UTC

I think the biggest deal is that we're going to be able to remember a time without common access to the internet (well, some of us, we got it at my house when I was 10 and that's because my dad waited for cable internet and I'm only 21). Also, I think that the smart phone really is a huge deal simply because in the future those will continue to be very prevalent.

Obviously we'll be ones to say that we lived through the economic depression. While it's nowhere near as severe, I'm still waiting for the time when student has to interview me for their history class. I can have one of the best horror stories! I was from Detroit!

The deal with the economy may be recognized as a turning point if things turn out as I suspect - basically, that will be the beginning of the end of the complete economic domination of the US.

Also, at some point being born before 2000 will be a huge deal!

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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby broken_escalator » Thu May 12, 2011 4:44 pm UTC

Not to mention all those damn AOL CDs. The future will think we used them as tron-disc weapons or something...

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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby SecondTalon » Thu May 12, 2011 4:59 pm UTC

"..while records are sketchy, it appears that for a brief period in the mid 1990s and early 2000s, the US switched from paper and coin based currency to 3.5 Floppy Disc and later Compaq Disc currency before returning to the paper and coin based currency system. This was apparently an early attempt to have a 'Net based monetary system, as all of these discs were marked America Online..."
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu May 12, 2011 5:11 pm UTC

I'm 27, and yeah, I think we've seen a whole mess of media types rise and fall. My dad brought home a laser disc player, which we used for two years before he agreed it was pointless, and in HS I bought a minidisc player, which wasn't too bad. My highschool girlfriends dad was a big tech junkie and had every iPod available between 1998 and 2002, which was kind of neat.

But yeah, I remember in middle school having a computer class where we practiced typing on a green screen, and saved our work on floppies.

My brother currently believes that the only way to listen to digital music on a computer is with iTunes.

So yeah, I'm not sure we need to explain to kids what it was like growing up, but when crystal based optical memory eye implants are so last year, it may be fun shaking our cyberfists at the hologram wearing chesthawk toting youngsters and telling to get off our landing strips.
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby Cloud Walker » Thu May 12, 2011 5:17 pm UTC

I think the Internet, as it is right now, is too good to be true. . . for long. Or maybe it's too good for us not to have it? I don't know. But I'm definitely excited to be a part of it now, and I think future generations will want to know what it was like "back then".

Then again, all of this (and even what we're writing here) may be available to future generations without them even asking us. What's changed since 70 years ago is the records that are being kept. There's just tons and tons of information on computers and servers around the world. We're already telling stories to people 70 years from now.
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby broken_escalator » Thu May 12, 2011 5:29 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:My brother currently believes that the only way to listen to digital music on a computer is with iTunes.

Image

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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby el_loco_avs » Thu May 12, 2011 5:55 pm UTC

Endless Mike wrote:
Me, just in my 29 years (granted, these overlap with him, but I hopefully have a lot more life to live)
-Rise of home computing and the internet
-Cell phones
-First black American president (this is obviously not as big a deal outside the US)
-The single largest attack on American soil
-Lots of other things I can't think of right now (I won't be a good person to talk to)



It kinda was a big deal around the world actually :mrgreen:
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby Endless Mike » Thu May 12, 2011 5:59 pm UTC

Ah, I had no idea, honestly.

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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby bigglesworth » Thu May 12, 2011 6:17 pm UTC

What's a big deal in America is a big deal everywhere. Is because America is so Big.

So how about talking to youngsters about the time when America was the world's only superpower?
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby broken_escalator » Thu May 12, 2011 6:24 pm UTC

I prefer the comic book approach to politics. That way the lies we are being fed have pretty colors and illustrations.

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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby SecondTalon » Thu May 12, 2011 7:23 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:What's a big deal in America is a big deal everywhere.
I'd like to apologize right now for.... really, all of our Reality Television.
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby JBJ » Thu May 12, 2011 7:35 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:What's a big deal in America is a big deal everywhere.
I'd like to apologize right now for.... really, all of our Reality Television.

We can't take all the credit.
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby Endless Mike » Thu May 12, 2011 7:37 pm UTC

I'm pretty sure we created COPS, and there's no better way to make yourself feel better about your intelligence than an episode of COPS.

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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby clockworkmonk » Thu May 12, 2011 7:42 pm UTC

"Bah! in my day, we didn't have scripted television. We watched everyday people doing stupid things in only 2 dimensions, and we were happy to have it. But those were the good days of Television, had a measure of authenticity that you don't get with TV today, what with the interactivity and the real time scripted changes based on viewer interaction. No, we would watch TV and it would be flat, music came on small plastic discs, and it was a better music."
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby SecondTalon » Thu May 12, 2011 7:49 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:What's a big deal in America is a big deal everywhere.
I'd like to apologize right now for.... really, all of our Reality Television.

We can't take all the credit.
Survivor derived from Sweden's Expedition Robinson
American Idol derived from Britain's Pop Idol
Dancing With the Stars from Britain's Strictly Come Dancing
Jersey Shore derived from... okay, that one's ours, and I too am very sorry.

Oh, I know. I also know that ... we basically have a way of taking things that are great.. or maybe not even great, maybe just tolerable.. or maybe not even that, they're bad at the start... but we take them and somehow make them even worse. For no reason.
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby broken_escalator » Thu May 12, 2011 8:01 pm UTC

Personified Hollywood is nightmare fuel. :shock:

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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby mjm » Thu May 12, 2011 11:55 pm UTC

I definitely think there have been and will be significant changes:

I have touched superconductors that can be cooled with liquid nitrogren. Metamaterials, organic semiconductors, and other really cool material stuff are being developed.

Even if 3D printers don't improve further (though I have little doubt they will), the fact that you can send drawings and get printed/lasercut/plasmacut parts mailed to you in a couple weeks is amazing.

I expect our energy sources will change, for better or for worse.

Ooh. I almost forgot print media. Kids in the future may see printed publications in the same way as people see vinyl today. Make: Magazine may be cherished, but I doubt mainstream news will be printed.

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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby Steax » Fri May 13, 2011 6:43 am UTC

I think the single biggest new thing is near-instant communications. And since the internet became a free-for-all channel, it's wildly beyond anyone's expectations. If twitter had to build their own satellites and data lines across the world, they wouldn't have a chance.

Back then, people would go out of contact for years and years. Some may not even know when their old family members pass away. But now, we have...
- Text messaging
- Instant messengers
- Email
- Ol' telephones
- VOIP
- Social networks
- What-you're-doing sites (twitter, plurk, whatever)

It's almost mind-boggling to think that now, I can contract practically anyone I know (and have a handle to) in mere seconds. This wasn't even cheaply/widely/reliably available 10 years ago. Now it just takes phone/internet access... And between satellites, wi-fi, 3g/4g, and worldwide cell coverage, it's ridiculously easy. Not too cheap yet, but that's probably not going to hold.

Before this, I always thought it was about transportation. Airplanes are a century old, and now you can travel practically anywhere you want in a day or so, with luxuries like air conditioning, relative security, and easy-to-find food at pretty much every point in your journey.
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby AvatarIII » Fri May 13, 2011 8:29 am UTC

interesting that you should mention transportation, because i have felt that within a generation or 2, most transportation is going to become more and more obselete, especially for business reasons, with internet conferencing etc, and with increasing fuel prices, air fares are going to constantly increase, until it is out of reach for most people,

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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby Menacing Spike » Fri May 13, 2011 9:43 am UTC

Endless Mike wrote:Ah, I had no idea, honestly.


When the ultra-agressive psycopaths on the other side of the sea become less intolerant, yes, that's kind of a big deal.

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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby Steax » Fri May 13, 2011 10:24 am UTC

AvatarIII wrote:interesting that you should mention transportation, because i have felt that within a generation or 2, most transportation is going to become more and more obselete, especially for business reasons, with internet conferencing etc, and with increasing fuel prices, air fares are going to constantly increase, until it is out of reach for most people,


I think the radical tipping point will be when internet bandwidth is reliable and fast enough for real-time, long-period video and sound. The moment that happens, video calls will be as reliable as telephone and face-to-face meetings, and I think it's a suitable middle point for when we need a more personalized experience, but without any physical needs.

The internet startup explosion has really given way to stuff that used to be big corporation stuff. I remember reading a book in 1998 about how big supermarket chains can send food to our doorstep when we run out of things in the fridge. Corporations are damn slow, though, so smaller, faster and adaptive companies are taking over these little opportunities - and they collectively push the whole online experience to a new level.

Living a perfectly normal life is even possible without leaving your doorstep. I don't think there's anything I can't get without stepping out... Short of gas. Even the local vegetable lady has a cell phone.

20 years later: "Daddy, you had to drive to mommy's house to see her?"
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby AvatarIII » Fri May 13, 2011 10:49 am UTC

Steax wrote:20 years later: "Daddy, you had to drive to mommy's house to see her?"


:D i think that might be a little extreme, i was really only thinking about large scale and international transportation, but i can certainly forsee a day when 90% of social interaction takes place digitally, with more and more people meeting their partners and friends online, and increase in internet bandwidth and reliability is only going to compound that.

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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby Steax » Fri May 13, 2011 3:26 pm UTC

I already see people staying in their dorms for a weeks' holiday.

"Dad, I text you about my classes every day, we chat on YM when I get home, and you can always see me with my friends on Facebook. I'll skype you when I have anything important to talk about. In an emergency, I can hit you on speed dial. There's no place I go to daily that doesn't have cell reception. Why should I spend half a day on a plane to go home, tired and fatigued, only to go back after a few days?"
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby CHR1110 » Fri May 13, 2011 4:37 pm UTC

clockworkmonk wrote:"Bah! in my day, we didn't have scripted television. We watched everyday people doing stupid things in only 2 dimensions, and we were happy to have it. But those were the good days of Television, had a measure of authenticity that you don't get with TV today, what with the interactivity and the real time scripted changes based on viewer interaction. No, we would watch TV and it would be flat, music came on small plastic discs, and it was a better music."


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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby broken_escalator » Fri May 13, 2011 4:45 pm UTC

Menacing Spike wrote:
Endless Mike wrote:Ah, I had no idea, honestly.


When the ultra-agressive psycopaths on the other side of the sea become less intolerant, yes, that's kind of a big deal.

It's cute you think we're less intolerant because we voted in Obama. If anything its just outed people who are more intolerant than others; we used to call them "birthers".

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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby Eseell » Fri May 13, 2011 5:46 pm UTC

Steax wrote:I think the radical tipping point will be when internet bandwidth is reliable and fast enough for real-time, long-period video and sound. The moment that happens, video calls will be as reliable as telephone and face-to-face meetings, and I think it's a suitable middle point for when we need a more personalized experience, but without any physical needs.

I think we're there right now. There's a huge expansion in fiber to the business and metro ethernet right now. It's becoming affordable for businesses to get 1Gbps service to any given site in a medium-size city now. I really hope real-time video conferencing and collaboration dramatically reduces the amount of air travel, because I think that'll spark another round of innovation in the commercial aerospace industry. Hopefully before the current one collapses.
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby Steax » Fri May 13, 2011 6:08 pm UTC

I hope they make video-call centers like they make today's call centers. Or start serving people by video call as well as email. It's faster and more intuitive. People don't always like phone calls because they're impersonal and only carry your voice.

In fact, I wish video calls could replace a lot of what's being done by email. I like to send periodic updates to my teammates when we're working on something, and it's a lot faster and personal if I could call in, give a 3-minute brief of how it's going, give them a long-distance thumbs up, and leave it there for the day. Much better than composing a half-casual, half-serious email, double-checking to make sure I got everything (getting two emails is annoying!) and then double-checking the spelling. If I make some stupid mistake, there's no way to rectify it other than an apologetic follow-up email (which has to be double-formal to sound truly apologetic).



... And the funny thing is, I think that (^ my last paragraph) is exactly how older people would describe snail-mail. *cringes*




Consistency will also be important for that adoption, though. Telephones really hit when even poor countries started bringing them in. Getting good internet access can still be hard in developing countries.

That said, I think its safe to say that by 2020, it would be weird not to be connected to the net in some way or another. I wouldn't be surprised if digital clocks around the house connected to your wifi to keep their time in sync. And have little speakers behind them, which wire up to your stereo and whatever else you connect. Maybe the Clock app on my iStereo will blaze a full-house wake-up song at 5 every morning.
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby Eseell » Fri May 13, 2011 8:08 pm UTC

I expect that in a generation owning paper books will be an eccentricity.
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby mjm » Fri May 13, 2011 8:35 pm UTC

I don't think video calls will ever replace email. They're not really equivalent, or even close in the manner that phones and videophones are. Lots of people like being able to answer questions without having to do things in real time. I think it's a matter of personal preference.

But yeah, video calls are cool.

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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby weasel@xkcd » Mon May 16, 2011 10:29 pm UTC

Steax wrote:I think the radical tipping point will be when internet bandwidth is reliable and fast enough for real-time, long-period video and sound. The moment that happens, video calls will be as reliable as telephone and face-to-face meetings.


From my experience we're definitely there already.

I've recently started traveling across the world and decided to bring my laptop with me because I wanted somewhere to store books and photos and stay in touch with friends and family.

I was to fly to Malaysia first but was in a rush to the airport so I checked-in using internet on my mobile, signed up to a frequent flyer club and dowloaded a pdf of my ticket to my laptop (didn't need a paper ticket at any point) on the way to the airport.
When I arrived In KL I had no idea where I wanted to stay so I looked at some guesthouses over Wikitravel, read through the reviews of other travellers on Tripadvisor and Hostel World and booked a room on my laptop over the airport's free wifi while waiting in customs.
I stated making my way to the guesthouse but got a little lost so I dropped into McDonald's and used their free wifi to pull up googlemaps and find some directions. While I was there I started chatting to one of the workers there, we got along so we added each other on facebook right then and have stayed in touch since.
I got to the guesthouse and used the wifi to video call my friends and family letting them know how things have gone. I also threw a couple of pictures on facebook to let other friends know what I'm up to. While I was in Malaysia I had long conversations over skype pretty much every day; whether getting advice, making plans to meet in the future or just catching up. Even after I had boarded my flight to London I had my laptop open and was wishing someone a happy birthday on facebook.
When I arrived in London I had a long video call with family in Australia while at the same time my aunt (who I'm staying with) spoke to her parents in Barcelona over skype as well. I'm going to appply for a job so if I need dox sent over for my CV I can have my family in Au immediately scan and email them too me. If I get sick and my dr needs a second opinion he can scan and email scans overseas if necessary.

TL;DR

We've reached that point. I've been having regular long video calls with friends and family overseas for years now not just because I get to see them but because it's effectively free.

ikrase
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby ikrase » Tue May 24, 2011 12:15 am UTC

I doubt that owning paper books will become an eccentricity for a very, very long time. I do, however, think that paper periodicals will disappear very soon, and paper books will either be illuminated printings (a status symbol), children's stories or certain types of references -- or companions to electronic books because you don't want to take your computer pad in the workshop or whatever. They also beat all alternatives for permanency.

I expect that face to face interaction will not become rarer, but videophoning will become much more common.
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Armadillo Al
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby Armadillo Al » Tue May 24, 2011 8:18 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:
Steax wrote:20 years later: "Daddy, you had to drive to mommy's house to see her?"


:D i think that might be a little extreme

Hell, by then, Daddy might not even have to drive to Mommy's house to impregnate her.

One thing I see our generation being looked at for that hasn't been touched in this thread is the rise of consumerism and planned obsolescence. Future generations are not going to believe how Western civilization could go on for so long with seemingly no overarching goal save wasting as many natural resources as possible for things like broken cell phones, 800 pairs of shoes, and all kinds of stuff that ends up in our landfills.
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bigglesworth
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Re: Explaining our lives to future youngsters

Postby bigglesworth » Tue May 24, 2011 9:42 pm UTC

Unless recycling gets better and more convenient - "So dad, you had to buy a second pair when you wanted them in a different colour?"
Generation Y. I don't remember the First Gulf War, but do remember floppy disks.


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