We Live In The Future

Happy Monday everyone. I decided to take a break this week and post something more essay-like than something related to writing. After my ‘Meet the Author’ event on Google Plus I was shown again more proof towards a saying I’ve been using a lot the past couple of years: We live in the future.

This statement is best seen through the eyes of children and those born in the past couple of years. These future inheritors of our world enter a place so different than we did that it is almost unbelievable. Our children will never see an encyclopedia or likely a dictionary. The phrase ‘look it up’ has been replaced with ‘Google it’ or ‘check Wikipedia’.

The analog world we knew so well has been left in the dust. They’ll never see camera film or small canisters in the fridge to keep them fresher longer. Mailing away and waiting for pictures will be as foreign as 1-hour photo. Tape is only something used when wrapping presents & hanging posters while ‘skip protection’ will likely be interpreted as filling cracks in a sidewalk so no one trips.

Paper is electronic, books talk to us (using text-to-speech) and one day handling a physical book will make no sense. I already have a collection of hundreds of books that exist in the ether of the Internet, nowhere else. Even *MY* book exists in digital format, only two actual print copies are in the world (I own one of them).

Mail is checked, not delivered. Stamp prices are forever, though what are they good for? The USPS, UPS and FedEx exist to deliver goods bought online. Bills are not just paid online but pay themselves! Paychecks are available on payday and the only reason to go to a bank is to open an account or get a loan.

Drivers never get lost, tolls pay themselves and friends split dinner bills using their smartphone, Paypal, Venmo and others. Small-time merchants have become full credit card acceptors just by plugging a small card reader into their phone. Speaking of phones, our children will likely never have to untangle a looped phone wire and couldn’t dream of a time where you needed to always be sure you had some dimes and quarters in your car in case you needed to make a call while out.

Music comes in gigabytes, not boxed sets. Album art is a thing of the past. Television shows air when you have time to watch, movie selections are streamed directly into your house and movie theaters never had huge marquees outside listing their selections. They’ll never know about looking movie times in the newspaper. For them, the newspaper is out of date if the publication’s website hasn’t been updated in the past twenty minutes.

Toys require USB cords and browsing a catalog has been replaced with Amazon wish lists.

There are likely a million ways to see how in just a short amount of time, we have catapulted ourselves into a society that is almost beyond connected. If our past-selves from thirty years ago glimpsed into our average life today, they would truly say we live in the future. Now, where’s my flying car and hoverboard?

Sound off in the comments how you believe we live in the future. I’d love to hear the stuff I overlooked or just plain forgot about.

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