Writing the Father’s Day post about my dad got me thinking about the gazillion things that have changed since I was a kid. Hang on, before you toss this aside as one of those “old man” posts, it also caused me to think about the rapidly increasing pace of change, and the things our daughter will likely be able to talk about from when she was a kid. Most of the things that are changing today are changing due to technology. That change isn’t happening at a linear rate, but it’s Monday and I’m sure no one wants me to use the word “exponentially” (I tried that last Monday) but it truly is – that’s it – nuff-said-about-that.
Shopping – This has already changed. For good, bad or otherwise, our daughter’s generation is likely the last group of people who can say:
“We had to go to stores in person. Different stores sold different things. Some stores sold a lot of different things, but some stores only sold a certain kind of thing, like shoes. And, if they didn’t have what you wanted, you had to go to a different store.”
Cars – When I explained to my wife that ours are probably the last cars we will own with an ignition key and without a back-up camera, she said she might just keep hers. Of course, our daughter will be able to say:
“When I was a kid, we had to learn how to drive cars. We couldn’t even do that until we were 16, so if you had to go anywhere before that, you had to get an adult to drive you. The car couldn’t do anything on its own, it couldn’t even play music unless you brought a CD or a Cassette tape with you, or you could listen to the radio. Alexa, explain what radio was.”
Appliances – We are getting ready to replace a few appliances. We’re old-school – maybe too much old-school. We don’t want to link the washer and drier to our phone. We don’t want the dishwasher talking to the electric meter and waiting until off-peak hours to start the cycle. We don’t want a trash can that opens in response to motion or voice commands and we don’t want the refrigerator ordering more food. We were late bloomers with respect to the “modern” refrigerator, so our daughter can actually say:
“When I was a kid, our refrigerator just kept things cold. I remember when we got one that made its own ice. Before that, someone in our house had to fill these weird little trays with water and put them in the freezer. Sometimes, you’d open the refrigerator for a cold bottle of water, and there wouldn’t be any. We had to remember to buy the stuff that went inside.”
Cables – No, not cable TV, which is a thing whose future demise I am looking forward to, no, I’m talking about all those other cables. The ones charging things and connecting things to other things, so those things can talk to other things that can upload pictures and videos and blog posts to the cloud. Our daughter still has cables in her apartment, but probably not for long. Sooner or later, she’ll be able to say:
“When I was a kid, we had to connect things like phones, laptops, and cameras (I’ve told you about cameras) with cables. Everything had its own cable, until one day, someone invented USB Cables. The ‘U’ stood for universal and they almost were. They had adapters on each end, but USB adapters only fit in the socket one way. You would look at the adapter, figure out which way it fit, but then it wouldn’t go in. You’d turn it over and it still wouldn’t fit, but when you turned it back to the original way you had it, it slipped in easy-peasy.”
These aren’t futuristic musings. Much of this technology is here today. So much so, that the Washington Post recently printed an article about the 15 default settings you need to turn off. And just last week, they published 15 more default settings you might want to turn off. From this point forward, unless you’re careful about what you buy, and mindful of the installation process of the things you couldn’t avoid buying, the motto in your house will be that of Dr. Frasier Crane – “I’m Listening.” Watch the video at the end of this post for what you might be saying to your appliances before too long.
The gallery has a few photos from my early morning walks with Maddie over the very hot weekend that we just had.