In the matter of a few years we’ve really changed the way we communicate. Cell phones, computers with the potential to let us go paperless, meaning we can communicate and we can also create files that we can access. Business-as-usual is changing, and over the last 25-30 years has changed considerably. We now have smart phones and many other powerful devices on which we can conduct business as well as communicate. We can also talk to others face-to-face on smart phones and tablets.
Our televisions are also now often smart as well. We can program them and regulate our watching time. The power and capacity of our electronic devices continues to increase. Even so, it is hard to imagine how much additional power we can effectively use in the future even though that power continues to increase exponentially. Our present capacity would have been hard to accurately predict in 1985-90 when personal computers were beginning to enter their prime. Added and improving artificial intelligent systems and robotics will bring us incredible new and advancing capacities in the very near future.
As I noted in an earlier post, we no longer send letters. With internet and television advertising, we hardly need a postal system. Newspapers are in decline and in fact are hardly necessary. They are retained by those of us who are psychologically attuned to them. We need the crossword and the feel of the paper in our hand as we read the sports section or the op-ed pages, but the younger among us — those born in the late 1980s through the end of the century — live on their smart phones and other electronic devices.
We certainly write fewer letters today. We use phones differently — we do face-time, network socially, and organize our lives far more differently than we used to. There are certainly fewer reasons for postal services and newspapers to exist, and one day not too far distant from now they won’t. We’ll be far closer to paperless than we are currently. Phone companies still exist, but they are organized quite differently.
Interestingly, fewer people are required and they all are smarter than the ones they are replacing, because in providing the service they too are aided by computers and smart devices. Jobs in all these areas are declining and the ones that remain require on average smarter people to do them.
Thus, business-as-usual is changing — has changed — and will continue to change as we move into an uncertain future. Our electronic devices will influence everything we do as we become even more highly automated. Many jobs will disappear while others will be created around those devices. If we are as smart as our devices, all will turn out well, but it will likely be a hard transtional period.