The Future

DVD. Beta. 8 Track. Cassette tapes. LP’s. 45s. Phonograph Records. Relics of time passed…

Stella’s. Papyrus rolls. Parchment scrolls. Illuminated manuscripts. Relics of an even more ancient time.

Books. Wait a minute…books?

Read this:

OK. So maybe not tomorrow…But, consider the point…

It’s not books that are in danger – as in great (or not so great) written content. In fact, nothing is really in danger. All that is happening is a shift – evolutionary advance in how we enjoy and distribute that which we like, motivates us, excites us, causes us to laugh or cry or even get angry. But the content? It won’t get better or worse through technology; it will just be more readily available.

Think back to the days of pre – Gutenberg printing press: little or no distribution of knowledge beyond a privileged few. Sadly the powers in charge liked it that way.

Then all hell broke loose. Printed material became widely available. Ideas grew as they spread; peoples’ minds opened and closed (always a two edged sword that) and the world changed and continued to change as it continues to change till today.

Do we mourn the loss of reel-to-reel to recording tape? Do we lament the passing of the kinescope? Do we keen over the death of Edison’s wax cylinders?

Or, do we look back upon those adaptations of technology with awe and wonderment, amazed at “what those things could do” and happily play or watch their output on every device imaginable today with a sense of deep nostalgia but also respect and thanks for getting us to where we are today and for preserving the best of what was then.

It’s all about the content. Once the doors were opened and Pandora’s Box unleashed we instinctively knew that our means of communicating; of sharing would change and evolve. And, we also know that the driver would be content.

The human need to tell and share stories drives everything. We are a social people and since the first cave folk banded together and painted stones we have been looking for the next Facebook; video technology or reading device (after all that is what Gutenberg really invented…)

Think on this: Beowulf, an epic poem passed on by word of mouth (think on that) for generations, written and illuminated by monks, printed on a press, made into a movie; downloaded by movielink, watched on an HP/Compaq nc6400 on an airplane, and written about on that same computer on MSFT Word and then sent by outlook to a huge audience… (guess where I am)…I’d say we just came full circle, no?

So here is my thought. Why agonize over the device? Do I really care if it’s this or that? Or should I care more about understanding people, their needs, their actions, the experiences they like and love?


Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.
– Niels Bohr

Devices are for figuring out how to use. But content? I don’t really have to predict content, do I?

What do you think?

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