Back to the Future (Our Future)

It occurred to me the other day, that today’s youth doesn’t know the world without things like: Facebook, Google, Broadband Internet speeds, Microwaves with butter softening settings 1, waiting for food, not knowing where a person is, getting lost, and so much more. As you think about each of those — think about how different news delivery today is from what it was when you were a teenager.

I get most of my news from an RSS reader and all my breaking news from Twitter and email alerts. Neither are very old systems

With that in mind try to imagine what the world will look like in our life spans — hell what the world may look like in just 5 years. It is almost impossible to imagine these things — this is the reason that technology never ceases to excite me.

Endless Possibilities

What technology holds five years from now is not knowable — though we can discern a few things here and there. For example we know battery life improves every year and computers tend to always get lighter, smaller, and faster. We also know that internet speeds keep increasing, as do file sizes, as does the amount we pay to companies providing us with services we had never heard about a year ago.

It is important to remember though that it is not just the big things that change our world — it is also the small things. Things like light sensing backlit displays, backlit keyboards, not having to screw cable connections into your computer. Those little things make life a whole lot easier and they change the way we work too.

The Future

Moving forward there are a lot of things that I want to see change and improve. Most of all I want to see us all using less paper — it is a violent medium that gives you some of the most painful cuts a grown man can experience.

I also want to see better and cheaper broadband internet for the masses, helping to level the intellectual playing field. I want to see technology continue to push boundaries — wowing even the largest luddites.

I want Google Maps with real-time satellite imagery.

A Note on Our Past

I love going on road trips, but every time I venture out I think about my childhood. Not because we spent a lot of time in the car, but because when I was a child getting lost meant: you were lost. It didn’t mean you would have to pull over and check Google Maps on your phone, or program in your GPS. You couldn’t even call someone from your car to ask for directions and help. If you were lost you had to go find an actual live person and ask them for help. 2

That is mostly lost on today’s generations. They will never know what it is like to simply not talk to a loved one during the day. Think about how before cell phones most people that left on a road trip would not check in until they made it to their destination. It could have been days without people knowing if they are alive and well.

Today if I am on a road trip without my wife and I haven’t checked in with her recently I will get text or a call for sure. I don’t know if today’s kids are as paranoid about losing contact as people in my generation seem to be, but it is certainly an interesting paradigm.

Cell phones have changed my world almost as much as the internet has — that is no small feat.


All of this is just a fancy way of telling everyone to keep dreaming and make those dreams huge.

Here’s to the future.

  1. Highly recommend, very cool option.
  2. Or read a paper map.
Originally posted for members on: December 31, 2010
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