Am I ready for this?
While I am very eager for the upcoming super-connected world to arrive, I do have to ask myself, "Am I ready for this?" I have had my cel phone for about two years but still haven't stored any numbers in it. In fact, all the advertising that I get in the mail says I should have upgraded two times by now. I bought an answering machine after months of delay only to have it sit in a box for another month before I hooked the thing up. I don't even want to tell you about my telephone debacle. In a state of technology euphoria I bought a phone that does more things than I can even tell you and for that I paid quite a hefty price. Now, months later I have only ever picked the thing up and dialed. I haven't used one special feature. Therefore, I realize I should have just gone to the local electronics store and bought a standard old phone. Of course, now my window of opportunity for returning my "personal communication center" has long passed so I might as well keep the darn thing and hope that one day I have time to read the 100-page booklet with which it came. This booklet probably tells me I didn't really ever need to buy that answering machine, and by the time I figure it all out, I'll be getting cards in the mail about upgrading my "pcc" as well. I should have just mastered my cel phone and stuck with that across the board. I won't even begin to tell you all the different places I have numbers and addresses stored because that ranges between several computers and programs to random pieces of paper, including one crucial paper plate.
Currently being "connected" takes some time and effort, but we are told that one day, we will have one communication device that will do anything and everything for us. It will contain our personal phone book, and be a pager, cel phone and communicator (think Star Trek) all in one. This device will be Web connected at all times and probably about the size of a wrist watch. Lost and need directions? You will have an instant mapping service at your fingertips. Bored on a train? Then how about a few games? Need to catch up with some people? Just select how you wish to communicate with them.
The same will go for your home. One device resembling a cross between your television and computer will deliver programming and entertainment upon demand and amazing, interactive, immersive environments that will be the evolution of the current gaming industry. As Joan Van Tassel discusses in "What's A Digital Media Futurist?" this day will come. But what is even more fascinating to think about is what we can't yet even imagine, that will arrive on our doorsteps in the future, neatly packaged as "the next best thing," and all contributing to the growing global digital network of communication. Information will never be lost (as Dr. Toon touches upon in his article this month), properties will be leveraged across all forms of media easily (as Artworld UK is already doing) and our entertainment opportunities and access to knowledge will be almost infinite. The digital world, as Ms. Van Tassel says, will be as large as the real world. How the technological players will make this happen and how the ripples of economic impact will play out over the next fifty to one hundred years are all to be seen. What is known, is that this is happening as we speak. Slowly, but surely, all of the pieces needed for this new media world are taking shape. Business-wise some will lose and some will win, but all of us will dramatically change how we do basic daily tasks.
I am sure that the book that comes with these devices will be 300 pages long. But, in the meantime, before these new age gadgets arrive, all we can try to do is stay as current as possible and keep our eye on the long run picture. I am sure, one day, someone will say, "Here, Kenyon." And then, I swear, I'll be organized.
Until Next Time, Heather