For years my wife and I have meant to sit down and write out a point by point summary of the various ways we interact with technology and/or receive culture. For instance, if we had done it for 2010 I would have mentioned that it was the year I first started tweeting and first used full-body, motion-controlled video games and pretty much abandoned buying physical CDs of music. I think we forget sometimes how briefly we’ve been using technology that we now take for granted. YouTube has been in my life for less than five years, HD television for less than four. Ten years ago I didn’t have a cell phone; today I don’t have a landline. I think it would be fascinating to go back and look at annual updates of this information to get a clear picture of how quickly and dramatically all of our lives have changed.
The video below approaches this concept from a different angle, by taking a look not at how we’ve adopted new technology, but at how quickly we’ve forgotten about old gadgets, in this case by having young children attempt to identify some old gear from the Eighties. Granted, some of this stuff probably couldn’t have been identified by the average person when it was new, even, but the concept is interesting. Plus, one of the boys thinks that a 3 1/2 inch floppy disk is a camera, so that’s hilarious.
Two other hilarious things: 1) the term “floppy disk,” and 2) the fact that some Canadians speak French.
In a somewhat related note, Gizmodo has an interesting piece on technologies that probably won’t be around in ten years. I agreed with most of it, but I think it’s a bit odd to include digital music players (iPods) on the “survivors” list for the same reason eBook readers made the “doomed” list, namely a lack of versatility. They’re probably right, though, mostly because people like music more than they do books.