Years ago I read sociologist Alvin Toffler's tome Future Shock, a condition that he described as "too much change in too short a period of time." While dismissed by some critics after its release in 1970 for its over-generalizations, in some ways the book remains relevant today as a starting point for discussions related to technological change.
In the four-plus decades I have been kicking around this planet, I have seen tremendous changes in the way humans work, live, and interact. While I consider myself to be tech-savvy, I still find times where technological change seems almost surreal.
Take, for example, a lowly check drawn on a checking account. It was quite a novelty just over a decade ago to have an electronic check processing device with which a clerk could punch in account numbers to verify funds. Now, of course, there are readers that allow clerks to instantaneously scan checks, eliminating the need to type numbers.
And when I was at local retailer The Andersons the other day, their check reader even types in all of the relevant information. All the customer has to do is present a signed check, and the machine types in the payee, date, and amount.
No jokes about my refusal to use debit cards, please. You must know by now that the debit card is really the Revelation-predicted Mark of the Beast, right?
I look back with dsbelief at the technological items that have become obsolete in my lifetime: vinyl records, dial telephones, typewriters, slide rules, cassette tapes - the list seems endless.
And I try to look ahead, but the rapid pace of technological change makes it difficult for me to imagine what the world will look like when I am in my eighties (assuming I live that long). All I know for certain is that - barring some population-destroying catastrophe such as a deadly pandemic or nuclear holocaust - we are in for a wild ride.