Janesville25.6°

The Evolution of Ma Bell

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Brenda Schultz
April 15, 2011

My daughter was reading a new BOB book the other day and stopped when she saw an unfamiliar picture. “What’s this?” she said, pointing to the picture of a telephone. For those of you who may not have seen the BOB books, the illustrations are just line drawings, but this particular illustration was clear enough. It occurred to me, though, that my daughter doesn’t remember a telephone being in our home. We took our land line out about a year ago, and rely on our cell phones now. My memory took me back to the telephone I picked out for my bedroom at age 13…one of those imitations of the fancy kind, gold and white…something that might be seen in my daughter’s favorite Fancy Nancy books. She will never know about those…what will she be talking into at age 13? Will she have her own phone then? (We’ve got a while to decide that one). She’s already talked to Australia via Skype webcam to a friend of mine there. What will the world of communication look like when she’s an adult? I know I never imagined when I was a child that I would talk to friends halfway around the world and be able to see them, too.

When my daughter is an adult, will all of us go around talking into the air, as I’ve seen people in airports do with their earpiece telephones? Will we all carry around a small screen with us complete with webcam so that we can talk to anyone, face to face, anywhere around the world, anytime? Will there even be telephones? Will some amazing invention occur in the next 20 years that will make telephone communication obsolete, and some sort of image communication similar to that from Star Wars possible? I smile as I write this, but who knows?

What do you think communication will look like in 20 years? What impact to our society’s culture do you envision?



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