It should come as no surprise that things get replaced as time moves on and technology becomes more advanced. Perhaps you’ve noticed how we don’t send letters in the mail anymore like we used to.
Or how most of us now use apps to do everything from pay bills to order food from a local restaurant. These are just some of the changes we’ve seen over the years, with more still to come.
What other changes will be on the horizon? Continue reading to find out.
10. Snail Mail
Did you know that U.S. Postal Service mail-collection boxes have been disappearing in recent years? Yep, it’s true. According to an article published by Money Talks News, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General’s website says that the number of mail-collection boxes on U.S. streets has declined by more than 12,000 from 2011 to 2016.
And, when you think about it, it makes sense. With things like email, text messaging, automatic bill payments and the many other services available at the click of a button, who really needs snail mail anymore?
9. Plastic Credit Cards
You’ve probably heard lots of times in your life that cash will become obsolete some day. But, what you may not know is that credit cards may soon become a thing of the past, too. In fact, according to an article published by PC Magazine, plastic credit cards are becoming digital.
In other words, you’ll start to see more people paying with mobile or wearable technology and less people paying with actual plastic cards. And, according to PC Magazine, this is actually a good thing.
“These technologies have the potential to cut down on fraud. They negate the need for any third-party vendor to ever see your credit card number, and your pocket super computer has the ability to use biometric data (e.g. fingerprints) to prove that you are indeed buying that bulk-sized jar of Nutella,” the magazine wrote on its website.
8. In-Person Voting
With us being able to work, go to school and grocery shop from home, you knew it would only be a matter of time before we started voting from home. In fact, several states have already moved to voting by mail.
Here’s how it works: You receive a ballot in the mail, mark the ballot, then put it back in the mail. It’s as simple as that. And, there’s even a nifty little feature that lets you track your vote online so you can make sure it gets counted.
7. Parking Meters
As the world becomes even more high tech, many cities are turning to parking apps which let people pay for their time as they need it, all from the comfort of their cell phone — or other smart device.
This eliminates the need to carry around a bunch of change in your pocket, which is good anyway, considering that there has been a coin shortage ever since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic. Not to mention that money will likely become obsolete in the next few generations or so.
6. Human Workers
Depending on the industry you work in, you could find yourself being replaced with automation. In fact, fast food workers have been under threat of automation for quite some time now, with robots completing tasks ordinarily done by humans, such as taking orders, making and serving food, washing dishes, etc.
Even live human operators are being replaced with automated operators — at least partially anyway. As of right now, these automated customer service systems are used to identify callers and their needs, and to place them in a queue to speak with a human operator. That could, however, change in the near future. What’s more is that front desk staff at hospitals could even start being replaced.
“The registration and front desk areas will no longer need to be staffed due to smartphone enabled direction and instructions with digital access keys that will allow patients the full digital experience for clinic visits or hospital outpatient services,” Vice President of IT at Houston Methodist Michelle Stansbury told Becker’s Hospital Review.
Calculators will soon become a thing of the past. Not because we will have memorized every kind of math problem known to man, but because we can easily find calculators on the devices we carry with us every day.
This includes our smartphones and tablets. Not only that but you can even ask Siri or Alexa to solve a math problem for you! As you can see, there’s really no need to continue carrying a separate physical calculator around with you anymore.
4. Alarm Clocks
I can’t remember the last time I used an alarm clock. And, I’m sure most of you can’t remember the last time you used one either. I mean, who even needs them anymore? We can set alarms on our smartphones and smartwatches now.
What’s more is that we can set multiple alarms, each with its own ringtone or other alarm sound. And, we can easily carry our phones and watches with us in case we need alarms/reminders set throughout the day.
FUN FACT: By 2011, 60 percent of youngsters were using their phones in place of alarm clocks.
3. Paper Airplane Tickets and Boarding Passes
If you don’t travel by air often, you might not know that paper tickets and boarding passes are quickly becoming a thing of the past. That’s because the passes can be sent to passengers’ smartphones.
Once at the gate, all the passenger has to do is show the pass on their smartphone to an agent, who then quickly scans it and allows the passenger to board the plane. It’s fast and easy, plus it helps the passenger avoid losing or forgetting their ticket and boarding pass.
2. Theater Tickets
Digital tickets are increasingly becoming an option for moviegoers. Here’s how it works: You purchase your movie ticket(s) online and have it sent to your smartphone. Once you arrive at the theater, skip the box office line and head straight for the usher to show him or her your virtual ticket.
They’ll scan it and then send you on your way. Unfortunately for now we still have to stand in line to order concessions. But, perhaps someday we’ll be able to place our order via an app and have the concession workers bring the food to us.
Unfortunately, many companies today are so focused on tracking, logging and analyzing consumer and user data. Even Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections function like tracking devices. And, it’s not just companies and websites that are tracking you.
Healthcare workers in some locations are using a cell-phone-based system to track (via anonymous signals transmitted among cell phones) people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
When the person is in close proximity to others, all of their recent close contacts will be notified by cell phone that they’ve recently been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The whole thing takes place through an opt-in program.