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.
13. 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. So, who really needs snail mail anymore?
12. Plastic Credit Cards
You’ve probably heard lots of times in your life that cash will become obsolete someday. 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 fewer 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 supercomputer 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.
11. In-Person Voting
With us working, going to school and grocery shopping 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 to 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.
10. Parking Meters
As the world becomes even more high-tech, many cities are turning to parking apps that let people pay for their time as they need it, all from the comfort of their cell phone — or other smart devices.
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.
9. 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. These automated customer service systems are used to identify callers and their needs and 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.
7. Alarm Clocks
It’s safe to assume most of you don’t remember the last time you used an alarm clock. 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 sounds. And, we can easily carry our phones and watches with us if we need alarms/reminders set throughout the day.
FUN FACT: By 2011, 60% of youngsters were using their phones in place of alarm clocks.
6. 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.
5. 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. Then, once you arrive at the theater, skip the box office line and head straight for the usher to show them 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 use 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.
3. House and Car Keys
How many times have you lost your keys? Well, you likely won’t have to worry about losing them for much longer. Obviously, we need some sort of way to get into our homes and cars, but keyless entry solutions are the future.
Many of us already have car keys that don’t require a key that has to be inserted. But, of course, the more convenient, the better. So number pads, fingerprint scanners or possibly even facial recognition will allow us to enter.
This will be made possible with smart locks connected to an app you download to your phone.
2. USB Drives
USB drives used to be crucial to keeping your documents, music, photos, etc., stored away and safe. As technology advances, we are able to store everything in the cloud or other online storage space. As a result, it isn’t easy even to find a newer version of a laptop with a USB port.
1. Physical Menus
Rather than the waiter handing out physical menus, many restaurants use QR codes to get the job done instead. Think about the number of people who have touched a menu before it gets to your hands. They are a breeding ground for germs.
QR codes have been a game-changer during the pandemic. Not only do they reduce the spread of germs, but they also save restaurant employees time and money.