With the new year (you remember that we’re in 2016, right?) comes the traditional March of the New Year Trends. Specifically, resolutions, people flocking to the gym, the launch of new diets, and the Prediction Articles.
The prediction articles tell us All We Need To Know for the coming year. It really doesn’t matter if they are correct or not; no one ever goes back at the end of the year to check. There are no grades for prognostication accuracy. Whether you get your prediction article published next year has nothing to do with how well you predicted prior years and everything to do with how many people read your article last year. Also most writers couch their insight with words like “probably” and “in the next few years” and other wishy washy phrases that inevitably translate to “maybe.”
For years (and years and years) most of these articles have focused on technology. Yes, there are also articles about fashion, paint colors, and makeup, but those are actually reasonably easy to predict since everyone in those industries has already agreed about the style trends.
The tech world is a little different. In the tech world, no one agrees on what’s going to happen, only that a LOT is going to happen and that it will be ABSOLUTE.
Apparently, in 2016, all TV remotes will become obsolete, passwords will be replaced with biometric keys, and paper will disappear.
Before you rush out to sell your stock in TV remote companies, let me assure you that not ALL TV remotes will disappear, plenty of passwords will remain, and there is no way we will get rid of paper. You heard it here first.
Do I believe that remotes will be replaced with smart phone wizardry? Eventually, sure. Do I believe that sooner or later biometrics will replace the 8-letter-and-at-least-one-character password? Absolutely. Do I think paper is going away? Um, no.
First of all, pundits have been predicting the demise of paper since I was a little girl, and as far as I can see we use more paper today than we did back then. (Maybe it’s just my perspective.) Digital is good (you’re reading this digitally, which proves that digital is good) but I’ve never had a paper file crash and need the support team’s assistance.
There is something wonderful about the tactile experience of paper. You don’t have to turn off your paper when an airplane is taking off. You don’t lose paper reception when you’re going through a tunnel. You don’t have to pay for more data when you use an extra sheet of paper. And paper interfaces don’t change (do you have any idea how many outdated cords and plugs and whatnot we have?).
I can’t wait to see what wonderful things the tech world will bring us in the next few years. But it won’t be the end of paper.