Creating Our Communications Future

by Andrew Prokop | Arrow Systems Integration

Source: No Jitter

From 1958 to 1963, Arthur Radebaugh wrote and illustrated a syndicated Sunday comic entitled, Closer Than We Think, as detailed on Smithsonian.com. Every week he stretched peoples' imaginations with colorful visions of an amazing future filled with flying cars, floating houses, household robots ready to do our bidding, and jet-pack wearing letter carriers.

While quite a few of his fantastic predictions have yet to become reality, several are now common place and ordinary -- albeit with a few modifications. Instead of "atomic knives," surgeons use lasers to perform Radebaugh's "bloodless surgery" and e-books and CDs populate his "electronic libraries."

As farfetched as some of his other closer-than-we-think predictions might have been, I give him credit for stretching the boundaries of our imaginations. Despite the shadow of the Cold War and the threat of nuclear war, Americans as a whole were hopeful for the future and looked upon it longingly. This was the age of The Jetsons, Disneyland's Tomorrowland, and the possibility -- nay, the expectation -- of a world that was bright, shiny, clean, and fully automated.

Here we are nearly 60 years later, and while it cannot be denied that today's innovations have altered the way we work, play, and think, we seem to have lost our sense of wonder and awe. We can imagine today's devices evolving with each new iteration, but is that enough? Is it enough to know that iPhone 7, 8, and 9 are coming or should we be thinking about ditching handheld devices altogether and visualizing a world where we communicate with brain waves? Is it more important to create a new tablet or imagine how our retinas could be the screens for the next generation of applications?

In other words, what wildly imaginative creations are we still capable of in this era of digital electronics and wireless networks? Have we already invented all the big stuff and there is nothing left for us to do but tinker and modify?

 

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