When we were kids, we used to think about all the different and cool things we could expect in the future.
Although to be honest, we had five TV channels, at best, and AM radio was still hip. Then came the brilliance of stereo FM radio, and for a short time ‘quadraphonic radio’ which never took off. Quadraphonic, as the name would imply, promised four different channels of music from one radio station. The record industry tried to help by recording and marketing quadraphonic records, to be played on quadraphonic turn tables through quadraphonic speakers. At the end of the day, it turned out that the coolest thing about quadraphonic music was the name quadraphonic.
In the ‘80s, we had laser discs. Remember laser disks? The were CDs, the size of a record, that each had one movie on it, which played on a laser disk player and had to be handled, literally, with gloves. The problem with laser disks, and we didn’t realize this at the time, was we still had to watch them on our old tube televisions that only had 525 lines of resolutions. By comparison, almost all HD televisions made today have 1040 lines of resolutions, which is why the picture quality today is so much better than when we were kids.
That’s a long-winded introduction to point out that in one fell swoop, today’s smartphones were exactly what we were dreaming about all those years ago. We can communicate, entertain ourselves, do long and difficult math problems and figure out just about anything else we can dream of, right from our smartphones.
My phone is an iPhone. I recently upgraded to the iPhone 8, with 256 gigs of memory. That’s more memory than my first three computers combined. Like most people with iPhones, I find myself constantly using it for just about everything. I have apps that allow me to converse with a doctor, who in turn write me a prescription. I can then use the pharmacy app to see if that prescription is ready. I have a weather app that can alert me to bad weather while displaying a color radar map that I can zoom in to my back yard. Pretty amazing when you consider that my generation saw the first moon landing almost 50 years ago.
But my favorite app on my iPhone has to be FaceTime. This app allows me to have complete conversations with people, while looking them in the eye, from anywhere in the world. Like most families, I’m assuming, my family loves to FaceTime. My kids all live in the city and only make it home a couple of times a month, but I can FaceTime them anytime I want, regardless where either one of us is. They can show me the muffler coming off their car, ask me if something is the right ingredient for a family recipe or simply say hi.
It’s exciting to think where technology is going in the future. Things we never thought possible just a few years ago are commonplace today. My Bible app has every conceivable translation ever written, ready for me to access at a couple of taps of the finger. My ‘doctor’ app already has the ability to plug in a digital thermometer, so my current temperature is readily available. Can home colonoscopies be far behind?
JONATHAN FREEBURG, of Ottawa, is an attorney, works for Lloyd’s of London and can be heard on WCMY-AM 1430 radio. He also blogs for Major League Baseball on MLB.com. He can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.