Archive for January 27th, 2010

Every time I write “2010” on something I feel like the future has arrived.  Maybe I just don’t remember the way I felt ten years go, but I don’t remember any of the previous “new” decades* I’ve witnessed feeling like the future.  At any rate, we are now so far into the current century that the events of Back to the Future Part II are only five years away.  I rewatched Marty McFly’s adventures in the Hill Valley of 2015 over break and although we don’t have hoverboards, flying cars, or Mr. Fusions, there were a surprising number of things that will either be possible or outdated in five years (check back in five years for the final tally).

Perhaps the strangest thing about the future as depicted from the late 1980s is the lack of computers.  For example, there is talk of dust-resistant paper but nothing about e-books.  I’ve talked about e-book readers (and their competition) in the past, and I hope to see the day that textbooks are digitized.  Today, Apple unveiled what they surely hope will carry students further down that road, the iPad (no, not that iPad).  It seems somewhat pointless to criticize an Apple product (after all, the reveal was preceded by more hype than money can buy and Apple paid no money at all for it) but the hype may have worked against the iPad, resulting in a collective “a big iPod Touch?  That’s it?”  In 2015 I’ll probably look back at this post from my own iPad while my students complete the course readings and take class notes on their own iPads and laugh at how foolish I was.  For now, though, the future doesn’t seem quite as cool as I had hoped.

*Memoirs of a SLACer does not care that there was no year zero.

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