Saturday, 23 July 2011

Technologies' long tail to death

I was reading a futurology article today and I was surprised by the predictions of the last this and the last that. The futurists seemed to think that technologies die out very quickly when an alternative becomes available. The evidence suggests a long tail: Western Union sent its last telegram in 2006 dispite being superseded by phones; payphones are still in use despite being superseded by cell phones.

In many cases, technologies that are superceded gain cultural status by being niche and retro. The impact is that the future will look like today+ rather than a complete ground-up recreation.

Incidentally, it would be very interesting to see a graph of telegram usage over time.

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