Our tools going the way of the slide rule

My grandfather achieved many great things in his lifetime and I’m really proud to come from his lineage. I have many great memories of him and one perplexing one.

When I was accepted into Engineering at Uni, he proudly presented me with his trusty slide-rule and stated that I’d be needing it in my course. Of course I thanked him but I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that I didn’t take the time to learn how to use it.

It got me thinking though, what are the tools that the greatest minds of our generation will hand down to their grandchildren with equally perplexing results?

I can fairly confidently predict that the concept of OSS will be meaningless. Personal computers / laptops / tablets will be antique curiosities by then too. Will fixed-line networks exist (even the almost limitless capacity optical fibre networks)? Programming will be vastly different… if software / apps are even still relevant at all. Will today’s software-defined everything become software-defined nothing? Will any of Google, Facebook, Apple et al be the ageless GE of our generation (hundred-year innovators) or just the horse-drawn carriage companies of my grandfather’s? [Which unicorn do you predict as most likely?]

All of my current tools-of-trade will be utterly useless to my grandchildren (assuming I have any). But I can’t wait to help pave the way (in any major or minor context) to whatever tools come next to replace them. 🙂

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