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Communication In the Millenium: 2000 and Beyond
The Year 2000. The Millenium. With these phrases come the thoughts of the future and futuristic living. Although the lifestyle of the Jetsons, with moon shot apartment complexes and flying cars, is more science fiction and entertainment than science fact, how many of their fantasy inventions might someday be a fact?
With the new century less than 3 months away, the year 2000 quickly brings to mind the inventions we once thought of as children watching movies about the future. Flying cars, colonies on the moon, and meals in a pill once floating through our minds. Although it may seem that many of these things are still decades away, and maybe for the better, we should look at how far things have already come, especially in the way that we talk and communicate with each other.
How many times have we heard about the good old days when things were so much simpler? When the only communication possible was telegrams, telephone calls, and writing letters. All of those mentioned ways of communication hasnt become totally obsolete yet, but with all the current technologies, such as the Internet, email, and video-conferencing, it would make most people back in the good old days stare wide-eyed and shake their heads in disbelief. How would one even begin to explain modems and servers and chat rooms to someone who had just bought a touch-tone phone? Yet, it was back in those good old days when things that we today consider necessities would have then been considered impossible.

So, what about communication technologies of tomorrow? Will they have us shaking our head and staring wide-eyed as our parents and grandparents did so many years ago at the mere hint of an idea of communication beyond the telephone? Can we even begin to comprehend the way communication will change the world; the way it is changing the world as we speak? Or will we just accept it as we go, marveling at the new innovations and technologies briefly, as if something new isnt new enough for us.
One thing when mentioning communication in the millenium is how exactly will things change? Will all of us need to be Internet-literate? According to Paul Taylor, the next millenium will be defined by having access to computational resources for the communication purposes. We as a society are already so dependent on these resources that they are becoming more and more mainstream everyday. Everyone from the smallest child to the oldest adult know about logging on to explore a new world where news, ideas, and people are available at the touch of a key or the click of a mouse.
There was a time when hardly anyone knew what the internet was. It was an enigma; something whispered about and speculated upon. And even fewer people had access to it. Now, one would be considered being in the good old days, the dark ages technologically, if they dont know how to Yahoo! or if they havent yet learned the concept of snail mail vs. e-mail. Children are being introduced to the internet at very young ages during computer classes in elementary schools and are calling upon the vast amount of information stored for homework. Commercials adorn TV sets urging people to sign up for their Internet services because more people use it. It is plain to see that times have changed drastically from ten years ago to even ten months ago. Today it is easy to see how dependent people are on computers and how they have become a way of communication for almost everyone.

But as we head into the new millenium, there is so much emphasis being placed on computer technology as a whole. Our society embraces things and ideas and technologies that are more convenient, more efficient, and faster than conventional, ordinary ideas. Computers have become the tools that are used more than any other on a day to day basis. It is very difficult to imagine trying to function at home and at work without a computer and a fax machine. It is even more impossible to fathom a world where e-mail doesnt exist. Computers as a means of communication are single-handedly changing the faces of communications, as we know it.

Still, are their drawbacks to this efficient communication device? Although the internet is more a way of life than a fad or toy, will it really define communications for years to come? It may be, in the long run, the cheapest overall deal for communicating; yet something is always lost with typed text instead of spoken words. Is that really going to matter to us though? Will the need for faster communication depersonalize all of us into nothing more than screen names and fancy text? One can hope not, but it is already happening all over the world as we speak. And will most likely continue to happen until the next technological advance occurs.

Will we see that advance within our lifetimes? And what could possibly end up being more faster, cheaper, and widespread than the internet? It stretches the mind to the farthest limits of imagination even trying to conjure up an image of communications without the internet, but how long ago was it when our parents and grandparents could not even imagine an image of communications beyond the telephone?

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