Endangered technologies. Things that will confuse your children

    31 Jul 2021

    Modern children are easily confused by simply showing them a few things from the recent past, as a disk phone or videotape. Now it may seem ridiculous, but these are not artifacts of antiquity. Therefore, it is easy to imagine the day when goods and technologies, which are an integral part of our lives today, will turn into mysterious garbage from a dusty pantry. Or at least they will appear much less often. Let’s check some striking examples collected by Chas News.

    Plastic bags

    It is often said that plastic bags are an evil that pollutes the planet. But the fact that inventors originally called them to save the world, somehow not heard. But they appeared for such a noble purpose.

    Swedish engineer Stan Gustav Tulin invented plastic bags in 1959. Then such packaging was created from paper, the production of which required the felling of trees. Tulin thought that this was an awful decision for the environment. He wanted to create a package of light and durable material that could last a long time. That’s right: Tulin was counting on the repeated use of his creations.

    But things did not go as he had planned. Today, the average lifespan of a plastic bag, when used directly to carry food and other items, is 25 minutes. At the same time, develop every minute in the world uses about a million packages. With such indicators, it is not surprising that they have become one of the pillars of plastic pollution.

    But this era, fortunately rather than unfortunately, is coming to an end. Plastic bags are already banned in many countries. Sometimes quite harsh, such as in Kenya, where for carrying, manufacturing, or selling such goods can be imprisoned for up to 4 years or pay a fine of up to $ 40 thousand.

    It seems that the Kenyans have taken the matter too seriously, but plastic bags have created particular inconveniences in this country. Even in the capital (Nairobi), people used them to pack their own feces and then threw them out on the street. This phenomenon was called “flying toilets,” and after introducing a strict ban, they decreased.

    Although such exotic problems do not exist in all countries, the fight against plastic bags is increasingly covering the planet. Currently, a total or partial ban on these products has been imposed by 77 states.

    Cars with internal combustion engines

    Don’t get me wrong, cars with internal combustion engines will not disappear soon. As not everywhere disappeared carts drawn by horses. Currently, about 1 billion cars travel on the roads of the world, the vast majority of which run on gasoline or diesel fuel. Even if manufacturers worldwide abruptly stop selling such vehicles tomorrow, it will be many years before this equipment is entirely obsolete. But today, electric cars are gradually displacing vehicles from internal combustion engines, and in the future, they will do so more actively.

    Car companies are already laying the foundation for it to come sooner. Daimler, Volvo, General Motors, Honda, and Jaguar Land Rover promise to completely abandon the internal combustion engine and switch to electric motors by the middle of the XXI century. Other major players, such as BMW or Volkswagen, promise to increase the share of electric cars in total sales significantly.

    World governments are also moving towards electrifying personal transport. For example, the United Kingdom, France, and Norway are preparing to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines. Even China, the world’s largest carmaker, wants only electric, hybrid, or hydrogen cars to be installed in the country’s showrooms from 2035.

    If companies and governments implement their plans, electric cars will dominate the global car market. BloombergNEF analysts are convinced of this. According to their forecasts, by 2040, the share of sales of electric cars will increase to 70% (from 4% in 2020). In some countries, such as the United States, China, or the European Union, the rate may be even higher.

    This, of course, is not 100%, and already sold cars with internal combustion engines will have to get rid of for a long time. However, cars that continue to emit harmful CO₂ into the atmosphere will become increasingly rare on world roads.


    The song from the cartoon “Treasure Island” claims that Christopher Columbus discovered America and taught the world about smoking. This is not entirely correct because the tradition of smoking on the planet existed long before the voyage of the Spanish navigator. But the discoverer really contributed to the spread of the bad habit.

    Tobacco began to be grown in Europe in 1531, and by 1600 the Old World was smoking heavily. In the second half of the XIX century, machines were designed to produce 200 cigarettes per minute. Mass production has reduced the cost of the product and contributed to its spread. As a result, there are now about 1.3 billion smokers globally, even though people are well aware of the harmful effects of this habit on health.

    However, cigarettes are gradually receding into the past. More and more often on the streets, you can meet people who smoke electronic analogs or heating systems such as glo or IQOS.

    The tendency to give up cigarettes is noticed not only by passers-by but also by experts. According to analysts of the financial corporation Citigroup, by 2050, this product will disappear entirely in the United States, Australia, and some European countries. Even the tobacco companies themselves understand that cigarettes are the issue of yesterday. Moreover, they call on the governments of the world to get rid of them as soon as possible.

    A similar statement was made in late July by Jacek Olczek, CEO of Philip Morris (one of the largest cigarette manufacturers in the world). He called on the British authorities to introduce a ban on cigarettes. Like, they need to be treated in the same way as gasoline cars, and if the world gets rid of them as soon as possible, then everyone will only get better.

    It would seem that can more eloquently indicate the end of the road for this product. But there is a nuance: neither tobacco companies nor experts say that smoking will disappear with cigarettes. It will simply be replaced by the same alternative products that we already see on city streets and cafes.

    So far, statistics indicate just that. According to British American Tobacco, another major tobacco company, the global market for heating systems in 2019 was $ 15.2 billion, and in 2018 this figure was at $ 3.3 billion. So, it seems, is not far off the day when cigarettes become as strange as tobacco was to Columbus.


    “I don’t carry cash with me at all” is something you can hear more and more often from someone you know. They usually add that they are mostly paid with smartphones or smartwatches. Those who have not yet lost the remnants of conservatism use bank cards. But does this mean that cash will soon become history?

    The answer to this question may vary, depending on the country in which you put it. At the beginning of this year, the analytical company Global Web Index became interested in which payment method (cash or non-cash) is preferred by Internet users in 46 countries. It turned out that not everyone is ready to give up the good old cash.

    For example, in the Philippines, only 33% of the population likes cashless payments. In Germany, less than half of his supporters – 49%. And in some countries, desires simply do not coincide with opportunities. 61% of Spaniards prefer not to deal with paper or metal money. But since they do not always have the possibility of non-cash payment, up to 87% of fees here are made in the old way.

    European futurists have told us what their work is, why the future is like a multiverse and whether futurology can be considered a science.

     The situation is radically different in Sweden. Currently, only 9% of payments in this country are made in ordinary money. Over the past couple of years, the media has repeatedly reported that Sweden is about to become a non-cash society.

    But not all Swedes were ready for this. Older people in the country still prefer cash. And the government is not yet ready to completely abandon it. In 2019, 7 of the eight parties sitting in the local parliament voted for a law that guarantees the preservation of traditional banknotes.

    “Cash is likely to become less popular due to the high cost of its use and the growing number of alternatives. But I think she will stay with us forever, ”said Dr. Bhaskar Chakravorti, who teaches international business at Tufts University. So it’s too early to shake the stash out of the mattress and throw it on the card, but in the future, paper money is likely to become a rarer “beast” than now.

    Alarm clocks, calculators, home phones, digital cameras

    You may have already guessed why there are so many things in the last item on our list. This is due to smartphones, which have become almost a necessity in today’s world. They sent all these devices, if not to the landfill, then exactly to a distant and dusty drawer of history. Agree; in the XXI century, keeping an alarm clock or home phone is possible only because of habit or aesthetic consideration.

    The figures confirm the decline in the popularity of such devices. For example, back in 2004, about 90% of households in the United States had a working landline. Today, their number has dropped to 36%. But the regiment of mobile users has arrived. Today, more than 60% of US households rely on it alone.

    Things are not going well for digital camera manufacturers. At the beginning of the last decade, members of the CIPA association, which unites such titans of photography as Nikon, Canon, and Kodak, sold more than 120 million cameras a year. Sales have now dropped to 15 million.

    Maybe someday smartphones will share the fate of defeated rivals. Futurologists believe that technologies that can replace them are already looming on the horizon. For example, “smart” contact lenses or e-skin can play this role. And then our grandchildren or great-grandchildren will be surprised to look at the “grandfather” iPhone 12.

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