The 20th Century Book of the Dead

What technologies or professions are on their way to near extinction?

Audio and video tape
film cameras
carbon paper
mimeographs – actually much of the printing industry
railroad engineers
assembly line workers

I was under the impression that typewriters already were more or less extinct. When was the last time you saw someone using a typewriter?

Library? Unless you think that authors will offer their work on the Internet free of charge, uh-uh. And even if they do, some people will always want print books, and therein lies the market niche.

Librarian-See above. As long as there are stupid people or those unfamiliar with libraries, we will most certainly need librarians.

Assembly line workers? In one sense, I hope so-that would mean that everyone with a job is doing important work. On the other hand, that means that it’s that much harder for someone with very little education to get a job.
Myself, I hope the office of Klansmember becomes extinct. (I’d add other bigotry as well, but I have absolutely no idea how to put it. Could someone else, please?)

Why should pilots be on their way to extinction? You think that plane is going to fly itself? :confused:

Maybe in the U.S…but I think they’ll still be around in Japan for awhile. Or China, which, as I remember, was still building steam locomotives for domestic use until 1980.

Gotta disagree on the printing industry – I think books will be with us for a while, and certain kinds of periodicals as well. For instance, we’ve got a ways to go before the paper and pencil puzzle magazine hits the dust (I hope).

As recently as 1992 I met someone who earned a living as a typewriter repair man, which surprised me. But it’s certainly not a profession with much of a future.

Technologies or professions on the way out would have to include

  • polaroid photography and all the manufacturing, retail and distribution jobs that were associated with it

  • all the ‘extras’ or ‘background’ work that actors used to do before the special FX guys figured out how to do the big crowd scenes using CGI

  • fax machines might not be around all that much longer

  • big, chunky TV-style monitors, having been superceded by flat-screen technology

  • in the long run I think file sharing really will lead to a radical re-structuring of the popular music industry, and the shakeout could lead to lots of redundancies

  • rap music will die out soon

Okay, the last one is just opinionated wishful thinking.

I’d say fax machines, but I know too many people who still print out a document, fax it to somebody in the other building (right next door, and on the same computer network), and the recipient scans in the fax. And I work in one of the high-tech meccas of the entire world. And our organization’s standard-issue fax machine costs around $2,500. Old habits die very hard sometimes.

We also have many, many people in the organization who spend hours typing out address labels on an IBM Selectric, because that’s much easier for them than to figure out how to use label templates and mail merges in Microsoft Word. If I had stock in typewriters, I wouldn’t dump it just yet.

Holy Cow! I work for a company which is nine years old, and it has NEVER owned a type writer. And we do tons and tons of mailings. Masonite, anyone on the outside looking at your company would (unfortunately) see all those people as excess overhead, so you’d better hope your company never gets bought out.

To embellish the list:
Record Industry Executive (Yippee!)
COBOL programmer
Disc Jockey
Gas station attendant (except in Oregon)
Travel Agent

Typewriters are used at my workplace, as well. Our district is dedicated to using old-fashioned purchase orders that have to be typed out. I agree that typewriters are just about extinct though. I own one of the few machines that still works and has a decent ribbon. I loan it to no one, no matter how much they beg. When that ribbon goes I’m going to have to toss the machine because there are no more ribbons to be had.

Librarians are rare in many schools, replaced by library clerks. You can pay clerks less and since the libraries have hardly any books nobody comes in to look for anything. Same idea goes for school nurses, our health clerk serves five different schools.

What about milkmen/women? I know a few places still have them, but the last milkman I knew was out of a job nearly thirty years ago. Personally, I’d love to see delivery make a come back. I’d pay a bit extra for fresh dairy products right on the doorstep.

Small engine/motor repairmen in my city have all branched out into other things. Too many people toss instead of repair anymore.

From what I’ve learned in the Records Management course I’m taking, film, libraries, and librarians aren’t going away anytime in the near future. Film (as in microfilm) is still the recordkeeping industry standard, because it can’t be tampered with as easily as electronic records. If the librarians adapt to the records management industry for corporations (and I believe they will), they’ll be invaluable.

One field that may disappear is acting. If you can replace real live humans with computer generated images that do everything a human can do, and expects millions of dollars for it, I wonder what will happen to their industry then.

Why Disc Jockey?

If you could envisage a giant pile of vinyl and CD’s that is the history of recorded music, then wouldn’t you say that “pile” is getting larger every day? Seems to me that the future will need disc jockeys more than ever before…

Film and film cameras are hardly dead yet. There are only so many people who own or have easy access to computers in the world. After that there are still people who prefer the look and feel of photographs taken with film versus digitally. And there’s still a ways to go yet when it comes to the motion picture industry.

Sorry it took so long to respond, bookbuster. I should have said local disc jockeys. This answer was because of live local DJs being replaced with pre-programmed corporate rock. I agree that the “pile” is getting larger every day, but you’d certainly never know it by listening to the radio.

Ever heard Mike Keneally on the radio? Post-1990 King Crimson? Two examples of talents who have nearly cult-level fan bases and near-zero airplay.

About five years ago, my oldest son saw a typewriter for the very first time. He immediately called it a “paper computer”.

Typewriter maintenance used to be part of my job description, and I’m only 33. Until they can find a replacement for NCR forms that will work with an inkjet or laser printer, some people are going to prefer to hold onto their typewriters. :smiley: