Tag Archives: video phones

No Flying Cars or Personal Servant Robots, But We Have Skype


Skype call

Talking and seeing loved ones in Norwich, England--Juju, Amanda and Lizzie on Skype. Matt was cooking.

It’s interesting to look back on the 20th Century and see what people imagined our lives would be like now.

So much of what was imagined didn’t come true. Robots are indeed a major force in our lives, but not because they perform household chores (although there are robot vacuum cleaners) but because they build our cars.

Which, usually, don’t fly.

The evolution of the computer was different than what as imagined before the 1970s—the coming importance of computers was foretold, but usually they were growing bigger and bigger and smarter and smarter, not smaller and smaller and smarter and smarter.

Skype image

Another Skype view. Amanda watches the silly sisters, and so do Grandma and Grandpa.

And, then there were video phones. They have come to pass, not as imagined. If you see a cutie in a bar, you can send an image of her to your friends instantly through your cell—not that I have ever done that, but it’s theoretically what could happen. We didn’t imagine the problem of teen “sexting.”

Video phones, when they were foretold, were imagined like household phones of the time. Yet, today, with a daughter in Norwich, England, we most often converse with her while we see her, via Skype.

What a subtle, but important, change. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a room with Lizzie, but she knows me and has come to call me “Grandpa Joey.”

I remember the first time we used Skype it was the semester Jon was studying in Spain. We had an odd headphone thing that we plugged into our computer and used it to talk via the internet.

Now we have webcams and video. The 21st Century video phone call has arrived, not exactly as imagined, but as an important laptop addition.

Still, it will be nice in 6 weeks to see Amanda, Matt, Elizabeth and Juliet in person. Video phone calls are good, but they aren’t quite the same as being there.

Kermit slipper

Those in the 20th Century could not have imagined how 21st Century man warms his feet.

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