Didn't see it coming

We think we're good at anticipating new developments in the things we use everyday. More often than not, we're blinded by what we're already using:
  • When we looked on the package for the price tag, we assumed price tags we're here to stay. We did not foresee UPC scanners and RFID tags.
  • When we fiddled with the knobs on the radio, television or home movie camera, we never guessed there would be remote controls.
  • When we took film to the drug store for processing and mounted the prints of our photos in scrapbooks, we failed to anticipate digital cameras or snapshots that get viewed on computers and TV's.
  • When we looked through the viewfinder on a film or movie camera, we never expected to watch an LCD monitor of the shot before we took it.
  • When we bought longer extension cords for the wall phone and additional phones for other rooms in the house, we did not expect cordless phones and cellphones to give us unlimited mobility.
  • When we looked in the phone book or called 411 for a number, we did not look forward to going online for that.
Technology is captivating. We fixate on the things we use, rather than their functionality. We take new conveniences literally and assume there's nothing to get imaginative about. We become so spellbound by the new contrivance, we dismiss what else it could do for us, what it could evolve into or what might replace it.

This pattern of fixation applies as much to incumbent manufacturers, service providers and their rival enterprises, as the consumers in the thrall of the current technology. It's no wonder that, for most people, it's inconceivable we could do without classrooms in school and cubicles at work.

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