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Physical media: between human nature and futurology

CD and punched card - the speed with which one technology is supplanted by another is determined by many factors

CD and punched card - the speed with which one technology is supplanted by another is determined by many factors

It’s hard to answer prediction questions concerning physical media, letting alone assigning the exact date of their expiration. We might be laughed at by the future generations. Since the total disappearance of existing technologies is a sociological matter rather than technological, it’s always safer to predict the order of changes than to give exact rates.

It sounds trivial, but implementing a new technology into the market is always up to people. Those who live in big metropolies of the developed world may have an impression that certain technology (like Blue Ray) is so common that everyone and their dog is using it.Obviously, this is not the full picture.What about billions of people living in rural areas and in other places of the world?

Secondly, the speed with which the old technology can be supplanted by the newest one depends also on how well it fits the existing infrastructure. And the level of country’s existing infrastructure depends strongly on the level of its economic development, but also on the local business, politics, culture, even climat. Various technologies can be targeted at different groups of people and sectors of market, like cell versus land line phones. An intresting phenomena is observed in some developing countries of Africa with no previous landline infrastructure – they shifted directly to developing cell phone business.

And lastly, the human factor mentioned in the title. Basically, people vary as far as adopting new technologies is concerned. Not everyone is novelty-seeking, many wait to let the market verify the real value and suitability of the newest shiny gadget. Some simply attach sentimental value to items they possess and physical access is very important to them.There will always be traditionalists, sentimental collectors and fans of vintage. And this also stimulates the producers’ creativity. The more niches in the market, the better.

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