Merritt: Technology of the near future making me feel old

I’ve never felt old — until now.

As technology advances at a frenzied pace, I’m painfully aware of how far behind I am — a fact about which my children often remind me.


God got me. I chided my mother for never buying a microwave or refusing to turn on the air conditioner in her house. Nor could I believe that my husband’s grandmother wouldn’t use a phone.

Of course, I consider myself a bit savvier. After all, I have a smartphone that I use — mostly for texting very slowly, emailing, and taking photos with a heavy finger that yields multiple pictures.

My Kindle e-reader is in use when I can’t get a book club selection from the library; the voice-activated device named “Alexa” (dare I say it out loud) could provide me with to-do lists, weather, and traffic information, none of which I use. She (ahem, it) does entertain me with a constant flow of my favorite music and I often ask questions that receive an immediate response.

So, to use a more modern jargon to hide my antiquity, I was “blown away” by the article, “What’s Next,” published recently in the AARP Bulletin about what life will be like 10 years from now.

Among the projections are beds that will adjust automatically to our personal needs, such as lighting, temperature, and sleep habits; kitchen appliances will measure calories and provide cooks with step-by- step recipe instructions, and robots will do inside and outside chores.

On the health side, clothes will help heal. For example, predictions indicate that a shirt will be capable of providing CPR, shoe sensors will track our vitals and send the data to us or a caregiver, and a suit will develop our overall strength and functioning, enabling us to improve our posture, stand, or walk. (Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, take note.)

Future transportation includes electric bikes with regenerative technology that charges while being ridden. In addition, electric powered planes will not only improve the environment, but will allow passengers to fly shorter routes at an affordable cost; and traveling by train in a tube at 100 or 200 miles an hour will get us where we want to go when we’re in a big hurry.

There’s more. Forecasts regarding privacy include new regulations which will guard how our social media data is extracted and used. A new subscription-based social media — for members only — will ensure data protection and privacy.

Also, eye scans will use our retinas to identify and access our personal information; passwords will no longer be in use due to another new technology; and — because of even more technological advances — we will be increasingly monitored.

(Note: Recently, I was having a conversation on my landline phone [yes, I still have one] when I heard my voice — coming from Alexa — repeat the previous statement I had made. The device had not been turned on, nor did I accidentally say “Alexa” which would have activated it. I have no idea how and why my voice was recorded.)

Lastly, projections indicate we will handle money differently. The future will allow us to pay bills with our face because computers will recognize and validate us by our voices and capillaries; cars will be embedded with more technology allowing a vehicle to act as a credit card; and our tax information will be stored in the “cloud” of our computers, enabling us to simply touch the screen to file a tax return.

There’s more among those projections for the future but I’m going to focus on the now.

It’s time for me to stay current and take advantage of all the technology I have never used and never wished I could.

Still, as stated in the old idiom, “What you’ve never had, you never miss.”