Changes in Communication, Information and Privacy

The US Postal Service is deeply in debt and there is no way to sustain it by raising rates or cutting costs. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have taken over most mail services. The major revenue of the Post Office now comes from junk mail, advertising and bills. USPS is on the way out.

Mail service and bank payments by check are dependent on each other. One cannot exist without the other. It costs billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions are rapidly leading to the demise of checks.

Printed books, newspapers and magazines are becoming vestigial. The younger generation doesn't read anything on paper. Reading is done online and digitally. Publishers have developed subscription services with Apple, Amazon and major cell phone companies. Even the blind have reading devices and seldom use Braille. Those who insist on reading paper use "on Demand" publishing services.

Telephone lines are rapidly disappearing. Already, most telephones are cell phones or they use cable services for transmission.

Radio and television are gradually moving to the internet. Digital recording devices allow people to skip over advertisements or watch their favorite films and programs on demand. Network revenues are down dramatically as more and more media is streamed over the internet.

Private ownership as we know it is fading into oblivion. Already, many people lease their cars, and since the mortgage debacle that resulted in many foreclosures, leasing property is becoming more popular. The operating systems that we paid for are actually leased, and all software and digital content is stored in the "Cloud." Music, books, news-"papers" are also increasingly stored in the Cloud to be accessed for a fee.

Along with private ownership, privacy itself is disappearing. Video cameras are located in homes, businesses, on streets and intersections. There are dash-cams for the car and truck, Go-Pros for sports and other events, and cameras are built into your computer and cell phone. People can find out anything they want about you, down to your most intimate information using search engines. A recent picture of your home along with GPS coordinates can be found on any of several computer map sites, that even show what's hidden in your back yard. Your shopping habits and preferences are documented along with your credit rating.

Ralph V. Harvey, 2015