Today Snapchat updated its chat feature to blend text, audio & video note, MMS and now audio and video calling all into one chat application. Basically, almost anyway a human can communicate is in this update.
Why the fuck am I talking about Snapchat?
Great Question. I will answer it in a bit.
During the 80’s & 90’s there were things that we all saw in EVERY Sci-Fi/Space Fantasy film or TV show out there. (A lot of kids aren’t going to have this kind of wonder like those of us that grew up during those decades had) We always wanted to see these things in the future:
- Flatscreen/In-wall TVs
- Video Phones
- Home Computers (That you can talk to)
- “Star Trek” Communicators
- Star Trek:TNG Data Pads/Star Trek Tricorders
- Space Travel/Exploration
- Flying Cars
- laser guns/phasers
Now we HAVE a lot of these. We have flatscreen TVs on the wall, we have home automation (or “The Internet of Things”) that can react to voice command, we have home computers that you can talk to (If you have Windows 10, or some software), we have robots everywhere (roombas, drones, autonomous lawnmowers and all kinds of stuff in Japan), and we have A.I. all over the place (Google Now, Cortana, Amazon Echo/Alexa and even Siri) that can perform various tasks for us.
The first flip phone ever created was modeled after the “Star Trek” communicator by Motorola and it was called the StarTAC . We have the datapads the we saw in multiple sci-fi flicks but mainly accredit “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, we call them tablets. Our tablets and our phones can do a lot of the crap kind of like tricorders and they have A.I. in them as well. Hell, the Google Nexus line is even an homage to “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” (or “Bladerunner”, depending how you want to look at it) with the Nexus 5, 6, 7 and so on. Plus, any of our TV’s, Computers, or mobile devices can become the most awesome thing that ever was in the sci-fi world: The Video Phone!
Which brings me to why I mentioned Snapchat. I now have 2 or 3 apps on my device that allows me to make a video call to anyone and I know that my friends have at least one of these same apps because they are on my contacts list in the same app. So, what after 10 – 20 years of waiting and wishing, why are we not using this technology that we thought would be so fucking awesome? Why are we not video calling each other like crazy?
The answer: We are fucking lazy.
It’s more convenient to text our friends than to take the time to call them, much less VIDEO CALL them. Now, granted with apps like WhatsApp and Telegram you can chat with all of your friends at once and send pictures, voice clips, video clips (I think?), .GIFs and stickers, but it’s still just text. I did the same thing in the 90’s with AOL. Now I am just doing it with a computer in my pocket. Which, yeah is kind of cool, and definitely faster than 56k; however it’s still somewhat antiquated and not the future that we all dreamed of when we were kids watching Buck Rogers, Knight Rider, and , hell, even Spaceballs!
Maybe it’s just me and my group of friends. Maybe you and your group of friends video chat the shit out of each other, but I am willing to bet that you just text, group MMS, use a message app, or something other than video call. I could be wrong.
However, I can just remember my grandmother would start her day out by making coffee and cooking breakfast. Then once everyone was fed and out of her hair she would sit down with the phone and go through her phone book. She would call people that she hadn’t spoken to in awhile and she would do this for a few hours every day. She made the time for people that she cared about daily. Now, for the sake of transparency, my grandmother was bipolar and unmedicated. She could have been calling people just to bug the shit out of them; however I remember that those calls seemed awfully long and were usually pleasant, but who has that kind of time now days?
I guess what I am getting at is that we have all of this dreamed of technology and it’s like we don’t use it. It’s like it’s finally here and we are just like “Oh, ok…that’s nice.” and we are not as psyched like we were just 10-20 years ago.
The future is now, and we are just not that fucking excited about it.