Ed Driscoll

Well, At Least Until the EPA Bans Electricity

We take today’s technological wonders for granted (he said, moving MP3 files back and forth between the Amazon Cloud — a sentence that would have made no sense 20 years ago), but as Adam Thierer writes at Forbes, here are “10 Things Our Kids Will Never Worry About Thanks to the Information Revolution.”

Numbers Six and Seven have fascinating social ramifications (as does everything else on the list, come to think of it):

6) Driving to a store to rent a movie.

My daughter recently found my wife’s old Blockbuster video rental card and asked why she was keeping it. My wife didn’t have a good answer, of course, because there’s no need to drive to store to rent a movie anymore with online delivery and video on demand available over so many platforms. Incidentally, just six years ago, Blockbuster, the largest video-rental chain at the time, abandoned an effort to acquire rival Hollywood Video after antitrust regulators at the Federal Trade Commission threaten to block the deal.It serves as another example of creative destruction at work and also as a cautionary tale about regulatory shortsightedness.

7) Buying / storing music, movies, or games on physical media.

Some of us dinosaurs still haul around crates of CDs and have shelves full of our favorite movies on DVDs. That’s increasingly alien to digital natives. They won’t keep much of anything on physical media in the future. Media content will all be accessed via remote storage or just streamed in real-time, as is increasingly the case today.

With Borders, Tower Records, Sam Goody’s and other “software” retailers having rapidly bit the dust, and with Best Buy apparently teetering on the edge, are we slowly moving towards an age where all purchases — at least of books, music and movies — will primarily occur online? For those of us who grew up in the Axis of Shopping Malls (Cherry Hill, Moorestown, Burlington, and Oxford Valley in my case), that has some pretty big implications for both the future of retailing and consumer leisure time.