The other day I noticed that a few rare AT&T picturephones, or more properly videophones, were going to be auctioned. I had to explain to my son that once upon a time people dreamed of being able to make a phone call and actually seeing the other person. It was an amazing – and futuristic – idea. Just think, you could see the object of your call. Lots of jokes were made about seeing people in their underwear, or being afraid to answer the phone. The cost, however, was tagged at being astronomical. You would have to have a videophone unit and the person calling you would have to have one as well. They weren’t cheap.
Fast forward to today where people routinely FaceTime each other. (And in all states of undress.) We don’t need expensive videophone units – although cell phones aren’t cheap – but we don’t pay for long distance calls anymore.
We’ve absorbed a lot of the future trends we were promised almost without noticing.
Here’s an article on the videophone auction (with a cool video embedded): https://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/rare-at-t-videophones-from-the-1970s-go-up-for-auction-1832968162