As I'd posted this poll a week or so back, general direct-dialed telephony, a/k/a PSTN (public switched telephone networks) seem to be in trouble. I think we could be within five years of their total collapse. And no, not just land lines (already about 25% of their peak in much of the US), but _all_ direct-dialed phones: mobile and VOIP included.
The problem, as I'd written before, is paradoxically the _low_ cost of calls. This is inducing tremendous volumes of junk calls, with one ...
... though I think I've got some sense of the terrain ahead and useful lessons from the past.
@dredmorbius now for real thoughts.
I expect the phone to die a slow but sure death, first landlines and then mobile.
WRT. trends in history, my somewhat unsophisticated observation is that any piece of infrastructure technology that enters private market becomes first a battleground of morally bankrupt companies trying to become _the_ platform / _the_ provider, followed by stabilization on minimum viable set of common features; that stabilization happens when competition between morally bankrupt
companies jumps to an adjacent, fresh field where there's a lot of value to be captured. The end result seems to be that we're building our civilization on minimum viable technologies - once we have something that barely works as a foundation, it gets boring and private sector gets excited about something else.
Internet is somewhat solid because it took a long time before full-blown competition started.
(Not sure if my theory isn't invalidated by airplanes; passenger air seems a-ok
@suetanvil @dredmorbius it doesn't always improve on the proper axes, though. As a counterexample, the microwave oven we have now, or one that I bought for my previous apartment, are much worse from the one that my parents bought some 20+ years ago.
Fun fact, that 20+ years old microwave oven *still works*, as good as new. Whereas I don't expect such lifetime from any appliance bought today.
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