It’s happening already. Young people in the US – except for those from the better schools – can’t read cursive. It might as well be hieroglyphics or cuneiform so far as they are concerned. Those kids only recognise the letters they see on screen. Though it is rarely done, they can scribble in the type of lettering we did before we learned joined-up.
Where does it go from here? The only letters that will be understood will be those on the keyboard or on the screen. As speech recognition improves the keyboard will be discarded. No great loss. I try to avoid it myself and I’m a trained typist. Dragon Naturally Speaking, for all its many faults, points the way to the future. It will make open plan offices even noisier than they are now, with people shouting at their machines which stubbornly refuse to understand them.
It will take time but paper will begin to disappear too. The present need for hard copy will be seen as unnecessary and wasteful. BIC will go the way of Mabie Todd and if I’m still around I will be applauding. For a brief period there will be a few of us eccentric old fogeys still applying pen to paper. Most of us are pretty ancient already so we won’t bother the millennials long.
We are not far away from the brain interface. Infants will have a small routine operation which will enable much easier communication with whatever kind of computers and telephones are around. Communication become much more direct without the unnecessary step of transcription and reading.
Perhaps some basic knowledge of lettering will remain for a time for street names and shop signs. And tombstones.