Yesterday I framed a subject (games for learning) in a specific way: The difference in perceived value of something before and after it has found its way into general use. This might be thought of as the “generalized talkies” problem, since the added value of spoken dialog in movies couldn’t have been completely clear to the general public until actual talking pictures started getting made and distributed.
This pattern shows up repeatedly. Automobiles were seen as either a curiosity or an annoyance in their earliest years. An entire industry initially missed the significance of Post-It notes. And of course there’s the Web. Back in 1992 very few people could have seen the eventual transformative impact of the one-two punch of easily authored hyperlinks and the image tag.
I wonder what new technologies are emerging right now that will turn out to be the new talkies for our era.