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How The Internet Has Turned Fictional Tech Into Real-life Solutions

The Internet has come a long way since 1995. There was a time when we marveled at the ability to send electronic mail or find facts within seconds (or maybe closer to a minute depending on your connection at the time). Now, we take those simple pleasures for granted. E-mail and quick searches are the least the Internet can do for us.

Take a look at how has evolved over the last 25 years:

We perhaps take for granted now what we once considered major breakthroughs because the Internet has granted us the ability to do such more. Things that were unimaginable just two decades ago—except maybe on television. Thanks to the Internet, technological advances once deemed fictional—communicating via wristwatch, computer-enabled vehicles and voice-activated devices—are now very much part of our reality.

Control Devices With Our Voices

Television and movies once made it seem that voice control was reserved for wealthy tech geniuses like Tony Stark (Iron Man). Today you can purchase a smart speaker for a reasonable price. Once you connect your smart speaker to the Internet, you can turn it into your own J.A.R.V.I.S. and ask it to set timers, play music, read the latest news and more. You can also connect your speaker to any smart devices you have in your home and use voice commands to turn lights on or off, adjust your thermostat or lock your doors.

Read more: How Voice Assistant Technology Is Changing Our Lives

Communicate With Others Through Our Wristwatches

Staying in touch via a wristwatch may sound like something out of a Dick Tracy comic strip or the old Get Smart TV show, but it’s a viable option today. While those characters used their watches primarily to communicate, the Internet allows you to use your smart watch for so much more.

Many of these devices can alert you when you have an incoming call or text message as well as check your email when it’s linked to your smartphone. The smart watch allows you to check messages discreetly without looking at your mobile device. It also decreases the chances of you missing a call because you didn’t hear your phone. A handful of smart watches also let you make and receive phone calls as opposed to just alerting you that a call is coming.

Turn Your Vehicle Into The “Batmobile”

Was there anything the Batmobile could not do? Throughout the years, various iterations of the Caped Crusader’s ride included hands free phones, computer platforms, GPS, self-driving capabilities and remote locks. It’s funny to think that a billionaire crime fighter’s primary mode of transportation contained a lot of technology that comes standard in a lot of today’s newer vehicles. The Internet has transformed many vehicles into much more than something to get us from Point A to Point B in recent years.

Additionally, the ‘Net plays a key role in self-driving vehicles’ capabilities, as well as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, which will let cars “talk” to one another about other cars’ speed and position to help prevent accidents and decrease traffic congestion.

Put Mini Computers Into Our Hands

The idea of mobile phones was revolutionary—and that was just when it was meant for talking and eventually texting. Everything changed the moment cell phones could access the Internet. Suddenly, just like James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997!), we can use our smart phone to send certain commands to our car. We might not be able to drop tire-popping spikes or send rope cutters from the car’s emblem like Agent 007, but the Internet lets us use our phones to lock and unlock our car doors, locate our vehicle and in some instances start the engine.

Internet-enabled phones have helped lighten our wallets, too. Platforms like Google Pay and Apple Pay let us purchase items from merchants at more and more locations, limiting the need to carry cash or credit cards around. We can also load various membership and gift cards on to our phones through retailers’ and companies’ apps so they can simply be scanned.

For example, the GEICO Mobile App stores your policy ID card for easy access if and when you need it. No reason to go digging through your glove compartment! You can also pay your bill or request roadside assistance and more from the palm of your hand.

See why the GEICO mobile app is the best in the business. 

By Joe Dyton

GEICO Mobile - #1 rated insurance app

    Leave a comment

  1. Paula says,

    Hmm. My first computer was a QuadraTek 2000? 3000? back in the 1970’s. It used wedged shaped glass pieces for font selection. Four wedges fit in a round holder in the computer. I could plan as many as four fonts at one time. Wow! As I typed, I had to insert a code at the beginning where a certain font started and a code at the end where that font stopped and another code that picked up the font info on another wedge. Of course if really neat effects (i.e., italics, bold, underline) were needed that meant inserting another code at the start and stop of each effect within the code for the font wedge. All the coding as well as the text showed on the monitor. The scrambliness of it all took some getting use to. There was no auto check of any kind. So, proofing the work was a special skill to check the spelling and and the coding accuracy. Computer graphics were unheard of. That meant back to the old fashioned method of cutting sections or lines of the newly printed copy and pasting them around the artists drawings. And, oh the horrors, of having it all in place and finding a typo or that a code was wrong or omitted and the font style was totally thrown off plan. Now those were the days. Computers have come a long way. Oh yeah, it was a big deal when colored fonts came along. But, that meant another glass wedge of a font in, say, all red. Fiddlely work just to have a word or phrase stand out in another color.

  2. Art Watts says,

    I to bought a TRS-80 the month before the color computer came out.

    I remember picking up the trash cans in the Corp of Engineers building (to dump then) and the place was empty until I walked into the building computer room and was amazed to see people busily working and a printer printed about 20 feet of the Missouri river bottom chart.

    I picked out of the trash can a stack of 80 column punched cards with Fortran typed across the top. I eventually became a programmer and finally understood what it meant. That was 1965. No internet then, so much has changed since then.

  3. Jessy says,

    I hear the younger gen say Facebook is for old people. I think we will soon live in a post FB world, like the post AOL 2.0 world of today. I wonder if it still exists? I remember updating to a newer version every few months and how exciting it was to see what the new upgrades were going to be. I also recall the first hand me down computer my family ever possessed. We had a very small black and white box and after a few months it started smoking out the back of it, so my mom went and bought a Compaq, a few years later a Gateway.

    • Henri says,

      1st computer TSR-80. It had WordStar as the one of the programs and games for the kinds, i.e., tennis and PacMan. My, how far we have come. My grandson does not move without his Kindle. He has had one since the age of three, he’s six now. He’s always showing me something new or how to blow up something on his Kindle. With all of this technology for communicating with each, you would think that the divorce rate would be lower and life would be better in our families-NOT. However, the technology we have with phones is nice for keeping in touch and all the information we have at our finger tips.

      What’s in the future? I’m sure in a few years what we have now will be obsolete and outdated.

      • Mathieu Yuill says,

        This makes me so happy – my first computer was also a TSR-80!

        10 print “Hello!”
        20 goto 10
        30 Run


  4. David K. Yamamoto says,

    Hey Gang, remember the “Web TV”? Well, I had bought one for $99, hooked it up to the TV, and boy! I loved it! A page to turn gave me time to go cook a meal or take a shower even.

    No, I’m just kidding from today’s perspective. I really liked my Web TV. It was so high tech and just cool to have had one.

  5. Michelle says,

    The only thing about early computers that bothers me is that I’m too young to have bought stock to be a billionaire today. I was born 20 years after computers were invented. If you people didn’t buy Microsoft in the 70’s maybe you didn’t understand computers.

  6. Dave says,

    I remember i got my first computer when i turned 16. It was a pentium 200mhz and i thought it was the greatest thing in the world lol. AOL: enough said, who remembers that annoying buzzing sounds as you connected to the internet. Good memories, and now the days of desktop computers are almost obsolete, i either use my smartphone or my ipad to get the job done!!!

    • Stewart says,

      Okay. I have to admit that I do remember that buzzing sound as you were trying to connect to the internet, but my parents were smart back then and told us to enjoy time AWAY from all the technology that seems to be everywhere now. I don’t exactly agree that technology is the complete answer for everything in this world. I mean, just look at nature, it doesn’t need Netflix, Facebook, YouTube, or other man made gadgets to work or operate. I do agree about medical technology and technology as TOOLS ONLY and nothing more than this. At my work people hardly talk to each other in conversation anymore, but they would rather be anti-social and keep staring at their iPhone screens and be silent. I don’t have a Facebook account, and I have tried online dating, but am sick of not being able to actually be there with that person and pick-up on the subtle non-verbal gestures they do. All in all, I think there are very few positive benefits with all this “technology” we have now. Medical, search and recue, military, some commercial, and law-enforcement have benefited from technology greatly, but if you were to sum up the benefits and the downsides of technology, then you would see averaging occur proven by statistics and probability. YOU CAN NEVER GET SOMETHING FOR NOTHING, because in the end, everything catches up with you and will probably demand interest payments for it as well.

  7. David Stephens says,

    My first computer was a CTX ordered from a national mailorder company in 1998.Did pretty good for its day.Man,was that thing bulky and heavy to pick up.I now have a HP desktop computer that is light enough to pick up and carry around if necessary.The internet has changes a lot.I now have Microsoft Windows 8 which is quite different but I like it.Any computer can be frustrating when things go wrong but I still want one in my house.The good outweighs the bad when it comes to a computer.

  8. Jeff says,

    Haha, yeah I hadn’t thought of the old days of internet in a long time as well! Got a good laugh out of the posts though 😉
    And another story from the 90’s comes to mind: Sitting in internet/coffee bars playing games with friends, paying by the hour for a desktop booth lol. Ahhhh the good old days!

  9. Leah says,

    My first computer was back in the late 80s. It was an Acer 8088 with no hard drive and a monochrome monitor (yellow on black). Prodigy took me online, but not often because I couldn’t afford the long distance bills. Primarily, I used the computer to play an old rouge type games called, “Omega” and “Nethack” and to learn programming in Basica. With Basica and a freeware speech synthesizing program, I “taught” my computer to say, “Hey, baby. You want to boogie?” at every boot. It wasn’t all playtime though. Back then I was a newspaper reporter, for a small hometown daily. I used the word processor to write and a modem to send stories into the office from home. When I could finally afford to install my first hard drive, the salesperson said to me: “A gig was all you’ll ever need.” Yup, fun memories. 🙂

  10. Deb says,

    Working as a Dr.’s office manager, circa 1984, on a…….modem sound please…..Radio Shack Tandy Computer (Internet connection not included).

  11. ani says,

    Wow… hadn’t thought of the old ‘world wide web’ days in a long time, fun seeing those references to AOL, dial-up, chat rooms, DOS etc… those *were* the days my friends! I remember my first computer, a gigantic Compaq with black n white tube monitor. I only knew of one other person in my neighborhood who had a computer, we became fast friends as we plodded our way through learning enough code to get to where we wanted to go…and there weren’t many places back then! When I moved on to fancy IBM a few years later, when MS Windows came on the scene, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven – so did my husband – as I didn’t come out of the office for hours n hours on end! LOL! I got over that right quick though because it was still quite pricey to be on the internet. The first purchase I ever attempted to make online in 1995 happened to be from a scam site in Russia who promptly stole my credit card info and started buying electronics from Asian countries! I found this out a few days later when the FBI called to inquire if I was aware of this activity. I suppose they were hoping to nab someone in the US who was helping the Russian criminals. Needless to say it was a very long while after that before I would be bold enough to use my credit card online again. Thanks for the memories everyone, now I need to get back to my *studies* on the WWW! 🙂

    • Samuel says,

      Ani, I’m there with you! My first PC was an AST 486 DX2 66 Mhz. The first website I saw was in 1997, after spending a few years on the local BBSes. Awesome memories!

      • Ricky Jordan says,

        Wow, 1997 to me sounds like fairly recent history. 18 YEARS HAVE GONE BY SINCE THEN MAN! I just have a difficult time grasping that I’m now almost 62 years of age. Young ones beware, it’s gone before you know it! When I think about my memories of the first color television and twisting those knobs on the rickety old televisions trying to get the dial to hang just right so the channel would come in, I realize how really old I have gotten. Thank God, my age has taught me to worry about significant things and let the rest ride on past. It’s a better state of mind I think. Don’t worry, be happy…my how long ago was that?

      • Derek says,

        Then: Playing Legend of the Red Dragon on those BBS’s
        Now: Skyrim with unlimited mods, never the same game twice!

        Then: Your telephone line throttled your Internet connection
        Now: Your telephone company throttles your internet connection.

        (Hopefully the recently passed Title II regulation will change this)

      • Mark says,

        Samuel, I remember when I upgraded to an IBM 486 DX2 66. Wow! 🙂 My first computer was a 286 back in, what was it, 1992?

        I enjoyed reading this post.