voip is my friend. that's voice-over-internet-protocol for those not into techy-nomenclature. thanks to it, i can talk to friends 8000 miles away gratis. i just paid my monthly car loan payment to my lender in colorado... withdrawing from my bank in new york, all from the comfort of my office in taipei. i use satellite imagery to analyze terrain evolution, as well as to see whether or not it's going to rain tomorrow. i visually record my travels using a 6 million pixel charge-coupled-device sensor (digi-camera) and upload them to a globally accessible data repository called, "the net". where sci-fi used to be considered surreal, it has become sci-real. human ingenuity has long been influenced by dreamers... why "necessity is the mother of invention" is still considered to be a reasonable truth, i can't say. do i "need" to be able to listen to any one of 15000 songs whenever i feel like it? probably not, but i love my ipod just the same... it's a damn cool little widget. do i "need" to have the ability to play video games on my phone while i wait in an airport? nope, but it makes the time go faster... the same goes for being able to wave my wallet over a sensor at the subway station and automatically have the fare deducted from my RFID encoded rail-pass, or being able to locate myself anywhere on the planet's surface to within roughly 10 feet with respect to a geocentric reference frame.
i may not really require any of these things, and i wouldn't necessarily say they make life easier... if anything they greatly increase the volume of information and level of detail one needs to familiarize themselves with (phones used to just have a single crank-wheel), but they do make dealing with this volume and complexity inherent in this era do-able... and those who excel at data-surfing or toggle-jockeying are the ones who are thinking about how convenient it would be if only their food-blender at home had a built-in computer processor and real-time satellite link-up.
... do our cars still run on hydrocarbons?