30 things that might be obsolete by 2020

A pay phone.

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A pay phone.
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Flickr/fPat

  • Devices that have only one use like calculators, alarm clocks, and digital cameras are being replaced by smartphones.
  • Phone chargers and headphones with cords are also fading out in favor of wireless models.
  • Paper is going digital, from magazines to maps to regular paperwork.

Technology develops at a staggeringly quick pace in today’s world – even watching movies from a few years ago can provide opportunities to snicker at characters’ outdated cell phones.

We’re not sure what wildly innovative ideas the future will bring, but we have a pretty good sense of which devices will fall into disuse.

Here are 30 things that will probably be obsolete by 2020.


Print magazines

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Magazines.
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Shutterstock

Teen Vogue and Nylon are the latest magazines to discontinue their print editions and run exclusively online. We have a feeling more magazines will follow suit.


And newspapers

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Newspaper hats.
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Fox Photos/Getty Images

Print newspapers will likely meet the same fate as magazines.


Digital cameras

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Relax in the Alps while taking the occasional photo
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Shutterstock

Now that phone cameras can shoot pictures and video in HD (there are even iPhone photography awards), clunky digital cameras will fade out of style.


Hard drives

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Hard drives.
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Boibin/Shutterstock

Soon, everyone will keep their information in “the cloud” and there will be no need for physical storage devices.


Thumb drives

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A thumb drive.
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Geolilli/Shutterstock

Thumb drives may be a convenient way to carry data around in your pocket, but thanks to cloud computing you won’t have to carry anything at all.


Paper maps

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A map.
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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

With step-by-step directions on Google Maps, paper maps are hardly necessary anymore.


Standalone GPS devices

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A car GPS.
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Lucky Business/Shutterstock

Same goes for GPS devices. Your phone can perform all the same functions, plus text someone that you’ve arrived.


Paperwork

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Filling out paperwork.
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ERIC THAYER / REUTERS

With Google Docs and digital signatures becoming the norm, contracts, medical forms, and other documents will cease to exist in paper form.


Fax machines

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A fax machine.
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Karl Baron/Flickr

Let’s face it – fax machines should have disappeared long ago. Once paperwork goes, these dinosaurs are going, too.


CDs

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This monster lived in the trunk of your car.
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Wikimedia Commons

People rarely buy music anymore, much less in any physical form. Streaming services are the way of the future.


DVD and Blu-ray players

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A DVD player.
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Brian Senic/Shutterstock

Movie streaming services like Netflix are turning DVD and Blu-ray players into dust-collecting devices.


Getting bills in the mail

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Bills.
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fullempty/Shutterstock

Getting bills in the mail is already becoming a thing of the past with online payment methods and apps. Soon, you’ll be able to pay all of your bills through a few clicks on a computer or taps on your phone.


Calculators

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A calculator.
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Atstock Productions/Shutterstock

Most phones have a calculator built in, reducing the need for this clunky device that only does one job.


Alarm clocks

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An alarm clock.
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coyot / Pixabay

Most phones have an alarm clock, stopwatch, and timer built in, too.


Analog watches

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A watch.
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Nadya Kubik/Shutterstock

Smart watches may not be ready to overtake smartphones yet, but it’s looking like they’re going to replace analog watches.


Landlines

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A phone.
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Flickr / Daniel Oines

2016 was the first year that a majority of American homes did not have a landline, according to the Center for Disease Control, and more than 70% of all adults aged 25-34 were living in wireless-only households. Home phone numbers are on their way out.


Pay phones

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A pay phone.
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2p2play/Shutterstock

AT&T announced that it was leaving the pay phone market back in 2007. Everyone has cell phones these days anyhow.


Buttons on phones

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An iPhone 8.
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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

The iPhone X, released on November 3, 2017, was the first iPhone to ditch the home button, and some Android models have already gotten rid of them.


Reference books

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A dictionary.
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Flickr/Greeblie

With the internet at our fingertips at all times, dictionaries and encyclopedias are no longer necessary.


Checkbooks

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A checkbook.
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Billion Photos/Shutterstock

With innovations like online banking and Apple Pay, writing out checks is already a chore. The future of finances is definitely digital.


Passwords

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Apple presents its new FaceID.
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Apple

Apple debuted FaceID this year, while Microsoft’s Windows Hello facial recognition system has been in place since 2015. Forget letters, numbers, and special characters – biometric passwords will be the norm.


Remote controls

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A TV remote.
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Lolostock/Shutterstock

You won’t have to search for the remote or replace its batteries when voice commands and smartphone controls become widespread ways to operate your devices.


Headphones with cords

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Headphones.
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Megan Willett/INSIDER

From Apple’s AirPods to Bluetooth headphones, the headphone jack’s days are numbered.


Charger cables

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A phone charger.
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PIMPAN/Shutterstock

Chargers are also going wireless with charging pads entering the scene.


Parking meters

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A parking meter.
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Flickr / Steve Snodgrass

Parking meters are being turned into art since paying for parking can be done via app in most places.


Delivery workers

In 2016, the White House predicted that nearly 3.1 million drivers in the workforce could have their jobs automated. Already, Amazon’s Prime Air drone delivery service is bringing packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.


Car keys

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Keys.
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thebigland/Shutterstock

BMW already has an app that allows car owners to unlock their doors without using a key, and they announced in September that they’re considering completely replacing car keys with mobile phone apps.


Travel agencies

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A travel agent.
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Tim Boyle/Getty Images

There were 124,000 full-time travel agents in the US in 2000. In 2014, that number went down to 74,000. While a human touch definitely makes booking travel less of a headache, the convenience of the internet is narrowing the field.


Textbooks

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A pile of textbooks.
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ShutterStock

Paper textbooks are expensive and heavy, not to mention they often become obsolete after a few years when new discoveries require updated editions. According to Scholastic, higher education has already begun to pivot to e-textbooks.


Paper receipts

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A receipt.
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Flickr/Stacy Spensely

CVS receipts are so long they’ve become a meme. But even they have begun offering digital receipts. Many vendors already send receipts via email, so it won’t be long until it’s the new standard.