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You know, definitely keep your computer around for now (unless you're dying for an excuse to throw it out and buy a new one, I guess) but do get used to the idea that it may not be that helpful in your day-to-day for much longer. "It's the post-search era," Delamarter explains, noting that Siri's current default after a failed command is already an old-school internet search. "There will always be a web, it'll just be sort of where the garbage is, and where you go when you have no other ideas. It'll be like duct tape — when you don't know what else to do, you use that." In other words, devices (maybe a "digital concierge," not necessarily something we consider a phone, Delamarter noted), will be better than ever at understanding what you want, and simply doing it.
Weston concurs, "We'll have more sophisticated users. It may take 15 years, but if you don't know code, or if you don't understand how some of the things work under the hood, you could be illiterate in a way. You don't necessarily have to understand how to fix an engine or change a car tire, but people still learn about the basics."
And with this comes the logical (if optimistic) proposition that the job market will, in a way, adjust accordingly. You didn't think I wouldn't ask about the supposed death of media (and media jobs), did you? "People that can write and think and interpret will still be valuable," Weston said, "but they'll be paid differently. As brands move to developing more individualized, personalized experiences, they'll assume some of that workforce." Essentially, functions that used to be the territory of marketing and PR are likely to expand into something of an editorial, social hybrid as companies direct more resources toward user experience.
As for actual, traditional publications, the jury's still out, but when it comes to true tech nerds, well, the possibilities are as boundless as you might guess. "The internet is really hard, and the people who are good at it all want to work at Facebook and Instagram," said Weston, "but the opportunities and the big challenges are actually at the businesses that will die soon if they don't get to those people." So we did, eventually, come to a few big-picture conclusions here, and can all check back in after a decade to see if an "I told you so" is in order. In the meantime, now seems like as good a time as any to brush up on my HTML.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.