Ahead of her time? Yes!

Wade Young

If you are a longtime resident of Montgomery and subscriber to the Montgomery Messenger, the name Marlene Kolars will be familiar to you. Marlene worked at the Montgomery Messenger for more than 15 years before passing away on October 1, 2007. 


Her columns were called “Easy Reading” and were very popular with our readers. She wrote about a variety of things from root canals to her beautiful peonies or television commercials. 

I didn’t know she could predict the future. 


In her column on September 10, 1998, she predicted that technology would overtake basic tasks like the ability to type. In this particular column, she wrote about when her grandchildren visited, they always gravitated to her computer. 


One thing she noticed was how they hunted and pecked at the keyboard instead of using the correct way to type with finger placement. She predicted this would become a serious problem for “these young children to overcome when they need to demonstrate speed and accuracy when keying in a bunch of statistics or numbers for a company they might be working for someday.”


She accurately predicted the future when she acknowledged her concern was probably moot because technology would take the place of typing.


Here’s what she wrote: “By the time these kids graduate from high school, the advances in technology will be such that all they will have to know how to do is talk into a microphone, which will automatically record their words on the screen. There will be no need to learn the keyboard then.” 


She was right. On the majority of our electronic devices and smartphones is a microphone by the on-screen keyboard. When you press it and talk, the device displays your words, so you don’t have to type them.


Bravo Marlene!


However, one thing she didn’t predict was how people would communicate on their phones by typing with their thumbs, ie texting. Millions of people do it today, so here’s my prediction: Because people hold their electronic devices for so many hours during the day and use their thumbs to text, scroll, post, Tweet, snap and comment, we will all suffer from arthritis in our thumbs and/or Carpel Tunnel Syndrome in our hands. 


I’ll check back in 20 years to see if my prediction came true!


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