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Ringing the cinema, taping TV shows and travel agents – all falling victim to technology

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Experts have unveiled a list of tasks, jobs and pastimes which have fallen victim to technology – including visiting the travel agents, checking a map and writing to pen friends. Researchers who carried out the study found that there are dozens of activities Brits no longer carry out due to the explosion of time-saving functions on smart devices.

The poll of 2,000 adults also found ringing the cinema to find out movie times, using public telephones and printing photographs are rare occurrences these days.

Gadgets such as smart phones and computers have also made using telephone directories, encyclopaedias, address books and dictionaries redundant.

The research, commissioned by business communications provider Daisy Group to mark its technology summit #DaisyWired2014, also found we no longer put classified adverts in shop windows or send love letters.

Kate O’Brien from the Daisy Group, said:

“Technology dominates modern life and so it comes as no surprise to learn there are a number of acts we no longer do as a result.

“Developments in computing, smartphones, televisions and other gadgets have made communicating with people easier and faster than ever before and it is now quicker to fire up the laptop to buy something rather than visit the shops, or talk to someone online rather than pick up the landline.

“Life is simply getting easier and faster, as experts are working all the time to find ways of conducting business more efficiently and saving time wherever possible. And this is just the beginning, with a huge range of jobs and activities being overtaken by technology.

“We’re seeing librarians being replaced by ‘bookbots’ in academic libraries, automated trains taking the place of train drivers, Cloud software replacing accountants and robot vacuum cleaners replacing traditional cleaners for example.”

The study also showed household chores such as hand washing clothes and hanging wet laundry outside in winter rarely happen now tumble dryers and washing machines have taken over.

Similarly, use of the telephone has changed dramatically – as gone are the days of saving up change for the pay phone, remembering phone numbers, reversing the charges, and dialling 1471.

The bank, building society and post office now get fewer footfalls than ever before, as people are paying for car tax, paying bills and checking accounts online.

Keeping a personal diary, hand-writing essays, and sending postcards also appear in the list of things Brits no longer do.

Other everyday activities and errands which have fallen by the wayside include booking tickets over the telephone, trying on shoes on the high street and buying flowers fresh from the florist.

Warming hot milk on the stove, using a pager and keeping copies of printed bank statements are also acts of the past.

Eight in 10 people admit the majority of their daily activities now rely on technology in some way, believing advancements save them up to four hours a week.

Researchers found the average household now has at least five computing devices in the house, compared to just two or three five years ago.

The study also highlights the huge popularity of pocket-sized digital devices, with 18% of us using smartphones and 12% tablets for over 16-20 hours per week.

As surfing remotely online becomes an ingrained way of life, 36% also admit that they spend over 16 hours a week carrying out everyday activities such as online banking, uploading photos onto social media sites, and listening to music.

Tom Cheesewright, author and futurologist who will be speaking at the #DaisyWired2014 event in May, said:

“Technology plays a part in every waking moment of our lives, as individuals, for businesses and in our homes, towns and cities.

“Smartphones do everything from waking us to monitoring our health; our offices are programmed with energy saving software and businesses can operate anywhere with Cloud technology.

“As those devices have become the norm in our lives, many tasks and activities have just been relegated to the past, with a surprising lack of sentimentality – simply because we demand that our gadgets keep pace with our hurried lives.

“Today our phone takes the place of our GPS, games console, remote control, iPod and TV as well as performing more traditional functions such as the egg timer, torch and spirit level.

“It’s remarkable how quickly we continue to adapt to this new environment and, while we can’t predict our future, we are undoubtedly helping to create it.”

TOP 20 ACTIVITIES OF THE PAST AND NEW ALTERNATIVES

1. Call cinema to check times; check cinema site or use app

2. VHS video recorder; Sky plus/ box sets

3. Research holiday in travel agents; Search online for holiday deals

4. Ring directory enquiries; Google phone numbers

5. Public payphones; Mobile phones

6. Ring the speaking clock; Check time on phone screen

7. Pay for tickets for events over the telephone; Buy tickets online

8. Print photos from negatives; Instagram/ Facebook and digital cameras

9. Take pics on disposable cameras; Take pics with phone/iPad

10. Listen to Sony Walkman; Music on phone or iPod

11. Carry spare change; Use debit cards

12. Pay bills at the post office; Pay bills online

13. Reverse charges in phone box; Use mobile phones

14. Put a classified advert in the shop window; eBay/ Craigslist

15. Buy TV listing magazines; use online alternative

16. Big fold-out map; Satnav or Google Maps

17. Queue to get car tax in the Post Office; Buy car tax online

18. Read a hard copy of the Yellow Pages; Use online directories

19. Fax things; Send an email attachment

20. Trawl through encyclopedias; Use Wikipedia and/or search engines