Illustration for article titled These Basic Skills Are On The Verge Of Extinction

Every group of people has a set of skills that they think of as fundamental — but what those skills are tends to change a lot, depending on where, and especially when, you are. Here are the skills that, if they do survive in the future, may be so fundamentally changed that we can no longer even recognize them.


In response to this question on the once pivotal but now increasingly obsolete skills that we used to learn, you came up with a variety of things that are more likely to be thought of as quaint than necessary within the new few generations. Here are some of the most fascinating ones:


Take Notes!

Whether we're talking about the death of cursive, shorthand, drafting by hand, or just a change in how we keep our notes, the note-taking of the future will be radically different.


Medical transcription. Reading doctor's handwriting. Preparing paper charts.

On the bright side, the things I learned in college were thousands of years old and unlikely to change in any huge way. *looks sideways at her spinning wheel*


Skills that are already obsolete:

Drafting, model making and crisp, legible handwriting. Yes, my major was architecture.


Yep. I'm an architectural technologist. I can not BELIEVE some of the handwriting that comes back on my drawings from architects. Most of them come back as comments in PDF files, so even a manual review of drawings is becoming irrelevant.

I have been told I have amazing penmanship — I block-letter almost everything, as I was taught in school, and I can do it very quickly and legibly. I always joke that "I spent a lot of money to learn to write like that!"

Now the college I went to doesn't even teach manual drafting any more. :(

The Library Of The Future

What will the library of the future look like? One thing is for sure: Fewer card catalogues.


Library skills. I had large chunks of elementary school devoted to learning how to use a library catalog - something that digital catalogs have made entirely obsolete. Now you can not only search more responsively, you can search a library's collection from halfway around the world and oftentimes "check out" a digital copy of the book without ever setting foot in a physical library.


Ditto. I was watching Librarians the other day and trying to decide if I'd still be able to use a card catalog with any degree of competence. For me, everything was digitized by third or fourth grade.


Legal research by reading books that have notes and cross-references to other books. I'm not sure if they still teach that now, or if it's all 'click on this' in an electronic database.

Started as a Cleric and Ended up an Innkeeper

As someone that works in a library, I have to tell you that you couldn't be farther from the truth. Library's are disappearing only to reemerge in other venues and forms. It's true that reference desk and cataloging jobs are starting to disappear, yet there are many other areas that require information specialists. After all, information dissemination and organization is a trained skill. There's a reason you need a master's degree to become a librarian.

For the last couple decades, libraries have made a predominant online presence. Especially in the university setting. (All those online journals you studied in college? You can thank the library for that) There's also the question of funding. A library could be serving numerous patrons, but all the patrons in the world won't matter if a kindly governor or voter base strips the library of all its funding.

On The Road

If the self-driving car takes off, driver's education will look very different than it does right now. But how we care for the cars themselves could also be in for a revolution:


Manual driving, for sure.

Orienteering (aka using a map and compass) - The eventual ubiquity of GPS systems will make finding your way around without a computerized device a forgotten art.


I'm learning how to fly a plane. By the time I actually get a license, I expect most flights will be fully automated. We're already at a level where you can take off, navigate and land using autopilot, the humans just punch numbers in, talk to ATC, and are there in case of emergencies.

Come to think of it, driving a car might be the same way, in fifty years.

the 1969 Dodge Charger Guy

Being a mechanic. Way back when I bought a cop car at auction (god-damn that Plymouth Fury could handle). Drove it home and my brother and I set to work. Out came the 318/904 from the Charger and in went the 440/727 from the cop cruiser.

No way in hell will minions be allowed to modify personal transportation in 2065 due to the laws, regulations, just plain effing with people's lives that'll exist then. (Assuming personal transportation exists.)


Part of the problem with being able to work on more modern vehicles is that it's largely integrated with fairly complex computer hardware and requires fairly extensive skill in that as well as traditional mechanic skills. Additionally, a lot of modern vehicles are making their engines purposefully harder to work on so that less maintenance can be done at home or at third party mechanics, and instead have to be brought to brand specific mechanics to be worked on.


Image: Andrey_Kuzmin / shutterstock

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