Doug Aamoth, Time’s Technology Editor wrote a brilliant piece on which gadget he thinks is the only gadget you will need in case the world ends tomorrow. So, what is it?
What’s going to happen?
Either nothing, or something where a lot of people die but there are some survivors left to repopulate civilization, or our souls all collectively shift into the next level of consciousness. We’re rooting for nothing or the soul thing. The second thing is the most work, by far, if you happen to survive it.
Assuming nothing doesn’t happen – either the second or the third thing happens, that is – let’s move on.
Will the Internet work?
Will my cell phone work?
Will faxing work?
Probably, because nothing’s been able to kill the fax machine. It’s like the cockroach of the tech industry.
Will I need any gadgets?
The only gadget I’d take is the WikiReader, which bills itself as “the Internet without the Internet.” No idea if it’s still in active development but it’s basically all of Wikipedia in a portable device with a low-power screen.
Take batteries, too. You’ll need AAA batteries. It’s supposed to last up to a year, so take two AAA batteries for every year you expect to be around (and maybe some extras just in case).
How am I supposed to get one of these before tomorrow?
I didn’t think about that. You could order it from Amazon, choose overnight shipping, and hope the FedEx person shows up before everything goes down.
You could also download all of Wikipedia yourself and copy it to a different portable device you have. Remember batteries!
People are going to need to know how to do stuff. You’ll be revered as a teacher, a scientist, a news anchor and an HGTV host all at the same time. Until the printing press, radio, TV and the Internet get re-invented, you’ll have plenty of downtime, too, so it’d be nice to have some reading materials while you’re waiting.
What if nothing happens and I’m stuck with this $17.89 device?
Consider that when time travel is perfected, this would be the perfect gadget to bring with you to just about any point in time. Make bets with people. Lots and lots of bets. Don’t forget batteries.