“These two figures are not communicating with one another. The lady is receiving an amatory message, and the gentleman some racing results.”
This sounds like a modern description of two friends hanging out, right? Sitting across from each other, they say nothing, because they, of course, are scrolling through Instagram and sending Snaps.
Nope. The description is actually the caption underneath a cartoon by Lewis Baumer drawn in 1906, in which he imagined a tongue-in-cheek future. It appeared in an issue of “Punch,” a British humour and satire magazine that ran from 1841 to 2002.
The two people are fiddling with wireless telegraphs, machines invented in the late 19th century that could transmit messages to other people using radio waves … which sounds a lot like texting as we know it today.
The isolating nature of the smartphone may seem like a phenomenon unique to the 21st century, but Baumer may have predicted it over 100 years ago.
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