Last weekend there was in interesting discussion about phrases which now have a completely new meaning.

In 2019, asking someone to drop their pin is (I think) widely understood to mean sending someone your current location.

Even 5 years ago it could’ve been construed as an instruction to fumble your sewing box.

This naturally got us on to other examples of common parlance which would seem nonsensical in previous times.

To “swipe right” being synonymous with rejection, the concept of a “profile picture” and asking “how many followers” someone has.

Almost of all these are using existing words/ concepts, but applied to new technology.

As technology advances, existing words are used to explain them, but there will always a slight misalignment. As time goes on, the new application for the word may assume what the technology does, as opposed to its previous definition.

An example of this is computer.

Back in Alan Turing days a computer described a job function. 

It was someone’s job to… well, compute things. A very typical conversation might be: 

“How was your day at work?”
“Very good thanks, had a lovely chat with the new computer, she started last week”.

What gets strange in this example is that the word “chat” is in the middle of a transformation from one of a human-human interaction to one that also includes communication between human and machine.

In a few years, that particular phrase may well make perfect sense again (depending on whether modern day computers get assigned a gender), even though it’s describing a pretty different interaction 80 years apart.

I was wondering what the next version of “computer” might be… any thoughts?

Best guess for now is that in 30-40 years, the term “driver” might be synonymous with a vehicle that gets you from A to B.

“What’s that Grandad? When you were growing up a driver was a… person. 

*drops pin on destination in autonomous vehicle*

Weird!”