This question falls in line with the time-honored tradition of investigating whether the item that came first still has what it takes to last. But the item under examination here has been around longer than just about every other form of communication, so there is no reason to believe it will disappear now.
Thanks to ongoing advances in technology, people in today’s society have a number of ways to choose from if they want to communicate. Almost every one of the available methods can be used to send more information farther faster than by writing.
But a closer look at society reveals that every single person trying to communicate is not using these technological advances. That is why the written word is still in circulation and why it is not about to go away.
Regardless of how popular and useful technology is and how that popularity continues to grow in the future, there will always be individuals who do not understand the technical aspects enough to be able to communicate successfully.
Some members of that group might be willing to try and learn but just not able to comprehend the information. Others are likely to be too stubborn to even think about learning something new, so they wouldn’t even try to figure it out.
On top of that, there is certain to be a collection of people who can’t afford to purchase a personal computer, Blackberry, iPhone, bluetooth, Sidekick, or any of the other 21st Century communication devices.
And let’s not forget our schools. As much as educators promote the use of technology and work to help prepare students for what they will encounter in the real world, high school students will not be allowed to take notes in class on a computer. And elementary students will still receive instructions and exercises about handwriting from their teachers.
With all of these things going on at the same time, it is impossible to predict the demise of written text as a communication medium. To do so would involve assuming that technology was going to take over the entire world, and that sounds too much like a story from a comic book.
Granted, there is a lot less written communication today than there was 10 years ago, but there are still plenty of pens and pencils at work. Some people may only use them to write notes to themselves or make grocery lists, but that is still communication.
In the years ahead there will be more technological advances, and that is likely to make people think even less about writing. But since it has outlasted nearly everything else during the past few centuries, it is easy to see why written text will have the last word.