As we take strides into the new millennium, we find ourselves
able to communicate with anyone anywhere in the world at the touch of a
button. Telephones, fax machines, and the Internet have replaced the
ancient networks of message couriers and foot-mail deliverers. To many
people, the postal service's future is seen heading in the same direction as
those long forgotten runners.
However, the postal service is unlikely to disappear without a
fight. It has been proven through history that the postal service can
evolve amidst changing technology. The telegraph and the telephone were
both expected to spell the end of the post, yet it persevered. Although
e-mail may have a seemingly endless number of advantages over snail mail, the
postal service has an extremely strong foothold in our communications.
Nearly everyone in the world is capable of sending and receiving snail
mail. This is an area in which the Internet has a lot of catching up to
In addition, first-class mail is still the most common method
for conveying bills and important documents. The Internet provides many
options for paying bills instantaneously, yet few offer the same sense of
security as first-class mail.
In reality, humankind's reasons for needing to communicate over
long distances have not changed significantly since the first postal services
were established hundreds of years ago. People write letters to keep in
touch with family and friends and to manage businesses, in much the same way
that the Pharaohs and Caesars managed their immense empires with messenger
services. What has changed is the distance and speed at which we are
capable of communicating. As the world's population has expanded, so has
the postal service. The postal service is like a shirt that will fit you
perfectly as a child, and expand to fit you perfectly as an adult too.
Unlike the human body, however, the world population is unlikely to ever stop
growing. Unless the postal service can constantly adapt new technology to
help it expand and fit the size of the population, it will tear, and cease to
So what kind of amazing technology might the postal service use
in the future to adapt to the population? Could we see mail traveling from
continent to continent via sub-oceanic networks of air-pressurized
pipelines? Perhaps the mail could be delivered to and from Mars on
anti-matter powered rockets? There is even the possibility of teleporting
Those ideas are only fantastic speculation, but the postal
service will need to adopt new and innovative technology in order to
survive. Humankind won't stop evolving to wait for the postal system to
You've read the arguments, now voice your opinion! Click
here to go to the discussion section and talk about what effect you think
e-mail will have on snail mail.