In the future, all your government mail — jury duty slips, election notices, those Social Security earnings statements — may not come in the mail at all. In Australia, federal politicians are debating ditching snail mail entirely, giving all citizens a state-sponsored inbox where they would receive all government communications.
By the year 2020, when we’re all using ubiquitous organic touchscreens, augmented reality social networks, and ultra-powerful computers to communicate, will we still be using the mail? A group of technology evangelists and postal advocates will gather this summer to talk about that, and what the U.S. Postal Service can do to make sure the answer is yes.
In an effort to increase efficiency, cut carbon emissions, and reduce costs, Finland has begun a pilot program wherein snail-mail letters are converted into PDFs and made viewable online by their addressees, in advance or in lieu of physical delivery. So far, the effort is volunteer-only, but it has already sparked concerns in Finland about privacy and government overreach.
What makes us happy? There's no simple answer (sorry), though this 70-year-long longitudinal study on well-being offers some fascinating insight. Humility helps, so do our reactions to life's woes, and "the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people."
Also in today's links: customer-unfriendly shopping innovations, it pays to be tall, and more.