Reach Out and Touch Someone

Does anyone remember the old AT&T advertising campaign, “Reach Out and Touch Someone?” It ran from 1979 to 1983, back when AT&T was still called Ma Bell and telephones were still firmly anchored to the wall. Today, reaching and touching is a lot easier. You can call someone from just about anywhere in the world—or even a few miles above the world—with the touch of a button. When I was a child, my parents told me that someday far in the future a device called a “picturephone” would let us see who we were talking to, and that we'd also be able to go shopping through the TV. But in the mid-1960s, pictures on a phone and shopping on TV were the stuff of a World's Fair exhibit, with no more relation to everyday reality than TheJetsons or Star Trek (watched, of course, on a black-and-white TV). Forty years later, fantasy is reality. We beam photos across the world in
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