Pneumatic tubes: the instant messaging technology that transformed the world (Late Night Live, Radio National, Australia)
“In the late 19th century , complex networks of pneumatic tubes were set up in major capitals around the world ; New York , London and Paris. Australia’s first parliament in Canberra had a system underneath it. Pneumatic tubes were the instant messaging systems of their day , and the political and economic debates about how to use them are similar to contemporary discussion about mobile technologies.”
02:50 Disrupt the disruption that this moment is so unlike the past
03:50 We think of waiting as an in-between time but we see instead it is a time of interpretation
- Is there an audio book?
We have always been conscious of the wait for life-changing messages, whether it be the time it takes to receive a text message from your love, for a soldier’s family to learn news from the front, or for a space probe to deliver data from the far reaches of the solar system. In this book in praise of wait times, award-winning author Jason Farman passionately argues that the delay between call and answer has always been an important part of the message.
Traveling backward from our current era of Twitter and texts, Farman shows how societies have worked to eliminate waiting in communication and how they have interpreted those times’ meanings. Exploring seven eras and objects of waiting—including pneumatic mail tubes in New York, Elizabethan wax seals, and Aboriginal Australian message sticks—Farman offers a new mindset for waiting. In a rebuttal to the demand for instant communication, Farman makes a powerful case for why good things can come to those who wait.