“The 1958 Hiker” is a story about a hiker who lost his map. As he drifted off to sleep that night, a visitor from the year 2008 taunted him with revelations of the future. This article was previously posted to Google Knol.
In the story of The 1958 Hiker, a lone hiker is making his way up a mountain. As he crests the summit, a sudden gust of wind snatches away
his map. Without his map, he takes a wrong turn on the way down. When he realizes that he won’t make it off the mountain until the next day, he finds a sheltered spot and curls up. As he is drifting off to sleep, he starts to dream. Or perhaps it is not a dream?
A man arrives, and explains that he is visiting from 50 years into the future. “Where I come from”, he says, “you can buy a pocket-size device which can display a map of every part of the world—and photos too, of every part of the earth!”
“Seriously?” stammered the hiker in amazement.
“Sure!” replied the time-traveller. “It’s less than half an inch thick, and costs a
week’s pay. It’s also a communications device. You can use it to summon assistance if you’re a hiker in distress. Actually, you can use it to talk to pretty much anyone in the world.”
“It can also take photographs and hold a lifetime’s worth of snapshots. And it can hold all your CDs.” On seeing the hiker’s puzzled look, the time-traveller hastily explained “I mean, it can hold all your LP albums.”
“Oh,” added the time-traveller, almost as an afterthought: “it can also access and display all of the world’s knowledge.”
The hiker saw that the time-traveller was drifting away, so he shouted out one last question: “And what’s this thing called?”
“It’s called an iPhone”, replied the time-traveller nonchalantly, as he drifted off back to the year 2008.
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