This CNN Tech article, which kicks off CNN’s series “Our Mobile Society”, looks at smartphones as a new addition to the human body; a super powered appendage. Author John Sutter makes a clear and vivid point at the beginning of his article. Two men set themselves ablaze in Tunisia, but only one man, Mohamed Bouazizi, is credited with starting a revolution. Why? Because his death was captured on camera by a pedestrian’s smartphone.
This got me nodding my head in understanding. Smartphones allow us a level of connectivity previously unknown. Simply by owning one, we as normal everyday people are able to capture and share information that can affect large social change.
The article continues by unearthing young, tech-savvy interactions that are commonplace today (at least to me), such as youth preferring to text rather than call, or the fact that there are 6 billion cell phones in our 7 billion people world. The article calls smartphones the “Swiss Army Knives of modern living”, which I like.
If super-connectivity, cloud sharing, or mobile online banking don’t strike you as superhuman, how about a product by Google allowing the user to “see data about people they encounter or about deals offered inside restaurants they pass.”?
Being a solute in this highly technological solvent that is our culture, it is easy to take for granted the amazing abilities that we have access to with smartphones. Smartphones are little superpower machines. I just don’t know if all 6 billion of us owners are superheroes ready enough to handle them. Here’s the part where you throw in the obligatory Spiderman quote about responsibility. If we use these phones in excess, we lose ourselves into a world of narcissism and self absorption. If used moderately, we can recognize them as tools to connect, share, revolutionize, and efficiently complete a task.
We are inherently incredible creatures. How we as a culture use smartphones will either highlight this or discredit it.