The age of mobile is upon us. The number of mobile phone subscriptions in Australia outnumbers our population, the global number of worldwide mobile users have overtaken desktop users, and 60% of internet traffic now comes from mobile devices.
We trust our smartphones with our private thoughts and messages, our banking, our navigation, and our ability to remember just about anything. But do we trust these devices too much? What happens if (when?) this technology betrays us?
But the type of technological betrayal I’m talking about is much less apocalyptic and much more gently inconvenient.
Society’s heavy reliance on smartphones can leave us feeling pretty unprepared to make our way through the world without them. Whether it be not knowing where to look on the train when your phone battery dies, or struggling to remember the name of that cartoon talking bear with the rabbit friend when you’ve burned through your data allowance.
As we grow more and more reliant on our smartphones, and use them for more and more functions, the odds of them letting us down when we need them most will steadily rise. Soon enough we will be using our phones to unlock our houses, to turn on our cars, and to run our appliances. But what happens when they let us down? My phone can barely last the day right now, so I can’t imagine it coping very well if tasked with connecting every bit of technology in my life, so I’m not sure I’m ready to trust my smartphone (or my wi-fi) with so much responsibility.
Even though most of the time our phones let us down it’s in severely minor situations, sometimes it can be pretty dire. Like when our GPS’s get us lost , or our banking details are stolen from our phones.
I’m not saying technology is bad, I’ll leave that to Michael Crichton novels. All I’m saying is that as we move towards a world where our pocket devices are capable of managing more and more of our lives, and we rely on them more and more, we need to remember that they can’t always be dependent on, and having an analogue backup probably isn’t the worst idea, at least for now.