The digital age has already changed the way we communicate. Thirty years ago concepts like social media, ideas like the constant, online sharing of personal thoughts simply didn’t exist. Computers were already becoming an important part of society, but no one had yet heard of the ‘net.
Then the world changed. Now, there’s barely anyone in the developed world who could imagine living without an Internet connection, or a computer. The Global Village was born, and communication underwent one of the largest metamorphoses in human history. We’re still trying to work out exactly how this new technology has changed us, even as we’re developing it further.
Now, the advent of mobile- the increased emphasis and reliance on smartphones and tablets – looks like it’s going to bring about another revolution. True, it won’t be as considerable a change as the development of the PC, or the birth of the Internet. But it’s still worth noting, and definitely worth examining.
Some of you might have heard of the Bring Your Own Device Craze, and the Consumerization of IT. Basically, technology’s becoming more and more accessible to the average employee. Advanced hardware and enhanced devices are being delivered first to the consumers, rather than being exclusively the camp of professionals. Employees, frustrated with the oft- poor design of company devices and applications, have instead begun hauling their own tablets and smartphones with them to work. This has, naturally, created a terribly headache for IT staff, which need to ensure that everything complies with their security infrastructure…
But we’re getting off track.
The advent of mobility means that now, we can connect at any time, from anywhere. It’s brought us another step closer to a world that’s completely connected to the Internet, a society where there’s always a website a few clicks away. Our phones and tablets have essentially become a part of us, wiring us in to a central mainframe filled with data and entertainment. Applications exist for virtually every profession, hobby, and goal you could think of, and entire websites have been modified and redesigned to fit the interfaces of these devices.
Of course, this constant connectivity comes with a few negative aspects, as well. We’re more distracted than ever before, for one- mobile games are easy to pick up, and difficult to put down. Our friends and relatives are only a quick text away- meaning we can literally waste away the day talking to people we won’t actually see. Second, the concept of always being able to look online at any time means we’ve really got no motivation to memorize any information not directly related to our jobs. Constant access to data cheapens the acquisition of knowledge, in a sense.
Still, the benefits arguably far outweigh the detriments. The notion of being able to work, communicate, and browse from anywhere in the world might’ve been a novel idea at one point, but today, it’s fast becoming reality. As tablets become more powerful and capable, it seems possible that they might one day replace computers – or perhaps become one with them. It’s hard to say, and in any case, that’s a long way off yet. For now, it’s enough to say that mobility has changed how we compute- and it’ll continue to do so for a long time yet.
Image Credits: [W-Tong]
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