The Atlantic recently published a great piece examining technology titled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Using a historical perspective, the author critiques how technological inventions have fundamentally shaped our lives, and ponders if their impact transcends mere lifestyle changes to actual biological adaptations in the ways that we think and learn.
Do we shape technology, or does it shape us?
And, are we even aware of the impact as the technology itself becomes embedded into our culture?
For instance, few people critically examine that the minutia of daily life is mapped out by a clock. Before the mathematical concept of time emerged in the 1300′s, people organized their meals and sleep around their own internal schedules. Today it is maddening and almost unthinkable to envision a world without clocks. As we become dependent on new technologies, which other ones have fused with our modern culture?
The mobile device is a modern day invention that, much like invention of the clock, is shaping every facet of our lives.
Our mobile devices are integrating into our lives at an astonishing pace. The future will be shaped by our increasing dependence on mobile. Today’s mobile devices are affordable and highly sophisticated. They are hubs of communication and allow access to the web. Unbeknownst to some, our future lies in mobile – not the PC.
Mr. Gump sites that the market for high tech mobile devices, like the BlackBerry, has shifted from business people to explosive new market segments such as mothers. According to Mr. Gump, as the layman mobile user attains self-efficacy in basic mobile functions (such as photos), they increasingly gain competence in other areas, particularly communication centric ones (such as email, instant messenger, mobile video and web search).
According to Mr. Gump, 48-49 million users access the mobile web at least once a day (honing in on top content sites such as the Weather Channel, ESPN, and Google Maps). Mobile users access information in real-time, pulling up a micro-site and often making powerful instant purchasing decisions aided by the increased awareness and persuasion of the unique mobile message.
With an astounding and rapidly growing 3.3 billion mobile phone users in the world (only 10% of which are in the US), the impact of mobile is sure to be explosive and highly profitable.
Mr. Gump highlighted how mobile is changing the way consumers engage with brands, and visa versa. Mobile advertising is unlike that of the Internet, and early adapters will benefit from tailoring their message to suit this new medium. Much like past inventions of the Corliss Engine, the clock, and the refrigerator, the mobile device is a long tail product of infinite growth from which new related technologies will emerge. It is dominating our interpersonal communications and changing our buying and selling behaviors.
Where will it go? It will evolve, but only those who are keenly aware of the tacit changes will reap the rewards of this booming industry…