Its always interesting to see how fast the technology universe expands. It wasn’t so many years ago our cell phones were these huge affairs with no real smarts to them. We could not use them for all the purposes as we do now. Some folks still use the feature phones perhaps out of desire or maybe they are just unwilling to evolve. Lets be honest though, the smartphone does so much more than just make calls and get or send text messages.
Its meant to provide a foundation for lives that have become ever busier and filled with all kinds of needs. Take a single example application from the application universe.
Google Maps. Most of the folks use this application, rely on it, ask it questions about distance and route. Maybe save locations or share them with others. We kinda take it for granted but consider what its done to revolutionize and evolutionize what we do with devices. Gone are the days like in my youth of my mom stopping to ask directions at a Gas Station. For that matter gone are the Gas Stations where there was someone to ask. Maybe how we navigate and find answers has also marked the changes for those old time gas stations where attendants would discuss the times of the day, answer questions for thousands of times, recall a place to visit on your way to a new place or slightly out of the way. The smartphone and Google Maps have done away with all that. Now we can find nearby attractions, food, hotels, bars, coffee shops with a second gesture on the phone. The interesting intersection on my Android devices comes next.
Google Now. Who would have ever thought we would have this digital companion when I first got a cell phone that would allow the applications to queue together into a card interface that would tell me about my movies, answer questions about historic things, request reminders to be set then remind me. The integration point between maps and now is so cool and almost creepy at times. We get a version of the application in the card on Google Now to help us along our paths.
To me, the inter-play of the two applications is nothing short of outstanding when compared to even where we were two years ago. Our phones now are meant to not just do calls. I have in mind an idealized commercial for some HTC or Samsung thing where the ad states in piquant terms,
oh, it does this and that and all of this other thing. It also makes and takes phone calls if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
Some would question the advances and want to go back to a simpler day when our devices perhaps did not become so “smart”. Sorry folks. Like my mom used to say, you’re a day late and a dollar short. There is a sense of technological anomie with this where if we were stuck on a desert island with no cell phone, no maps, no now; we would still not be lost or be unable to comprehend.
Anomie would disconnect us. Create a void or distance between where technology has gone and our ability to adapt. Perhaps we never truly get caught up and we live forever in scientific and technology anomie. We don’t know how to catch up and there is no catching up ever. Those events move too fast and some are not subject to the space/time convergence that we are. We simply do not know what innovation could happen in a minute from now in some other place. Even thousands of years ago, perhaps not all hunter-gatherers had the same fluted point projectile point tradition of the big game Clovis hunters in the southwestern US. Perhaps it was not needed. Maybe there was not the same wonderful silicates like chert and chalcedony and all their variations in those places. Who can speak of the reason why an idea and a technology and an approach does not carry forward. Ancient Aliens would want us to believe all the inventions are connected and that people simply are not capable of reaching the same point independently and some extra-terrestrial force must have spread the ideas.
Simply because we cannot understand a thing now means that people before us must not have been able to either. That’s BS by the way.
But now we have Google Maps and I’ve learned to appreciate the “having of it”. I rely on it but I understand we all live in fragile, encased worlds where sun and sky and atmosphere build our lives. Erosion and deposition maybe even of ideas still create our worlds and then destroy them.
Enjoy the techno toy fun days. Remember those other days though. We cannot relive the past but we can remember it.