There is a world in the not-so-distant future where a mobile device will be completely customizable to the taste of the end-user. Maybe you want a camera, e-reader, access to every version of “Spoonful” ever recorded, and various apps but no phone. Maybe you want to videoconference and simultaneously monitor your child napping in his crib. Maybe you need an add-on blood sugar monitor to manage your diabetes. For the greenies out there, surely there will be an app for recharging your device with the wind outside your train window. Cloud computing, augmented reality, geolocation – the options are limited only by our imagination and our paradigms.
There are some who are frightened by the changes, quoting Orwell and holding their day planners close to their chests. The fast pace of change today amplifies this phenomenon, creating an even wider gap between those who send handwritten letters and the teenagers who don’t know that written words once had vowels in them. However, the learning curve for new technology is much less steep now. We used to look at new technology and have to learn to adapt our behavior (remember those folks that printed their email to read it?) Now technology anticipates our behaviors; we look at an iPod and exclaim: “What a great way to store and access all my music! Where do I buy more?”
Today, right now, mobile technology pairs beautifully with the trend toward simplification in our lives. We can eliminate the clutter by traveling with paperless tickets, banking online, using GPS instead of maps, presenting digital coupons to store clerks, and reading eBooks. It is only our sense of nostalgia, and to some extent our fear, that keeps us clutching to a security blanket of paper. Who knew mobile applications could help clear the way to a state of Zen?
This brings humanity to the biggest change.- the change in perspective and how we approach the moments that make up our lives. Mobile technology helps us preserve our past with digital images, art, music, blogs… so that we can let go. We know that it is there, accessible from any place at any time, and we can get on with the business of living our lives. In living a moment, we can use the mobile applications to embrace every element, giving the experience more texture and color. We can click on an app and learn on which slope the grapes in our Riesling were grown. We can hold our mobile device up to the sky and learn the name of the star we have wished upon since childhood. We can connect with a dear friend and share a funny thought that reminded us of a shared experience. Our lives are richer, fuller, and more connected to one another in so many beautiful (and really cool) ways.