I recently asked a friend his interpretation of the new phenomenon- mobile broadband.
Okay- there is a simple answer to this question: the pros far outweigh the cons. The answer is a very easy one for people of a certain age… my age. The late twenties/early thirties bracket.
The reason is simple: we’re young enough to be able to adapt to the technological changes which have taken place in the last ten years and yet also old enough to recall life without the internet and mobile phones- therefore arguably the only sub generation to be able to assess life with and without these things with great clarity.
It strikes me that when answering the question of mobile broadband, you need simply answer the two separate questions: has the proliferation of mobile phones made life better and has spread of the internet made life better. The answer in both cases is a clear yes. The internet has made information more readily available and made tasks, which were epitomised by the adjectives such as: tedious, laborious, boring, etc… quite removed from this. Indeed such “tasks” are really not even that any more. Finding out what’s going on on a Friday night in any nearby City can be sought out in seconds, for example.
As for the proliferation of mobiles, this has lead to a huge amount of benefits. We can keep track of people in a much more practical manner- if there are emergencies people are much more contactable and for that matter emergencies can be averted through a speedy communications network. How many lives have been saved through people having a mobile phone to hand when an emergency occurs? Probably many more than we can imagine.
I believe the argument for or against the advent of a mobile broadband is in essence a simple continuation of the prior arguments. It many ways it is also an impotent exercise for however much we could argue for or against it, it will happen regardless. We have lived in a decade where Western society has remorselessly pushed itself into fifth gear as it sought to career into the digital age. Mobile Broadband is simply one strand of the digital world where exercise is found in computer games (wii), friends and relationships are formed and broken apart through social networking sites (facebook, myspace, twitter, etc…) and traditional social outlets have become more and more marginalised (the death of the high street).
However, as I begin to paint this picture of our contemporary society it seems more and more concurrent with Baudrillard‘s prophetic/ apocalyptic declarations of the hyperrealist, resulting in a modern world whose consciousness is weighed down by an inability to distinguish between reality and fantasy. And so with all these obvious benefits technology has brought I can’t help but feel cold, the absurd thing is I think I like it!