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Invasive Technologies: Part Two

Increasingly, more and more of us are communicating with our bank, booking flights, shopping, and organising our social lives through our mobile phone; a virtual interface that has replaced several instances where real-time communication was previously essential. Text-based messaging is on the increase and, as a consequence, it can be argued that our default mode for communication is asynchronous. This kind of text chat has created its own time zone; one that lags behind the one in which we live.

Invasive Technologies Part 2.

This week’s article follows on from my previous post and continues to explore how emerging technologies are impacting on our daily lives.

Increasingly, more and more of us are communicating with our bank, booking flights, shopping, and organising our social lives through our mobile phone; a virtual interface that has replaced several instances where real-time communication was previously essential. Text-based messaging is on the increase and, as a consequence, it can be argued that our default mode for communication is asynchronous. This kind of text chat has created its own time zone; one that lags behind the one in which we live.

Like the car, the telephone has become an integral part of the way we live and few of us can function without our mobile. But while it was intended as a device to enable communication, the telephone in its mobile form, is in danger of having the opposite effect.

In any workplace lunchtime gathering, school playground group or public transport passenger contingent, it is not unusual to see the majority of those involved communicating with someone out with their immediate environment.

It can be argued that, while the mobile phone has enabled us to communicate with each other with greater ease, it has actually become invasive and a hindrance to “real” communication with those around us; it has fundamentally changed the pattern and nature of the way we interact and has had a wide-ranging social and cultural impact. An increasingly connected world has brought with it a heightened sense of disconnection between human beings.

The mobile phone is so firmly integrated into our lives that schools, colleges and universities are now using it to deliver everything from examination results to course materials and study advice. Parents can opt to track their wayward offspring and almost everybody has 24/7 access to emergency services, late night taxis and takeaway food outlets. This leads us to ask the question, ‘Has the mobile phone contributed positively to the quality and/or content of what is being communicated?’

Whatever the answer, this begs a further question: does it matter?

“Technology gives us the facilities that lessen the barriers of time and distance – the telegraph and cable, the telephone, radio, and the rest.” Emily Greene Balch

The complete version of this week’s article can be accessed by following this link.

Michael Stewart.
Michael Stewart has extensive experience in the writing, directing and delivery of education programmes across a range of media. More recently as a member of the board and management team of the Interactive Design Institute, Michael has fulfilled a wide variety of functions including the development of pedagogy for online delivery.
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