The Mobile Device, Technological Darwinism? Digital Essay 1

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According to Farman (2012): “Mobile technologies have been around in some form throughout human history.”

The existence of human beings has been characterized by biological and technological advances. An oversimplification of evolution is that “man has descended from the apes,” this has not been the case in human or technological evolution.  According to Fang (1997), “Ancient Egyptians found it in the Nile river delta, the reed called papyrus.” From this reed the first scrolls were created, documenting the human experience for centuries. Aside from historical documentation, papyrus was used for communication purposes as well as map making. Technology is used as an extension of the human experience to make life more convenient.

Link(s) About Darwinism:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/darwinism/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwinism

Link(s) About “Technological Darwinism“:

http://venturebeat.com/2013/02/10/digital-darwinism-how-were-shaping-our-future/

http://www.accaglobal.com/content/dam/acca/global/PDF-technical/other-PDFs/Five-mins-on-Digital-Darwinism.pdf

The Co-Founder of Intel Gordon E. Moore, had an observation that stated that “the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since the integrated circuit was invented,” (What is Moore’s Law?, 2014)  Moore predicted that this trend would continue. The transistor is basically the fundamental building block of modern electronic devices, in summary Moore’s statement means that electrical devices will become increasingly complex.

How Does Moore’s Law Apply to Mobile Devices?

According to Ling & Donner (2009) “The first decade of the twenty-first century may be remembered as the historical moment when the majority of the world’s population first secured easy and affordable access to telephones.”  It may seem unlikely that an object increasing in complexity would allow that item to become cheaper, however this is exactly what happened with telephones. And overtime telephones evolved into the modern day Mobile Device.

A Mobile Device can be a(n):

  1. Clock
  2. E-Mail Device
  3. Telephone
  4. Instant Messenger
  5. Web Browser
  6. Map
  7. GPS

The Evolution of the Telephone:

According to Ling & Donner (2009) “The mobile telephone system is obviously a legacy of traditional landline telephony. It is the extension of radio-based dimension linked to the system of hard-wired telephones.” Communication is at the heart of the creation of the telephone, people create ways to increase convenience for whatever function they want to perform. One can look at papyrus as an early attempt for people to communicate with each other through writing. One can also look at the development of language or even people developing longer necks and changes in the positioning of the larynx as early attempts at communication through using vocals.  Needless to say our history has thrust us as a species forward to a point where we make our needs easier, the telephone is no different.

Link(s) About Human Communication:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129083762

Changes in Communication:

According to Ling & Donner (2009) “The mobile telephone changes the way we communicate with one another. Instead of calling to a fixed geographical location as is the practice with the landline device, we call to an individual, wherever they be. It allows us to interlace our telephonic communications into the flow of our other activities.” For example during the World War II era General Short did not receive a message about an imminent attack by the Japanese until hours later via letter. Had General Short had cellular phone technology, he could have been alerted to dangers hours before anything happened, turning the Pearl Harbor tragedy into a story of successful military coordination and cooperation.

In addition to time being a factor in communication space has always been and will always be a factor. For example, in modern times technology allows us to connect with people all around the world, however if I decide to try to connect with someone who’s in Korea and I am on the east coast of the United States, there may be something called “lag.” Lag is simply the force that keeps your connection from being instantaneous through whatever means of communicate you choose. Human beings have been experiencing lag since we’ve been able to communicate. With the evolution of technology we’ve seen this lag decrease significantly. A letter may take one week to be delivered from the United States to India, but a text message may take mere seconds. The oversimplification of lag has allowed us to multitask while we communicate with people. It has also allowed our communicate devices to have more properties than basic telephone capabilities. With this in mind mobile devices have changed human interaction, but has it been for good? Farman would argue that technology “cocoons” the user from what’s going on in his/her immediate vicinity,  helping “kill time.” The mobile device includes many features that can alienate a user from reality creating different relationships between people and their locale. Although I am not a fan of being monitored whether it be voluntary or involuntary; mobile devices allow users to interact with reality using apps such as Foursquare or Instagram.

The Dark Side of Communication

If you are familiar with the Star Wars when using “the force” there are two sides you can be on, the light side or the dark side. The light side are the people who fight for hope, justice, and equality in the universe. The dark side seek to control and consolidate power through force.  In terms of communication, the dark side could be looked at as the huge corporations who control everything including governments.

Here’s a link for your reference http://www.salon.com/2012/10/16/five_ways_corporate_greed_is_bankrupting_america/

These groups of seek to active control people making them sheepole, and under a capitalist system, sheeople are only alive to consume and serve. To keep this structure in tact they buy your information from social networks in order to tailor advertisements to your interests, making it more likely that you will buy something (consume). Having your information online makes it easier for you to be a target, be wary of what you say and what you do. Every time you use your mobile device to get directions that information can be taken and used against you. If survival of the fittest is the game we as human beings play, one must be aware of how to navigate through life when you are constantly being recorded, photographed, and shared through mobile devices. Any instrument for good can and most likely will be used for evil.

Star Wars Link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars

Summary

Technological evolution is real, society has seen clocks go from large buildings in London, England to small parts of more interconnected devices. Maps were drawn in caves and on rocks, now they are fully 3D and can be accessed across the globe at the push of a finger.  The telephone that could only be used from landlines can now be used in increasingly more mobile spaces connecting society in ways our ancestors could have never imagined.

Works Cited

Kavoori, A. P. (2012). The mobile media reader. New York: P. Lang.

60SecondScience. (2007, November 26). What is Moore’s Law –   Instant Egghead Episode 2. YouTube. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from http://www.youtube.co. mm/watch?v=bLSMn0cNWAw

“The Garden of Eaden.” CHARLES DARWINS LEGACY. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Feb. 2014. <http://gardenofeaden.blogspot.com/2011/11/charles-darwins-legacy-200-years-on.html&gt;.

Ling, R. S., & Donner, J. (2009). Mobile communication. Cambridge: Polity.

Fang, I. E. (1997). A history of mass communication: Six information revolutions. Boston: Focal Press.

Moore’s Law. (n.d.). What is ?. Retrieved February 7, 2014, from http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/M/Moores_Law.html
Darwinism. (2014, August 2). Wikipedia. Retrieved February 8, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwinism
VentureBeat | News About Tech, Money and Innovation. (n.d.). VentureBeat. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from http://venturebeat.com/2013/02/10/digital-darwinism-how-were-shaping-our-future/
Lennox, J. (2004, August 13). Darwinism. Stanford University. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/darwinism/
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