The Smartphone, Bending Space through Interconnectivity
By Ryan MacGibbon
Ears all plugged with earbuds—wires string out of the line of heads and dangle down to a smartphone. The train car is nearly silent, yet each person experiences an individual landscape of sound. In this interval of transportation, you are left to your choice of entertainment, the offerings nearly as broad as at home.
Work is portable as well—tapping a button, you get a start on checking your e-mail. One message links you to breaking news, the web page loading as you read and scroll. With two stops to go before heading underground, you send a message to some friends about a gallery opening and download the latest episode of The Office.
The train rolling down into the darkness, you pause your music and stretch your legs into the aisle to watch some television. This is the smartphone morning commute, connecting you to the world, pocket-sized.
Smartphones and other handheld computerized devices are becoming the one-in-all gadget for work tools and entertainment. As more people begin to move about their days with mini-computers, social connectivity will increase. Allowed this vast communication ability, you will need to assert yourself to others with increasing frequency. Simultaneously, you will be able to spend more time wherever you please. As so, people will become more individuated, distinct ones in a world of constant interconnectivity.
Human beings are in need of increased interaction as, “more people are realizing how alone we are,” says student Seanna Sharpe. “People are running around doing their own thing, but also trying to find out what other people are doing.” As technology opens our awareness of reality, confirming our isolation in outer space, individual bewilderment and curiosity grows. Backed with the vast information and communication resource of the smartphone, people are empowered to explore their own interests, assured their explorations won’t isolate them from work and friends.
An AT&T associate, Pedro Lopez, describes a basic scenario. You want to take a love interest out on a date, but have work and plans with other friends filling out your week. Exchanging messages and media over smartphones, you can get to know this person without cutting into your set schedule. By the time you’re both available, you’ll have a better idea of who the other person is and whether or not you really want to take him or her out.
Lopez explains, “Time and technology run together.” With the increased convenience of smartphones, people will more often spend their time as they please. In the case of the date, once two people decide to devote time to one another, they’ll already be certain of a potential connection. With the improvement of messaging on smartphones, “People will feel more confident because people are better writers than speakers.”
In-Stat, a market and technology research company, reports an increasing trend in wireless high-speed internet subscriptions. The popularity of smartphones is mounting, forming a wider and more intimate interconnectivity between the human race. In-Stat finds, “At the end of 2008, only 11% of worldwide wireless subscriptions were 3G. By the end of 2013, the percentage of 3G and 4G subscriptions will reach 30%.”
The rise of portable, high-speed internet with full page display will allow us access to information and entertainment in nearly any situation. John C. Abell, the New York City Bureau Chief for wired.com, explains how this will affect owners of smartphones. “They are empowering, like a gun is. My guess is improved confidence and less fear of the unknown, because less is unknowable. The ability to get info and make decisions anywhere and anytime is very liberating because it doesn’t bind you to a location — just like mobile phones made it possible to go out and have fun and still get called about a party later on. If you don’t have to baby-sit an information device you never have to stop doing.”
As smartphones unbind people from location, humans will be more interconnected, continually evaluating and relating to information and people. In nearly constant reflection, one will become more individuated and self-assured, with more personal interests.
“You can’t not have one of these gadgets. It’s like letting someone have a superior power over you,” says Serg Brushtein, a New York University student. He suggests the smartphone as the stirrings of next stage of human development. These devices allow portable access to the largest database of human information as well as, “expanding your social network horizontally.” With the advent of the mass use of smartphones, humans will advance as a species by continually relaying personal discoveries (spurred by technology) to others through that same technology. Work and entertainment will no longer bind people to a specific location. Through increased interconnectivity, we will continue to release each other from spatial constraints.