My Mobile & I

The mobile phone is indeed changing us and the world around us. Benedict Evans, a partner at Andreesen Horowitz, writes a super erudite blog which often covers the business and technology aspect of this. In one post, he beautifully compares the mobile phone to the sun in our solar system of life. The core to most things we do today — communicating through calls, messages and videos, taking photographs, paying our bills, hell…..even writing this post.

What i find even more interesting is how it has impacted our behaviour patterns and psychology, and what impact it could have on human behaviour in future generations. Here are some of my observations and questions, i would love to hear yours too.

1) The mobile phone has become a human’s most important organ

Nothing has made this more apparent to me than parenthood. When i see the mobile phone through the eyes of my 17 month old child, it is an object that every human they interact with owns and uses over 150 times a day. People like to share it with them, but always take it back. No one ever goes anywhere without it. And, EVERYONE gets very anxious if they cant find it.

2) The pocket supercomputer has made us smarter, and yet dumber too

In most casual conversations with friends, we often check facts on the internet using our phone (how old was Sachin Tendulkar when he played the desert storm game against Australia?)…..so in ways we have become smarter and more precise.

Yet, with ubiquitous access to information, the autocorrect function and predictive text, the need to remember and spell has reduced too.

A little bit like the calculator negated the need for mental math.

But don’t we need it?

3) Mobile phone addiction. Yikes, don’t get me started

I must confess. I am guilty here and so must be most of you. How many of us have been sitting quietly in a hotel room, airport or at home mindlessly surfing through our phones for hours without realising why we picked it up in the first place.

It opens up a world with endless possibilities for information and socializing — and in the process sucks up time and brain power quietly. A little bit like the cigarette sucks up your money and health.

Its impact on children is even scarier. I remember getting glued to the gameboy when it had just been released - a whole week sunk trying to win World Cup football. The mobile phone makes the gameboy look pedestrian.

4) Are we progressively getting fried?

Have you ever felt really wired up after having spent a ton of time on your mobile phone? Can all the radiations emanating from that instrument that you use 150 times a day not impact your brain? Are our children even more susceptible to actual physical brain change because of the increased radiations around them?

Many questions i don’t have an answer to.

5) Is anyone really incentivized today to stop this frying?

The mobile companies like users using it more.

The tech companies like users using it more.

Hell, everyone likes us using it more.

While i am not running a super paranoid conspiracy theory movement against it yet, the social responsibility around unregulated mobile usage and its impact on the human body is receiving very little attention today. Kinda like global warming.

And then one day when the rains get super heavy, the summer really hot and the winters ice cold, the governments will scramble together to call for climate change. Who knows what the mobile parallel to that would be? Maybe a hazardous warning sign similar to John Terry’s mug on cigarette packs (you Chelsea fans deserve that!)

6) Are we seeing the early signs of the frying?

This maybe a crazy longshot. But i’m going to say it. And i might be wrong.

I observe music change closely. And i cant help but notice that processesed music is massively on the rise. Songs with pure instruments without a DJ mix of bass beats is nearly non existent today.

I am a massive fan of EDM myself and to me the appeal of EDM is not just acoustic, but physical too; you don’t just listen to it, you feel it. The beats drive my heart rate and work my mind in just the right manner to make me feel good. Almost hypnotic.

So the crazy question of all – Have our brains dulled because of the mobile phone frying that we need a DJ bass beat in nearly every song today? Be it Bollywood or Hollywood or any form of music today…….the DJ process is almost everywhere!

Maybe i’m wrong and maybe its just the way music is evolving, but it feels all pervasive.

These were my questions and observations. I would love to hear yours.

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