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I was in my local supermarket picking up the usual items last week, having a debate with myself over an apple or an orange? Then I looked beyond the cherries and saw a young chap holding his iphone. So I made up my mind, apple! I popped around being careful not to wheel my seemingly drunk trolley into innocent shoppers, and check what was so entertaining about his iphone.
What I saw, I was not prepared for; the guy was trying to download an app to help him make decisions on what food would compliment what he had already chosen.
"Ridiculous!" I thought.
Struggling to come to terms with what my eyes had shamed my brain with, I then walked aimlessly through the frozen aisle not knowing what to do with myself. Should I download such an app? Is this the future of Tesco? Will they have this app available on a flat screen by the grapes in 2010? I shook off my troubles and cast doubt on the app that caused me so many sleepless nights recently, I asked myself the ultimate question... Where do we draw the line???
Now let us start from the beginning (a classic starting point), I love my phone, and I am not saying it as if I am at a mobile phone anonymous meeting and ashamed of my addiction. However, if we have reached the stage of allowing our phones to make our decisions for us then things have gone too far.
We could calculate big sums before the calculator and we could read a map before sat nav, so why should we use technology simply so we do not have to move from the couch or use our brains for the smallest decision process.
However, this blame cannot solely rest on the iPhone for getting the ball rolling, but it is where it starts, as more and more media mobiles are skipping gently to the ringtones. Are we safe from the HTC Hero or Nokia’s new N97? Is Google more bling than bing? Who is in control - man or machine? You may say that you have the upper hand and will be able to live without your phone or without the internet for one week, but you will find it hard if not impossible, because it has been driven into our culture now and we must use it wisely and not abuse our privileges.
For the greater good…
The increased demand for speed and efficiency is why I believe this technology is becoming a necessity. If we are working but are on the train across country, we need to check our emails; if we are working in the new media industry we need to keep up to date with the trends; and if we are just texting we want the best kind of phone to txt - it could be Samsung's new delight, Nokia’s new gadget or even Motorola’s new... actually forget that!
However, let’s not forget our internal itechnology, the brain. If we had our heads down pressing our mobile phone screens 24/7, think about the things we'd miss, and think how unsociable we'd become. Sure, you can access Facebook and Twitter using the bus shelter next year...probably, but the more social media sites you are signed up to does not make you a more sociable person.
Personally, I am not a mobile phone addict but if I downloaded that app that 'Tesco's finest customer' had then surely that will only increase my reliance on my phone. It is the same with social media sites, we need to take a step back and use these tools for what they were originally meant to be used for and not abuse the natural reaction to reach into our pockets and browse the app store.
This post is not simply about mobile phones, but an example of why we rely on what we once believed to be a luxury. I forgive that shopper for being blinded by the dream of a robotic future, and have moved on, I can now rest happy and download an app to download my stress.