What if our phones, with which we share our life and cannot do without, do a sociological and psychological assessment of us humans? Siva B. gets imaginative…
Over the years, mobile phones have seemingly outnumbered humans. To a point, in my imagination, it’s a breed of its own now; Mobile Species of sorts. A hybrid being created by humans to suit their wants (not needs). Now if that be the truth, there’s a question of how many sub-species of these mobiles we have created.
Before the age of the smartphones, there was only one type of phone — the one your fancy uncle who visits India twice a year used to bring. I vaguely remember my uncle’s to be a Nokia. The one that had an antenna, which for that time, watching it slide down and vanish into the mobile itself, was quite epic.
But then, a technological mutation of sorts happened. Humans suddenly realised the possibilities of wireless communication for commercial purpose. Computer companies started investing in mobile manufacturing. Then existing manufacturers started to expand. More jobs came about and humans were happy about it too. Programming applications and operating systems were being made exclusively for mobiles. We started integrating our already available technologies into mobiles.
Airwaves and radio transmissions, signal towers and call centres, Bluetooth and voice commands, QWERTY keypads and touch screen inputs, Wi-Fi and 3G, Quad core and expandable memory, HD cameras and pattern locks, lightweight and ultra slim, extended battery life and USB chargers, mobile stores and online shopping, online comparisons and YouTube reviews, mobile Facebook and Whatsapp group chats, emails and gaming, tweeting and blogging, GPS and location sharing, HDMI output and scratch proof/ crack proof/ spill proof/ child proof/ dirt proof screen with full HD display. Besides competitive pricing, these tech wonders also come with free replacement, best deals and special offers, mega sale and lowest prices, free headphones/ watch/ backpack (with the store’s name on it), one hour repair and home pick up/drop service…all this and more from a small handheld device.
“Dude! Can’t find my phone! Call my number, Quick!” We’ve all heard that before. The expenditure to buy a new phone is a task by itself, but though we have password locks, we still do panic for the data that is stored in our phones. Is it because we share all our daily secrets with our phones? Official or personal – our phones know every dirty secret of ours. While we linger in the belief that our phones cannot do anything with all the information it has about us, what if they could? What will a mobile phone’s understanding of our human world be like?
We here are the basic phones and our users are those who cannot or haven’t moved to the next generation. We are considered the forefathers of today’s “Smartphones”. Our human masters are pretty much in every class we can think off. We have the working class using us for their day-to-day use, the up-beat ones who use us as spare phones, the couples for whom we act as secret phones, and many more. We’ve learnt that in a broader perspective, humans have a lot to say and communicate. The worthiness of the information is very subjective of course, but there is a bite of these bytes that can be clearly categorised as “junk”. We are unaware of the internet world as it is beyond our capabilities. Our human masters still depend on us for the good old text messaging and the occasional “Snake” and “Tetris” games or a calculator.
Behold, the BlackBerrys
Humans fancied us quite a bit in the beginning. We were like the Men In Black of the mobile world. The Blackberry Messenger was a human-favourite in our season of bloom. Our history began as a business man’s phone or rather a statement. Our Qwerty keypads were unheard of. Humans fell for the sleek black finish. Later came the college kids religiously texting, righteously putting our abilities to their use. Surely, we are not the race supporting gaming of any sorts. It’s strictly communication and in these years, we have seen that many times, humans communicate just because they can and even get upset when they are not able to. While most have started to retire their use for us, we have learnt a sizeable amount about humans and they will remember us and we will remember them too.
The revolutionary, the iPhone
The praises for my capabilities were plenty. My design — futuristic and every version of mine has been out-doing predecessors. While in early days, I was a really expensive gift, nowadays, I am a mandatory requirement for most humans. I am the real deal and complete package. My interface is adored and quality is unmatched. But I quite don’t understand what I am doing in the hands of an eight-year-old at times. Some never use me to my full strength and some expect way more from me than they should. My auto-correct text feature seems to have created quite a stir and humans have now started making memes out of it.
This range of my usage, has given me a glimpse into the human world and I must say, I am stunned and confused. First, I understand humans can never get enough. Every time a newer version came out, humans were lining up outside the store’s door for a whole day, but soon, they’d want more. Secondly, humans love staying connected though they rarely utilise that power in the right way. Most of my users have 1000+ friends on Facebook but they rarely speak to more than 30 on a regular basis.
This is a classic, “Better to have more and need less than have less and need more” syndrome and my logic quite understands this state of mind. I will assist you by all means humans, but understand that there is a whole universe outside and most of you have forgotten to stare at a starry sky or play with a puppy on the road nowadays. A vacant gaze into a five-inch screen is all that is left.
Androids, the Dark Horses
It’s the age of the Androids. We are multiple species under the same Operating System. Our versatile open source coding has led most manufacturers to make a version of their own. We come in cutely named versions like Ginger Bread and Ice Cream Sandwich but don’t let the names distract you, for, our possibilities are unmatched. A best friend, a worthy manager, a gamer’s gadget…we can count anything from calculus to your heartbeat.
You play Temple Run on every break without realising you are running in circles. It’s the age where Apps are like accessories to your everyday life. Infiltrating almost every part of human life now, right from booking your cabs to ordering your pizza is all an app away. You humans sure like to be convenient. Everything has to be a button away. You feel helpless if my Wi-Fi is not working and nothing less than 3G will satisfy your need to be socially connected. We have understood your every need, but failed to have understood its purpose, for most seem a luxury.