The Null Device

The street finds its own uses for things

An article looking at the social impact of mobile phones. From workers being "on call" 24 hours a day, and the increased vagueness of distracted conversations, to users tuning out their environment and sharing their private conversations with strangers, to the phones' double-edged effect on social connection and isolation, an interesting study in unintended consequences: (via Techdirt)

The portable phones, depending on their usage, can by turns be a shield against loneliness or create isolation. At one end of a restaurant, a patron dining alone places his or her order, then dials a friend - alone but not alone. At the other end of the restaurant, a cell phone conversation interrupts a face-to-face dinner conversation - leaving one party dining alone.

I wonder what effect PXE phones with built-in digital cameras capable of taking and sending instant photographs will be; the immediate will be teenagers zapping pictures of themselves and friends gurning bozotically to their friends and the like, but chances are that a synergistic combination of two features, and the human tendency towards all sorts of social interactions, will go in directions nobody has anticipated. As Gibson said, the street finds its own uses for things.

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