On a recent trip to Seattle, I once again realized just how amazing it is to live in The Friggin’ Future. With an iPhone 3GS (basically an extension of my arm at this point), I was able to:
•get walking directions from airport to hotel, around the city and back again, including light rail and bus routes with scheduled times (Maps, OneBusAway)
•consult user-submitted restaurant recommendations (Yelp)
•track spending (iBank)
•record the entirety of a concert (Camera) (don’t worry, it was w00tstock and was released under a Creative Commons license)
•keep hundreds of friends and well-wishers up to date up to the minute on happenings (Tweetie)
(I didn’t even get into really fancy stuff like geotracking the whole trip via Dopplr, mostly because I only just discovered Dopplr today. I TOTALLY would have though)
As much as this sort of thing has become commonplace, I can’t help but stop and marvel at times. It wasn’t terribly long ago that the notion of a pocket-sized device that could accomplish all these feats was in the realm of science fiction. But even the tricorders of Star Trek future history are primitive when compared to what has actually been created. The creators of that program could not have conceived of a worldwide network with virtually unlimited information at our fingertips (if you recall, most Treks had all their data stored locally on computers onboard their starships, basically servers with warp drive; I suppose if your ship can outrun data transfer speeds, a long-range Wi-Fi network might become a thing of novelty… but as is so often the case when Star Trek comes up, I digress).
Though I didn’t realize it when I bought my first iPhone in 2007, the device has become an absolute necessity in my life. It is my lifeline to the outside world on a level of profundity that a landline telephone could never hope to achieve. True, it has been a steady source of content consumption as my portable car stereo and TV (though the iPad has taken over the latter function with gusto), but it’s also the primary connection through which I socialize with a myriad of friends and well-wishers online. Some might express concern at eschewing real relationships for so-called “fake” ones with Internet folk, but I fail to see the distinction when the only difference is the means with which we communicate.
I’ve been obsessing a bit lately over one Amber Case, cyborg anthropologist, futurist and Singularity enthusiast (so perhaps you can understand my obsession). She argues that everyone in this modern age is a cyborg, as we all utilize technology to some degree to augment our physical bodies. It’s a compelling thought experiment (see more in her entertaining and informative lecture on prosthetic culture), and I hope it makes everyone realize the importance of devices like the iPhone (or your brand of choice) in their daily lives. Technology interconnects us on a deep level, and connects us all to something much bigger than ourselves.
And it’s exciting to live in a time where we can take it for granted. That’s when you know it’s The Friggin’ Future.
Oh yeah, add another bullet point for:
•update blog (WordPress)