« Net Smart Future Salon with Howard Rheingold, April 11 | Main | Great From The Start Book was influenced by our Future Salon »



I don't find it surprising that teohlcnogy, originally meant for military use, is now being used by everyday people to keep in touch. People are closest in time of distress or against a common enemy or threat (nuclear war), as most of the time they cannot support themselves and have to rely on others for help. It is more beneficial for them to cooperate instead of acting on their own accord. To achieve this cooperation, the communication between them people must be quickly and easily accomplished. The same is true in less life-threatening situations. Drivers flash their headlights at oncoming traffic to notify others of a hiding cop, armed with radar, the communication teohlcnogy used should provide the means for notifying people of approaching danger in a fast, easy and preferably relatively stealth way. Although the headlight blinking can suffice for this example, in other cases, such as Rheingold's example of free riders notifying each other where train conductors are so they can avoid paying the fair, other means of communication must be used since the free rider and the person keeping the lookout are not in the same location. Calling the person may arouse suspicion as others may overhear the conversation and won't be too happy about having to pay the fair while others get away with riding for free. That's where text messaging comes in. I don't quite get people sending random good morning and how are you text messages to each other to keep in touch. Maybe because I have a very small circle of friends with whom I communicate primarily on the actual PC rather than a cell phone, but even when I don't have access to a computer it's just not part of my routine. Now, sending my friends tips about traffic conditions, hiding cops, or special events is different. A few months ago, TechCrunch covered a service that notifies you of nearby cops using GPS on your phone and lets you report cop sightings to help other drivers using the service. Obviously this is not something that would save lives as in the case of the military coming up with a new communication concept in case of nuclear war, but it operates on the same principle of people networking together toward a common good keeping each other out of danger, no matter the threat level. Communication teohlcnogy behaves in the same way and must fulfill the same set of requirements, whether it is for military use or for use between a few friends or relatives. The only difference is that in case of civilian use, the danger level is significantly lower (in most cases).


I will say that I have to agree with Rheingold and his research, because if it’s one thing that I’ve learned over the years, and I am guilty of this myself, is that we are a society that is definitely very connected through our mobile devices. Thanks the invention of the computer and the internet, people have been able to connect themselves to the world in ways never thought possible, and that has only evolved with the development of mobile devices like cell phones and PDA’s. What amazes me and even scares me to an extant is how early some countries have had this technology. For the past year I have been taking the mobile lab classes here at the university and have been there to hear about some of the new ideas that we are trying to develop. Now where I knew that other countries like the UK and Japan already had better devices, it was their technology that I was unaware of. I’m hear reading about other nations having already developed the new ideas, not months before us, but years. Smart Mobs tells us about how teens and young adults in both Japan and Finland use their mobile devices to connect and locate their friends through games using GPS-like methods. It tells us about how President Joseph Estrada of the Philippines lost power through the use of text messaging. It tells us even more, but what really grabbed was how early all of this was happening. All of this was done in 2001. If all of these countries were utilizing that kind of technology in ’01, what was America doing? When you have countries that are already connecting their people through mobile means that early, you have to wonder where they are now, and just how far they are ahead of us here in the US. I will be the first to admit that like many others, I am as connected to my cell as they are, but am I anywhere near as connected as people in other countries. I just can’t help but wonder what the future holds for us here in the U.S. when we are consistently that behind in technology.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)