Sunday, February 29, 2004

All mobile, all the time

In The Auto and The Mobile, Howard Rheingold asks an interesting question:

How can we think about long-term impacts [of mobile telephony]? ... I invite readers to join me in using what we now know about the long-term impact of the automobile as a lens for getting a long view of the mobile telephone's future social impacts ...

What social changes did the automobile make possible, accelerate, amplify? How does the mobile device - telephone or PDA - parallel those changes, or not?

Readers have commented on everything from changes in social status, including some excellent thoughts on the status of the individual and isolating (?) "bubbles," to the global flows of tantalum and the trouble with ubiquitous technology pushers, to the degree of human casualty accepted as part of the freedom associated with car culture.

In the last comment, Howard asks the question that drives all my research: where can we intervene to avoid potential ill effects and encourage wonderful possibilities? And suggests the same points I do: design and social use/practice.

What do you think?

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