Thursday, May 27, 2004

Mobility costs

Everyday in the UK people are spending more on their mobiles than on their gas and electricity bills, and I feel a bit sick to my stomach when I think about what I will have to pay for using my mobile phone in Europe for the last month.

The rhetoric of wireless liberation - and that of business and marketing - often gloss over the various costs of connectivity, as well as social obstacles to the related promise of cultural production.

It seems obvious, but useful to reiterate, that mobile technologies cost: to source, to produce, to distribute, to own, to use, to discard. Wastefulness takes on new dimensions. Accountability is simultaneously near and far.

(How many design features are created without understanding the ultimate costs of such services?)

It is useful to remind ourselves, to say out loud, that many people cannot afford the privilege of mobility. Ubiquity is still concentrated in certain countries and use is mostly local. Anywhere, anytime does not extend to everyone; decentralisation is not the same as equal distribution.

It is useful to keep in mind that a world of mobility will not always support and forgive a world of immobility. Waiting by the phone, or being out of range, become difficult boundary negotiations.

It is also useful to remember that cultural production requires more than access to technology. It demands that creative processes are socially valued and trusted, that public imagination is encouraged and playfulness is rewarded.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

best regards, nice info
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