Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Posse Tui Audis Mei Nunc

Anyone who has a cell phone (which is to say all of us) must read Christine Rosen's article regarding their impact on us, our society and our relationships. The fact that I and people my age - who have probably only had cell phones for a decade - cannot remember how they used to meet and communicate prior to owning one would seem to indicate that this commonplace device that we take for granted should be exposed to exactly the kind of scrutiny that Ms. Rosen applies.

The impacts are not as yet fully realized. Cell phone interfaces are adequate to call someone, but have not evolved to tap their true potential; they are electronic indicators of our presence. A modified device will no doubt someday be our wallet cum credit card, daily planner, phone book, house keys and ID card. That is when the truly visible changes upon our daily routines will come to pass.

Those may be more visually noticeable, but Ms Rosen would argue that the biggest impacts on our psychology and social relationships has already occurred. The dismissal of public space when we are on the phone, the elimination of solitude except by design, these may not be as flashy as paying for your groceries by grabbing food and walking out, pressing a button on your cell along the way, but may indeed be far more profound.

Thanks to The Volokh Conspiracy for the link to Ms. Rosen's article


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