I’ve been playing around with my Blackberry this week and exploring its ever increasing potential for making life simpler. Simpler? Well, at least in terms of offloading physical assets (which frees up my space) and automating routine tasks (which frees up my time).
In particular I’ve discovered, somewhat belatedly, that the Google Maps app I downloaded some weeks ago can be integrated with my personal Google account giving me mobile access to my customised maps as well as geographically relevant Google Buzz. There’s also potential for linking with others in my tribe so we can follow each other around Syndey, should I get over the creepiness factor.
Globally Positioned Lifestyles
I also downloaded one of those QR Code scanners, so I can interact with them when I come across them in real life, and downloaded a GPS based car finder to compensate for my notorious lack of direction, particularly in shopping mall car parks.
From my mobile feeds I’ve also been reading of new apps for mobile-based, home-orientated access control systems (so you can ditch your keys) and alternatives to PayPal that allow easier mobile payments in real life (so you can ditch your wallets). Soon it would seem we can run around naked, with nothing but a mobile, and access everything. And once they become small enough to wear around your neck, or skip that and go for subdermal implant, we’ll be able to access everything without carrying anything.
So I find myself reflecting more and more on the New Scientist prediction that augmented cities will be upon us within a decade. Mobile computing, as it becomes more and more integrated into everyday activity, promises us a future when we’ll be never offline unless we’re on an electronic fast.
Fast Culture meets Slow Culture
In the same timeframe, however, I’ve also been coming across people whom, much to my shock, get confused by lifts in multistorey buildings and find automatic doors a novelty. While space is decreasing in relevance culturally, time is increasing in relevance culturally. I think its increasingly relevant to speak of fast culture and slow culture in the same way we talk about local culture and foreign culture. For if my experience is any guide, slow adopters and fast adopters increasingly exerience culture shock when they cross paths. We live in different worlds, even though they’re side by side. Parallel universes running at different speeds.