Sunday, December 26, 2010
The telephone ate the internet and the internet ate everything else.
I've been thinking alot about the notion that technologies carry an essence. One that can be observed historically via a time line and then perceived as a whole. Meaning;scratching on walls gave birth to writing on scrolls, which eventually led to the fabrication of books and then books branched off to magazines etc; In some cases the evolution stacks on top of its predecessor, branching off at some points, while the predecessor remains intact and still valid. Like in the above mentioned example BOOKS would be where this form of communicating and chronicling reached its peak. Its value remained strong despite the various branch offs it spawned, therfore BOOK is the whole. The BOOK carries the essence of that timeline.
My next example is the TELEPHONE. The telephone clearly had predecessors like the telegraph and perhaps morse code, but it's communicative essence peaked with the telephone. The telephone evolved over the years to the cordless phone and eventually the cell phone, but where the telephone surpasses other evolved technologies was in its absorption of neighboring technologies. It absorbed the television, the internet, and music by way of consuming the power of the internet. In the early stages of development the telephone, radio and television were 3 great new technologies that shaped our culture and enhanced many peoples standard of living. They existed seperately like the clock and the automobile. The telephone consumed the CLOCK first and then became increasingly powerful. Its usefulness and compact-ability took precedent over the other technologies quickly. Eventually the phone became something everyone needed to carry with them at all times and now something so powerful it consumed the massively powerful INTERNET as well.
No matter how great the internet gets, it will always be linked now to the phone. We want all the same information on our phone that we can get on our home computer. There was some concern over whether the internet would kill the telephone...Im not sure that's even possible. There are certainly some benefits to eliminating the land line and replacing it with a broadband connection via your home computer, but once the pocket computer merges with the telephone and essentially offers the same style service that the phone does, it becomes a telephone. It could eliminate all prior technologies used by the cellphone and replace with its own technologies, but if you are still communicating in the same way (talking or texting) you are using a telephone in one of its forms.
I-pads and I-pods and I-touches are great tools individually but their existence will always share space with a phone that can do it all. That is until either we all become telepathic or our technology evolves to the point of THE SINGULARITY.