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Danger Lampost

Futurist & Technology Consultant,

TEDCRED 20+

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How has the Internet and ubiquity of mobile phones changed your quality of life?

Starting my sixth decade here on planet Earth, I am struck by how younger people these days only know a world with the web and mobile phones. After leaving a job at the mobile phone division of a major software company, I spent the next year doing an experiment: I did not touch a mobile phone for a year. I was struck by how much lonelier our public spaces have become. It can be difficult to meet someone somewhere these days without a mobile phone, or to travel long distances, especially with the disappearance of most pay phones.

Has online dating really improved the quality of our personal relationships? Some studies suggest they have not. What about getting a job? We've had higher employment rates in our past before we ever had an Internet.

On the positive side, we have this powerful tool for gaining knowledge. But then I think, how did Einstein come up with all that stuff about e equals m c squared without any computers? And how come we rely on so-called primitive, indigenous people to teach us about life saving drugs from plants, that we then patent and make billions of dollars from? How did we ever manage to elect a president before the web? Politics is working better now, right?

How old should a child be before they get their first cell phone?

These are extra-ordinarily powerful tools we have and they enable rapid knowledge advancement, meme exchange, democratize people - so many wonderful things and am just scratching the surface. Before we forget how it used to be before the web, are we giving up something really valuable? What's better these days? What's worse?

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Closing Statement from Danger Lampost

I was about to reply to a number of comments and I feel like this conversation was just getting started but it appears to have been closed within a day, I'm not sure why. I tried using the Contact form to ask someone why, and it doesn't work for me. I clicked on the profile for one of the HOSTs here, and that does not bring up their profile page, nor can I find this host in the "Looking for someone?" link on the left. So, left with no other way to ask this question, I am unfortunately putting a plea here for someone to help me understand what happened in case there's something I can do better? Would have liked to continue this more - I think there's quite a bit more to say on the topic (at least for me!)

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    Nov 20 2012: The internet has made life easy for me with access to information, connection with business associates via email, promotion/publicity for film productions, conversations with the best brains on TED........a lot of good.
    But good things always have the potential to be turned to evil by foolishness or misuse. So, on the internet we've got stalkers (as an actor we've got fans sending naked pics to us), rapists, fraudsters, paedophiles, shallow relationships, distracted teens, cyberbullying, hackers, porn addicts, online training for terrorists and so on.

    Only human beings can make the world better than it is, or worse. Not gadgets or inventions or technology.
    • Nov 21 2012: Very Very well put. Completely agree with your point. Its human beings who do the good or the bad.

      This is a subtopic of - "Are we happy than our forefathers"

      I don't know about happiness conmarisons, but given the choice I would have wanted to be alive in these times than back then.

      About, how old a child needs to be to get his first cell phone ... It can be seen to varry widely amongst society. For a middle class Indian like me I got my first cell phone when I joined college ! Then again, my cousin got it during his school days !

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