Back when mobile phones just arrived on the market, it was all the rage to walk around with the Nokia brick in your hand. As the years went by, the more screens you had, the higher your status; laptop, tablet, phone, smart watch – the more you had, the better.
Time and again though, what happens after ubiquity? Yes, you guessed it, the exact inverse. It’s the poor who are living, learning, and dying by screens because the rich are opting for real people. A single mom in the Bronx can’t afford a governess like Maria in the Sound of Music, but she sure can buy a cheap tablet and have her child be babysat by educational programs and videos.
Similarly, an elderly man in Frankfurt has a human carer, whereas his peers in Gelsenkirchen are being kept company by an augmented reality avatar, which alerts emergency services when it notes the absence of several predetermined signs of life.
The International Labour Organization released new statistics earlier today, which indicate that workers in OECD countries are spending half as much time, than ten years ago, in front of their computers. No, they’re not working less per se, but anything rote, that can be done remote, is offloaded to someone in a satellite office in a developing country like the Philippines or Chile.
An alternative, for the well-heeled, is the latest in mobile gadgets, which means you only have to speak or think to interact with your network, instead of peering into a screen. If you’re still sitting in front of your computer for 8-10 hours per day, then you have the equivalent of an Industrial Age factory job. You might want to change that, asap.