Five ways mobile phones have revolutionised the way we live
In our modern world, mobile phones have become something of a fifth limb, an appendage so inherent that we take them for granted. But with all this advanced technology at our fingertips, it’s worth taking a moment to consider how far we have come. Forgetting for a moment some of the dangers that come with all-consuming mobile addictions, here are five areas in which phones have changed everyday life for the better.
When it comes to getting around, our mobiles have brought us into an age of adventure. Thanks to built-in navigation features on smartphones and the wonders of software such as Google Maps and its many hacks, we no longer have to worry about getting lost in the vast urban jungle – or even the literal jungle, signal dependent. Where previous generations were unfolding paper maps across their dashboards, we have a system that tracks us as we move. Admittedly, this is exciting and disconcerting in equal measure.
When you take a moment to stop and think, it’s incredible what has been achieved since the visible-pixel days of Snake. With incredible processing speeds, our mobiles are now able to deliver incredible graphics and all manner of applications, from complex puzzle challenges to high-res RPGs, from the online casino to interactive quizzes that enable you to compete against your friends in different countries and time zones.
The most recent releases from Apple, Samsung and Huawei, to name a few, offer jaw-droppingly sharp photo-capabilities, with multiple cameras and endless effects. It’s no longer necessary to spend all your money on a DSLR: the quality, depth and richness of colour are so advanced that any amateur photographer – and perhaps even a professional – would struggle to notice the difference. What’s more, we can upload straight to the cloud and enhance images easily, without developing film or manually cutting them together. Most notable, perhaps, is the evolution of the selfie camera.
As a result of the cameras on phones, it’s also possible to use apps to scan all manner of barcodes and labels for instant identification or for extra information and explanations at exhibitions and events. And it works in reverse, too: by bringing up unique QR codes on your own phone you can store tickets for journeys and gigs without wasting paper, ink or time. Audio scanning is just as revelatory with phones that can recognise virtually any song that you hear over the radio.
Artificial intelligence has now become so intuitive that we effectively carry around a personal assistant in our pockets. Siri and Alexa can instantaneously search the entire internet to find a piece of information, and you can set alarms and reminders, find routes and send messages without touching the keypad. They have even been developed to have a sense of humour, with programmed responses to certain questions such as “where’s the best place to hide a body?” We don’t really need to know how or why the first person discovered this.
The editorial unit