In a recent special report, Time magazine reported on the critical ways that technology, specifically mobile devices, are changing the world. And the impact is far reaching — from the personal, practical level to a global level. According to the editors of Time, here are the ten ways that mobile technology is changing our world:
1. Changing elections: more efficient way of registering voters, obtaining donations and voter information, locating local rallies or polling sites, signing up for voter-canvassing duty, faster and more targeted campaign messages.
2. Changing philanthropy: since every text is read, the mobile device becomes a powerful tool for activism, community organization, advocating social or political reform, and raising money for worthy causes.
3. Changing commerce: the smart phone can process transactions without cash — pay by phone — replacing credit cards and legal tender.
4. Changing the way to fight crime: smart phones can track a user’s life with amazing detail and accuracy: where you’ve been, what you bought, who you called. This digital breadcrumb trail is available to law enforcement agencies that can use that information to solve crimes. Of course this creates a nightmare for smart phone providers to develop customer privacy policies that will protect their customers.
5. Changing the way we communicate: the smart phone allows people to share their thoughts and lives via text, email, share photos or videos in real time. Having a smart phone nearby, even during sleep, means that people have never been more accessible and connected than ever before.
6. Changing how even the most remote areas get connected to the world: it is getting increasingly difficult to get off the grid, as communication companies blanket the U.S. and the world with cell-phone towers.
7. Changing how we document the world: the ubiquitous smart phone is the device of choice for people, now including professionals like journalists and photographer, to record what is happening as history unfolds. Sales of digital cameras and camcorders have dropped dramatically over the past several years.
8. Changing the world of education: with internet access, the mobile device is a virtual library containing the most comprehensive information about the world. Schools are turning to mobile devices to replace bulky and expensive textbooks. Students use mobile devices for in-class learning, doing their homework, and for collaborating on school projects.
9. Changing the way healthcare is delivered to remote areas: smart phones allow health care workers to report on and obtain medical assistance to remote areas in developing nations to prevent deadly outbreaks of diseases.
10. Changing medicine: mobile devices help doctors provide better patient care by allowing them faster access to medical tests and x-rays and access to medical databases to make more accurate diagnoses and develop effective treatment plans., The devices also help doctors document cases in the office and in the field.
For further reading: Time Magazine. The Wireless Issue: 10 Ways Your Phone is Changing the World (August 27, 2012).