24 February 2008

Our cells, ourselves

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Disruptive Thinking
The Washington Post reflects on what it means that there is now one cellphone for every two humans on Earth.

“From essentially zero, we’ve passed a watershed of more than 3.3 billion active cellphones on a planet of some 6.6 billion humans in about 26 years. This is the fastest global diffusion of any technology in human history — faster even than the polio vaccine.” […]

“The mobile phone is the way social cohesion is taking place. It tightens the bonds between us,” says Ling, an American who researches the social consequences of mobile telephony for Telenor, the Oslo-based global phone company. […]

“The cellphone allows us to create that local sphere” that was the hallmark of pre-industrial villages, says Ling. Cellphone circles tend to be small and full of people who “know what you’re up to, who you are, what’s in your refrigerator. That’s a way of being attached to society. It has a socializing effect.”

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