Mobile technology. It’s changing rapidly, no doubt about it. But is this a temporary surge, or is the pace going to continue? What if I told you it’s going to get even faster? And then get faster again. And not stop. Ever.
Key Milestones In Mobile Technology
Ridiculous? Consider these key developments in mobile technology:
- 1876 – Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.
- 1946 – first telephone call from a car.
- 1973 – first cell phone call.
- 1985 – first mobile network in the UK (Vodafone).
- 1991 – first GSM (digital) cell phone.
- 1997 – birth of the camera phone.
- 1998 – birth of the MP3 player.
- 2000 – first Symbian smartphone.
- 2001 – first commercial 3G network.
- 2003 – first phone with a video camera.
- 2007 – the original iPhone.
- 2008 – first Android smartphone.
- 2010 – first Windows Phone smartphone.
- 2010 – launch of the original iPad.
- 2011 – first cell phone with a dual core processor.
- 2012 – first cell phone with a quad core processor.
- 2012 – first 4G network in the UK.
You could argue that different events ought to be included in this list, but that’s not the point. The events themselves aren’t the point. The point is the dates. The real point is the gap between the dates. The developments are coming quicker and quicker.
Mobile Technology Is Accelerating
It no longer takes years or decades for technology to change. It takes months. Why’s that? Because technology develops at an exponential rate. Moore’s law is well known in the computing world. It states that computing power doubles roughly every two years. We see this rate of progress happening everywhere in technology. Not just now, but for hundreds of years since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Arguably since the dawn of mankind itself, give or take the odd period of dark ages (even then, the knowledge of the classical world passed to the Middle East.)
Why Technology Accelerates
Why does technology accelerate? It’s simple. New inventions make it possible to do more. If you can do more, you can invent new stuff quicker. Then you can do even more and invent even more new stuff. Think about how computers enable modern engineers to achieve vastly more than their counterparts a hundred years ago. Think how much easier it is to find information now that we have the internet.
The Technological Singularity
What happens when key developments in technology no longer take years or months, but weeks? What happens when they take days? Well, no one can know for sure. But it certainly means that many ideas we know from sci-fi will become reality. The good old Star Trek Communicator has already become a reality of course – it’s the cell phone. And in fact our modern phones can do far more than the simple voice communication envisaged for the 23rd century. What about computers we can talk to? Did someone mention Siri? Videoconferencing is another far-fetched idea that is now commonplace. If technology keeps advancing in the way I’m describing, almost anything that fits within the laws of physics and biology could become possible.
If you don’t find this prospect either tremendously exciting or absolutely terrifying, then you really haven’t been paying attention.
And if you don’t think this is actually happening, you’re in for some profound future shock in the years to come.