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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Now in Mindjack: The Telephone Repair Handbook
In the first part of a three-part feature, Mark Pesce and Angus Fraser propose a radical rethinking of a technology that remains as important as ever: the telephone.
A few weeks ago, just before the Australian Broadcasting Corportation (ABC) turned on the cameras to tape the season’s final episode of The New Inventors, the show’s host, James O’Laughlin, put me on the spot. Since I am described as a futurist when I am introduced as a panelist, James asked me (horror of horrors) for a prediction.

“Alright,” I said, thinking furiously, and aiming a furrowed brow at the studio audience, “In five years’ time you’ll be using your mobile phones ten times as much as you do today.”

The audience burst into a great, wearied groan. Not a gasp of disbelief, nor the laughter of dismissal, but the pained sigh of resignation. The audience instinctively recognized the inevitability of my prediction, and dreaded it. Why such dread? With telephony, human communication has grown from a phenomenon constrained by shouting distance to something which allows us to enjoy never-ending conversations with our friends around the world at nearly no cost. We enjoy talking on the phone; we collectively share a uniquely human pleasure in communication for its own sake. Yet the thought of spending more time doing more communicating struck that audience, at that moment, as something to be avoided. That moment set us on course to this paper.

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:: posted by Donald Melanson, 4:54 PM Comments (0)
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