People sometimes think back to watching Tomorrow’s World in the 70s and 80s and ask “where is my jet pack?”. Jet packs are and always were obviously useless – fine if you were the only one with one, a nightmare if everyone was zooming round the skies on one.
Most of us carry around more communications power and information than was available to world leaders little more than 25 years ago or was used to do things like the Apollo Space Program. Yes, iPhones and their Android brethren are undeniably brilliant. I’ve done a couple of posts on this blog using the WordPress iPhone app. All the photos on here were taken with an iPhone. I’ve got detailed statistics of the different runs I did on my ski holiday (which made me realise that I probably ought to wear a helmet next time if I’m going to hurl myself down mountains at 40mph). I can check the marine biology facts in Octonauts using wikipedia while watching with OMB. I can find the YouTube video of Tom Noddy blowing square bubbles on the Paul Daniels Magic Show from the 80s to demonstrate to OMB that it is possible (and now I can even show the iPlayer clip of him doing it again on Marcus du Sautoy’s “The Code”). I can have handy enough access to a comprehensive dictionary to make reading Will Self articles easier.
Of course, smartphones don’t make their users any more brilliant if they are mainly used for trying to get a high score on Bejeweled, wiping out little green pigs on Angry Birds or feeding sweets to a monster on Cut the Rope. Although those games are brilliant too.
(thanks to http://xkcd.com/ for demonstrating that anything I’ve thought of has probably been thought of by someone else more talented already)