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Just because we can, doesn't mean we should

22 Oct, 2009    (By: Chris Mahoney)

Views: 8400

The world we live in today is a world fuelled by technology and an ever-increasing need to "go one better".  Let's face it, in the world of marketing, that competitive edge is the differentiator that sells.  This drive to offer more features, more value, more fun, more of everything to products and services is seen clearly in the world of the mobile phone and mobile phone sales.

Whether it be more functionality packed into a smaller device, or a more 'flexible' cell phone plan, one thing is for sure - To try to select a new mobile phone and understand the plans that are offered is a difficult task.  It is so challenging, that there are buisnesses emerging to help the consumer understand what handset and plan is best for them.

It doesn't take long before the moral question of "should we" comes into the argument.

  • Should we offer mobile devices with cameras?
  • Should we offer SMS as a means of communication?
  • Should we permit games on mobile devices?
  • How much music is too much for one person?

Let's look at each of these items and see.


Why pick on cameras you might ask?  Well, it is my contention that the increased violence in fights is not a factor of people being able to see what has 'always happened', but is more a factor of people 'peforming' for the camera.  I'm sure some people think "Why, within minutes I can have kicked the ____ out of this guy/girl and be an Internet sensation on YouTube because my friends are capturing it all on their phone!"

Great huh?  And yes, people are now dying more frequently from this kind of activity.


There has been a lot of press and discussion in legal and parlimentary circles about the dangers of SMSing.  No-one really debates the point, but many naive people (who, no doubt, are the people texting while driving) claim that anything will distract you, like changing the radio station on your car.  While they are correct, this activity has been occuring ever since car radios were invented.  To change channels does distract you, but it is typically the press of a button.  Think of an SMS!  That is a process of constructing a message, then typing that message (and confirming you didn't make a mistake), selecting a contact then hitting send - and then, potentially, receivings, reading and replying to the reply to your original message! 

All in all, a considerably more complex process than changing the station on radio, and anyone who thinks or says otherwise is kidding themselves.


Games are wonderful things.  I have often said, if you don't like games on computers (or phones), you just haven't found the right game yet.  But what are they really doing?  There is enough debate about games on the TV and the computer and the anti-social behaviour it drives, but now we are making it so that anyone, anywhere can settle down and play a game.

Is human contact really a dying art?

How Much is Too Much Music

Once there was radio.  You listened to music and enjoyed it.  You were then able to listen to music on demand with cassettes and vinyl records.  Then came CDs and now in a world of MP3, WMAs etc, music is literally at your fingertips.  We are no longer constrained by listening to what someone else is playing, and nor are we limited by the length of a cassette or the disk spaced needed by an MP3.  With virtually no limit on disk space and pirating running rampant, people have any music they want, whenever they want.  How much music can one person really listen to?

Guess what?  I have 340 trillion songs on my phone.  If I listen to them all, I should be finished by the time I'm 1000 years old.

Technology - Where is it going?

Again I ask - Just because we can, should we do it?  Yes the competitive edge is important.  Yes, innovation is essential, but please, help us by putting management tools in place! 

Call Limiter is one attempt to help parent and responsible people curb the simple act of out of control telephone conversations, and it is a start.  But where are the technology companies taking us next? 

We can only hope that when we find out, we will also find out how to turn that new something off.

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