When considering whether digital health clinics will ever seriously take off, one could ask the further question of just how much access the digital consumer will have to information via new technologies and innovations in the years to come. This surely must be dependent on how media corporations assess our appetite. And how might they do this? And how great might our appetites turn out to be?
An example of how consumers and the industry are interconnected in a symbiotic relationship is the invention of Google Glasses, which hits the market in 2014, which grew out of a perceived need for information on the go. At first, audiences had a habit of looking at what the media does to them. Later, the standpoint turned to what audiences do with the media. These concepts currently co-exist with a chance of collision; the desire for Google Glasses suggests that people are entranced by a convergence culture. In other words, we want to share everything about us in order to represent ourselves, while also being given the opportunity to share.
It may be in the future that certain technological accessories could be necessary in order to compete in the digital rat race. Imagine if people required specialised eye glasses and earpieces to access information at speed while multitasking. The transcription from lens to microchip and subsequent transfer to all media platforms of choice could be essential for workers and citizens of the future. It could put an end to the age-old Babylonian problem of people speaking different languages because an intelligent microphone would translate everything into the language of choice.
The sheer appetite for more and more information is never so obvious as when humans talking to each other are accessing their digital technologies simultaneously. Perhaps it’s more than a hunger for knowledge, perhaps it’s also about the difficulties in the human interaction going on. It’s impossible to deny that technology can be used in an unhelpful way to promote criminal or anti-social behaviour. A strong example of this is the case of the recent riots stimulated by the shooting of Mark Duggan in North London which went onto becoming a nationwide looting spree by virtue of people using Blackberry Messenger. An even more lethal example with wide-reaching implications has been the Arab Spring which led to devastating regime change in a number of countries and thus has innovated the highly debated idea of Citizen Journalism.
The frequency at which information is accessed by people using smart phone technology and applications seem to be on the rise. Over a billion apps have been downloaded from Apple’s App Store alone. Plus, the fact that any blog or story can be accessed through the tap of a screen has meant that the ease of performance has revolutionised and sent viral the stories themselves giving the protagonist their 15 minutes of fame (thank you Andy Warhol).
An innovation which appears to herald quite a change in smart phone technology is Apple’s Siri. It’s the part of an operating system which makes it interactive, and literally speaks to you when spoken to. Currently, it waits for you to initiate a request, but what if it didn’t? Perhaps one day, it might anticipate you and push information related to your previous searches even though you hadn’t requested it. This is currently happening through Summly and Flipboard which are smart phone applications. Potentially, apps like these could be incorporated and integrated in smart phone systems. These could harvest a massive diet of information and store it in one place ready to blast it at the individual.
An individual currently using media platforms could potentially slip into a state of information desire which could overload into ‘Infomania’. Information about ‘Infomaniacs’ is what might drive drive corporations. They already know that people want information and instant gratification from it. The speed at which the volume of news about Oscar Pistorious came out, illustrated that we were quite satisfied with ‘Trial By Twitter’.
The ratio of smart phones to human beings on the planet has never been greater and the corporations know from their that we like smart, but we’re always looking for smarter. One only has to see the queue outside an Apple Store on the eve of a new release to sense the company’s satisfaction at the willing consumption on display. Consumers want faster better and smarter but know it won’t be cheaper. If a device is yet smarter, we’d pay yet more; demand drives supply clearly and our demands don’t show any signs of diminishing, despite the global economic downturn. We are as impressed with smart phones as phones as cavemen with fire.
Obviously, this is just a hypothesis, but is this the future of operating systems in phones? Where it sees what we like and pushes more relevant information and is therefore, essentially becoming, smarter? And furthermore, forever feeding an Infomaniac’s never-empty appetite?
This article was first posted on March 18, 2013