What Would Your Life Be Like Without a Mobile Phone?
Yes, people are dying all around the world, governments are picking on their poor and extremist right-wing nutters are blowing stuff up and killing people in some bizarre, deluded ploy to get non right-wing nutters to side with them. But something far more front page-worthy than all those things combined happened today: the 40th anniversary of mobile phones.
That's right – the one material possession more important than any of the other tangible stuff in your life has been around for four decades, vastly improving the world more than any of the other medical or technological developments throughout that time. I mean, can you think of any hepatitis vaccine that allows you to take a picture of your friend and make them look fat? No, I didn't think so. With all that magic in mind, I started to contemplate what the world would be like without mobile phones and got very depressed.
To combat that, I figured I should make some new friends, so I had a walk around London and asked some people a question: What would your life be like without a mobile phone?
Onder, software developer: Without phones, I probably wouldn't be able to live at the level that I do now, you know?
Do you mean life would be harder?
Oh, definitely. Communication these days is everything, isn't it? Communicating with people at work or in your personal life is so important. Without a phone, I wouldn't be able to do the things that I need to do each day.
Would you ever choose to go without a phone?
I tried when I went on holiday for two weeks, but I freaked out after a week and couldn't handle it any more.
Martin, charity worker: I've got a really bad one, but if I don't have one on me, I'm not too bothered about it, to be honest.
Doesn't it make it hard to get in touch with people and do stuff?
Obviously, yes, phones make it easier to find people.
Alright. Do you think the world would break down without mobile phones?
It's possible, but my personal world wouldn't change too much. I do think people are too reliant on their phones and it would be nice to have a normal conversation without someone staring at their phone. They help to create social links through apps like Facebook or Whatsapp, but it's a whole different way of communicating.
That it is.
Lona, works for a sunglasses company: You'd have to plan and organise way in advance.
Do you ever wish that you didn't have one?
Yes. It's the first thing I look at in the morning because of emails and the last thing I look at at night, which is pretty awful.
Do you think it's made us a bit lazy?
Having everything on tap, yeah.
What would you do with all of your free time if you weren't attached to a phone?
I would get to do much more meaningful things – crafts and creative pursuits, that kind of thing.
Sounds like you need to throw your phone away, mate.
Alex, runs a risk management company: I can't imagine my life without a phone. It's funny because I have a five-year-old son who's never been in a world without computers, the internet and iPhones. I think life would be a lot slower, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Do you ever wish your son was growing up in a less technology-based world? Do you think it'll change the way he interacts with people?
The downside of mobiles is the texting. I'm always getting upset with people in my office because I want them to just pick up the phone or have real meetings, but they try and do everything via email and things get lost in translation. You can't beat a phone call and you certainly can't beat face to face.
Do you think phones have made real conversations worse?
In many respects, yes. You'll see people out at the pub or a restaurant looking at their phone or Facebook and it's a bit like, "Are you talking to me or someone else?" But then I do it myself; I'm always checking to see if anything is going on.
Sonya, interior designer: The world would be completely different. I mean, I think I'd communicate a lot less with my friends and family, for a start.
Do you think it would be a good or bad thing if we weren’t so reliant on our mobiles?
I think it was good when mobiles weren’t around because things were slower and you took your time to do things properly, meaning communication was more meaningful. But there's also something good about getting things done quickly.