The advent of the smartphone marked the combining of human and gadgets. These devices might not be embedded into our forearms just yet, but they have fundamentally changed how we interact and explore over the past decade. Today, they even augment the world itself. We're each wholly devoted to these flat rectangle bars, rarely let them out of our grasp or, at the very least, they are rarely out of reach.
Ever since the first generation iPhone, released in 2007, the smartphone has been transforming from novelty to necessity. As our digital addiction grew, so did our dependence on intangible tools—apps.
Today the smartphone is practically as necessary to humans as oxygen. It can quickly call up any crumb of knowledge discovered in human history, letting us answer "How to calculate the length of a circle" via Google and end debates on any topic in seconds. It lets us produce art, document global events and let our voices be heard at any instance from anywhere. It can help us find like-minded people, organize online meetups across borders on special days, save and share our memories, even translate from an alphabet that does not exist anymore—or encourage us to hang in uncertainty as we endlessly hunt for "Likes". It has taken over our wallets and stereos, diaries and sketchbooks, cameras and maps, newspapers and game consoles. Apps transform our smartphones into a book, a TV remote, or a carpenter’s level.
Over the past thirteen years, the smartphone has created an “always online” generation, priming us to respond to every digital stimulation. When 5G connectivity provides nanosecond connectivity, the capabilities of these tiny devices will grow, becoming an extension of ourselves on our way to the stars.
This is how most of us look from two to ten hours a day
to the Stars
Published with the support of COBERM, a joint initiative of the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the organization Chai Khana and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of either the EU or UNDP.