Did you know that while more than two billion people are privileged enough to live in a location that affords them the technological resources to access the internet, this represents less than a third of the global population?
So what happens when everybody gets online?
It’s a sentiment that hasn’t gone unnoticed. In his 2012 address to the Mobile World Congress, Google’s Eric Schmidt proposed this very notion. “For most people the digital revolution has not arrived yet,” he said. “Every revolution begins with a small group of people. Imagine how much better it would be with another five billion people online.”
The steep and continuing growth in technological advancement – in the computing world, this is known as Moore’s Law – has meant that in just the last 20 years we’ve seen pay phones become mobile phones, paper maps become GPS, encylopedias become Wikipedia, books become r-readers and VHS becoming DVDs (and then Bluray).
Personal tech has also exploded. 46 percent of U.S. adults now own a smartphone, and some 65 million tablets – most of which were iPads – were sold in 2011. This ‘on-hand’ gadgetry has helped platforms such as Facebook and Twitter expand dramatically, both in terms of total users and messages sent – more than 250 million tweets are sent every day, and over 200 million people access Facebook from their phone.
And still to come: car apps, mobile wallets and Google Glasses. When and where will it end?
Of course, for many people advancements in technology simply mean more interruptions to their lives. As the world continues to embrace technology and we move nearer and nearer to a truly global online populace, what happens next? What if you don’t want to part of that online world? Can you opt out? And if you can, and the internet of things is all around us, shaping and integrating itself into every aspect of our planet, what exactly does that mean for the untech lives of those who decide that they want no part of it? A peaceful co-existence, or living in sewers and eating ratburgers? Alas, it’s too early to tell, but I will say this: at some point, there’s going to be a big movement against personal technology, and everybody will need to make a decision on which side they stand.
This infographic takes a look at the history and future of personal tech.