Mobile Phones and Mobile Internet as Drivers for Authenticity

July 28, 2008

Connectivity breeds positive outcomes.

I would like to extend this idea a little to a possible logical (positive conclusion). At first for the rich countries, later on for underdeveloped countries as well. Here goes: The overarching theme of our times in my view is authenticity and self realisation. The mobile phone and mobile internet in this respect is a key driver and enabler/facilitator. Why ?

1) The more we share (the more open we are), the more transparent we are. Open APIs, GPS data, photos, videos, blog posts, tweets, clickstream data and increasingly attention data concerning what we read and watch (see APML) are examples. This sharing (increasingly using our mobile phones) stimulates authenticity and honesty as inconsistenties and lies are exposed to ourselves, our family, our social network, our peers and even the market/public as a whole.

2) Information overload begets us the question of what is important to us ? Choices… Choices are based on your identity (who am I ? what are my values ? what is core to me ?). Filtering (using our mobile phones) based increasing identity awareness stimulates authenticity. If we are overwhelmed with options, possibilities and choices, we are drawn to ourselves.

3) Change is everywhere and seems to speeding up. This creates stress in people. In most cases, people can find their core personality in these circumstances as it makes us naked in our needs and wants. As a result, authenticity comes to the fore. As a mobile phones is present with us almost all the time, it seems likely this will be a key gateway to learn about ourselves in these circumstances.

4) Increasingly, (mobile) technologies are on the market for the automated detection of deception and lies. Examples are Facial Coding techniques integrated into and applied to videos and presentations. If you lie, certain particular facial expressions are salient. These expressions can be logged and analyzed using technology. Increasingly, these techniques will be incorporated into mobile phones. As a result, authenticity becomes not only a valuable choice (see point 1, 2 and 3) but also a necessity in certain instances.

5) Mobile phones transform conversational techniques due to ‘presence’ capabilities. If my loves ones and social network can follow all my updates and actions on Twitter, my blog, Facebook etc…this transforms my real-life interactions. The basic questions are skipped as they are already clear using mobile phones and mobile internet. In the past, the basic questions were a necessity due to the lack of the mentioned apps. As a result, real-life conversations focus on more deep questions related to emotions, feelings and intimacy. Shallow, factual questions are more unnecessary. All of this might stimulate authentic conversations and authenticity.

In short, the mobile phone is not only a fantastic connectivity and thus productivity, growth and empowerment tool but also increasingly IMO a tool for higher levels of trust, authenticity, self realization, transparency and honesty. This is not a sure scenario, just a likely scenario IMO. It is evenly possible to construct an opposite case/scenario with fear (instead of hope and trust) as a key theme as a result of using a mobile phone and mobile internet (including Internet of Things/UbiComp). Fear due to increasing control by classic institutions and even ordinary people. Fear -> more closed systems -> negative outcomes across the board including Less authenticity. Yet again, I am an optimist 🙂

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