What we take for granted with mobile technology is remarkable. While we’re busy checking sports scores and posting to Instagram (something Ben Zoldan deplores), the developing world sees mobile devices as a way to find freedom and life-saving medical care.
Yes, mobility is much more than cell phones. I get that. The point is that mobile technology doesn’t have the same meaning everywhere.
Where the West and developed countries have nearly ubiquitous Internet coverage, huge swaths of the world’s population are making the leap from the one-way medium of television to interactive mobile communication. The implications are enormous, as witnessed though the Arab Spring, where young, connected citizens brought down governments that held absolute power just one year ago.
In Africa, mobile technology is the means for delivering HIV/AIDS information and counseling. Government-sponsored programs are reaching populations that previously had no access to healthcare. The results show that connected patients are far more likely to seek medical care early and to follow treatment plans.
We’re spoiled in the West, where children in the U.S. are more likely to have mobile phones than owning a book. As this trend reaches the developing world through inexpensive tablets and smartphones, the result will be a tapping of the collective intelligence of the planet that has never happened before. How will the world change when that happens?
Social connected us, but mobile technology reaches us no matter where we are, from the Himalayas to the Hilton and from Kuala Lampur to the Kalahari.
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