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A modern day mantra: “My device doesn’t control me”

When was the last time you went for a walk without your phone? Better still, left it purposely at home while you and your friends went out for the whole day? Yep, thought so, never.

A person taking a picture on an iphone

You’re like me, and everyone else for that matter. Our devices have become another appendage, something we can’t do without.

My children aged 8 and 10, don’t have phones, and wherever possible I urge them to leave their tablets behind when we go out for the day, so they can verbally socialise and explore without their eyes fixated on a screen. So, why can’t I?

I can remember life without smartphones, and before that, mobiles. I’m nostalgic for those days when I wasn’t tempted to check my emails 24/7, when I wasn’t endlessly scrolling through my Instagram feeling envious of others seemingly more fabulous lives. Why do we all feel the need to catalogue even the most humdrum of daily activities through our various social feeds (?!). Was life really so uninteresting without them?

A few weeks back I attended a 2014 Digital Trends event. No.5 on the predications was Pre-Emptive Computing. Described as ‘an artificial intelligence that was going to positively impact our lives’, this trend is based on a “kind of mathematical hunch” and served to you on your smartphone. The “thinking” itself is done by servers running algorithms designed to track and predict aspects of your life, such as where you go, where you shop and what you like, but unlike the alerts you’ve probably already set up , the pre-emptive notification’s will be based on intelligent guesses made by the “cloud-based brains”. Your phone will tell you where you should be going, based on where you’ve been in the past or where other people ‘like you’ have gone before. Scary huh…it seems that your Samsung or iPhone know you better than you know yourself. And I’m not like everyone else! I’m me! (or at least that’s what I’d like to believe).

This pre-emptive computing is already in existence through the latest version of Foursquare. The app figures out where you are, notes how long you’ve been there and will analyse and suggest where you might want to go next. Google does the same thing with Now, which amalgamates your historical, location and preference data to then guess what information you need right now.

I don’t think I want to be told where I want go by a ‘brain in the cloud’. If I did, I’d never experience anything new. I’d be doing the same things over and over again.

As an adult human being why shouldn’t I act like a child and explore each of my senses, be curious for something out of my usual taste or comfort zone. This is the stuff which allows us to live, be happy and get excited.

Most of us have forgotten what it is to be curious. Life would be dull if we did the same things every time we went out, and for work what if we as a creative agency didn’t experiment, workshop and explore.

I’m not brave enough to be without a communication device for a whole night out, but I do think I will make it a habit to leave my phone in my bag while I’m experiencing my evening, trying something extraordinary and new, only using my phone for its chief purpose, to call a cab and text my husband at the end of my adventurous evening.

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