Wk3: Anthropology of Mobile Phones

One of the points that Chipchase  has mentioned was that the top 3 things that people carry are: Mobile phones, keys and money. This is across cultures, ages and genders.

Despite this being many years ago, where keys provide security, phones connectivity and money basic necessities, in today’s context it is the same, yet different. How different? Well, as discussed in class the rise of e-Payment systems, notably in China, where WeChat rules. WeChat app can be used for anything under the sun, buying groceries to transferring money from one person to another. Keys on the other hand, can be digitized as well. Just install the hardware systems that can be linked to apps on the phone, and suddenly your car and home doors can be opened with your phone.

Ultimately, the central entity for all these is the phone. The phone has evolved from its giant humble beginnings to its sleek smartphone of today. Can it be displaced? Just as television sets can be displaced by personal laptops for its convenience to watch the same drama series, phones can be displaced as well. However, with today’s technology, the smartphone seems to be cementing its grip as the source of technology.


The second is on delegation. In the context of delegation, mobile phones allow us to transcend across space and time. It helps us overcome our limitations. It is instantaneous. It gives immediate satisfaction.


Third is that phones allow us to innovate. In today’s context, where phone apps are abundant, and chat or messaging apps are becoming a platform for apps. It will be likely to continue to be a great source of innovation.

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