[Response] Anthropology of Mobile Phones

Despite the immense leap of improvements in technology since the time Jan Chipchase gave this Ted talk to now, it seems to me that there is one thing that appears to remain the same — the habit of disposing phones when they no longer work or are outdated.

Sustainability seems to be the hot topic nowadays. But sustainability, when it comes to profit, almost always takes a backseat. For one, pushing out new versions of phone guarantees a steady flow of profit for the company, but in light of all the environmental issues and e-waste, what can companies do to play their part to create a more sustainable future? It is almost guaranteed that companies will not seek to reduce the disposability of their products, as that goes against their business objectives and puts their profits at risk. Therefore the big question remains, how can we create sustainable products and yet deal with the problem of disposability at the same time?

Another thing that stood out to me is how humans forget. Jan Chipchase said that while there are things you remember — like the three essential items for survival: money, phone, keys — there are also definitely things that you will forget in favour of the more important details. Hence, according to Jan Chipchase, the best strategy for people to not forget, is having nothing to remember.

While it is not really possible to completely eliminate the list of things to remember, we can certainly reduce them. And this is what mobile phones are currently evolving into — the ultimate solution for everything. What happens with this is that you can forget to bring everything with you but your phone, which therefore pushes mobile phones into the spotlight, something that people will have to make a conscious effort to forget.

Published by


Hello world.

Leave a Reply