The media is now preoccupied with the usual experiment in clairvoyance as they try and predict the coming year. Clearly technology will continue to have a large impact as it develops at a faster and faster rate.
But my personal wish would be for a more beneficial use of the technology we already have and the technology to come. I realise that this may well put me in the same category as Don Quixote, but dreams do sometimes come true!
Everything I would like to see happen could be achieved by people having a little more thought for others, but it is likely that they will need a little help from some slightly more socially aware entrepreneurs.
My first wish is for people to learn to leave their mobile telephones at home when they go to public places such as theatres, restaurants etc. How many selfish people have ruined other people’s social experiences by their addiction to their Smartphone?
We already have software that identifies that you are driving a car and can stop the use of the Smartphone on a voluntary basis. Surely someone can use the same principles for places such as theatres, concert halls and restaurants? Alternatively, governments can follow the lead in France where jammers are allowed in cinemas.
My second wish is for a dramatic reduction in the use of the selfie! Part of me finds it abhorrent that the word selfie has even made it into the Oxford Dictionary! However, for it to be a true selfie then the dictionary specifies that it should be posted on social media.
According to research, the average Millennial takes about one selfie every day. Did any of them stop to wonder if their ‘Facebook friends’ really wanted to see 365 photos of them every year! More worryingly, the selfie has relegated some of the most beautiful sites in the world (along with some of the most banal) to the position of irrelevant backgrounds.
Now that facial recognition has become so easily available, could it not me possible for Smartphones to turn the camera back towards the real view after a given number of selfies have been taken?
My third wish is for people to recognise that the telephone was originally developed as a means of communication. We all know that the written word is the least effective method of communication in that it only transmits 7% of the message.
Misunderstanding from texting must soon rank as one of the biggest reasons for people falling out. Moreover, reducing messages to a set of abbreviations is lazy and an insult to our rich languages. If you have to put ‘lol’ after a message in order to stop causing offence then my point is proved!
This brings me to the fourth of my wishes for 2018. When I looked at the second of my wishes I originally had a view that the reversing of the camera on a Smartphone was unnecessary. Perhaps the second camera should be removed completely.
However, that would deny the real reason that the second camera is there. That camera exists primarily for people to communicate whilst seeing the person. By doing this they get to hear the words, get the intonation and see the body language. In other words, get the whole message.
We now live in a global society where relations no longer live in the same or nearby streets. It has to be a damning indictment on our society that, despite having the best communication methods in history, the percentage of lonely people continues to rise. Surely a regular video call would not be too much to ask rather than another selfie?
So my wish for 2018 is that either because of clever entrepreneurs or an improvement in social conscience, the Smartphone is accompanied by Smart people that can watch a performance or eat a meal without wondering what their friends are up to on social media, that people get back to recognising that texting is best for factual information and that the reverse camera is for people to talk to each other, and was not put on the device for the exclusive use of narcissists!
May you have an entrepreneurial 2018, but one that considers those around you as well as yourselves.