Are smartphones the future?
There’s no question that smartphones have had a huge impact on our lives. From texting to email to social networks, iPhones and Androids and Lumias have changed the way we work, play, and connect. It’s just so much easier to find directions, get recipes, and check the weather from the digital assistant sitting in your pocket.
But there’s a cost.
Now, instead of plopping down in front of the TV, we fritter it away on Facebook or Twitter. Instead of studying a map and internalizing directions, we let a GPS or Google Maps tell us where to go. Automation is changing how we do what we do and think what we think.
Fifty years ago Marshall McLuhan summarized the situation: “The medium is the message.” As TV, radio, and telephones were transforming the 20th century, McLuhan understood that they not only change how we think but the categories in which we think. People focus on the content, but McLuhan explained that the information is less important that the way it’s delivered. Back then electronic forms of communication were transforming a world shaped by Gutenberg’s printing press; now it’s not just what we think but what we do that’s affected. And the $25 smartphone will extend this revolution to the ends of the earth.
“A new medium is never an addition to an old one, nor does it leave the old one in place,” McLuhan wrote. Cheap, available computing power alters the world in unexpected ways. It’s important for investors to be aware—and exposed—to the changes.
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
Leave a comment if you have any questions—I read them all!