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7 Ways We’re Slowly Becoming Our Phones

7 Ways We’re Slowly Becoming Our Phones

In early 2014, Chief Justice John Roberts, writing on behalf of the Supreme Court in the landmark case of Riley v. California, noted that cell phones had become “such a pervasive and insistent part of daily life that the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy.” While this is a tickling and imaginative thought, it makes you wonder: do Justice Roberts’ comments actually hold any weight?

Consider this: 91% of the US adult population currently owns a cell phone, of which 61% are smartphones. In fact, while smartphones are only about half as common, cell phones are just as common in Nigeria and South Africa, with about 90% of adults in those countries owning mobile devices. These little devices have become so integral to functioning in civilized societies that it’s hard to imagine existing in them without one. Think about it. If you’ve ever “felt naked” without your phone, you know what I’m talking about. But c’mon–cellphones as an important feature of human anatomy? Well… yes.

According to Marguerite Reardon, writing for CNet, some experts believe that “embeddable ‘phones’ or devices that are implanted in the body that use wireless technology could be commercially available by 2023.” Still need some convincing?

Here are 7 ways we’re slowly becoming one with our phones.

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1. Human Civilization is Already Dependent on the Internet and Phones

A lot of people like to debate whether or our growing societal dependence on the internet is a good thing or not. Whatever your stance on the issue, it’s hard to hide from the facts–if the internet were to shut down globally for even just a measly 48 hours, we’d probably see food shortages, rioting, and massive amounts of chaos. This is because the internet helps to run almost everything, including business inventories, transportation schedules, financial payments, etc. Interestingly, we already have an idea of what an internet outage would look like. In 2007, somebody accidentally cut a fiber optic trunk line in Phoenix, AZ, and ended up knocking out much of the cellular and internet service throughout the state. Reddit user Splorinstuff recounts his experience:

“While in total it was probably less than 12 hours, panic was pretty clear. Banks shut their doors and dropped their bars for protection. Grocery stores told people not to come in unless they showed cash at the door. People were running all over trying to get money and supplies. Extend that 12 to 48 and you’ll have a real problem. Infrastructure begins to shut down and people start feeling actual fear. Financial loss starts to seem relatively insignificant to the other effects.”

Our relationship with the internet isn’t all doom and gloom, though. Think about all of the things that the world wide web has made possible. We have global commerce. We are able to text, call, Tweet, or Skype anybody from almost anywhere on the planet. We can learn anything at a moment’s notice. You’re able to read this article right now. Arguing whether or not societal dependence on the internet is a good or bad thing is about as pointless as arguing whether civilization’s dependence on other technologies like electricity or fossil fuels is good or bad. These things just are! Having all of the world’s information at our fingertips has changed us in incredible ways, and will continue to shape us in the future going forward–so much so that we might just want all of the world’s information in our fingertips…

2. Smartphones Are Already Pushing the Limits of Technology

Another indicator that we are slowly becoming our phones is that we focus on them more than almost any other piece of consumer technology. Every September, for example, the whole world turns its focus on Apple (AAPL) to see what new advancements will be made to the iPhone (No headphone jack?! What?!). But it’s not just Apple anymore that’s driving the smartphone race anymore. Samsung (SSNLF) has been doing extremely well with its Galaxy phones, and Google (GOOG) even has its new Pixel offerings available to the public. The problem is that most of these phones pretty much all do the same thing. Sure one may have different camera specs, screen sizes, or color of brushed aluminum–but innovation in the smartphone field has died considerably in the last couple of years. While Samsung has recently placed patents on really cool smartphone tech, including plans for flexible screens, built-in projectors, and even prototype, Star Wars-esque hologram displays, the fact is that we’ve reached peak smartphone. If history is any indicator, these pieces of tech are going to have to undergo a period of renaissance and innovation before their design and capabilities are exciting to the public again. So maybe it’s time we switch our focus from the question “how can we change the smartphone?” to “how can the smartphone change the world?”

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3. They’re Already Becoming Our Cars

Intel CEO Brain Krzanich has already put a lot of thought into how smartphones can change the world–and he’s convinced that smart cars are how that change will come around. At a tech conference last July, Krzanich made a speech underlining his belief that self-driving vehicles that will use data to drive themselves represent the next frontier of mobile business. He may be right. Mobile is infiltrating our vehicles already, as those who are too busy to put their phones away while driving is turning to Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto apps, which essentially turn vehicles into very large smartphones. Additionally, Cambridge University researchers are attempting to build software that “would turn a smartphone into an even more versatile device, one that would be able to bring self-driving abilities to future cars,” according to BGR. “Humans can drive using vision alone,” says Cambridge researcher Alex Kendell. “We’re hoping to teach a machine to see, to be able to do the same thing.” Check out their video, “Teaching Machines to See,” below.

4. They’re Already Augmenting Reality

There was once a time that we all thought Google Glass would be huge. This flopped for a number of reasons, one of those being that nobody wants to wear a goofy pair of non-glasses on their face all the time–but it didn’t flop because nobody was interested in what Glass provided, namely augmented reality (AR). Pokemon Go is one of the biggest pieces of evidence showing that the world is ready for and wants AR, even if most investors are clueless about AR’s potential. The point is that smartphones are already able to augment reality for us, the only thing we need to do is point the on-device camera at the world–or come up with some kind of wearable pair of glasses or contact lenses that can pair with and stream data from the smartphone itself. With this type of setup, you’d have a sort of HUD at all times that could display your location, your heart rate, stock market information, incoming messages–basically whatever you want to be displayed. Not only that, but landmarks could contain “floating” digital information too. With the way that smartphones are becoming able to recognize the world around us just as well as, if not better than humans are, it’s not that farfetched to think we’d want to form a permanent symbiotic relationship with this type of tech.

5. They’re Becoming More Like People Every Day

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    For awhile now Siri has lived inside of our iPhones, a disembodied voice without much personality and sometimes frustrating to talk to. Yet, we still talk to her, and we’re doing it more and more often. In 2015, up to 20 percent of all searches on the internet were voice searches. Unfortunately, Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and all of the other ethereal personal assistants have a long way to go before we sing their praises or even begin to recognize them as intelligent. Perhaps this is why Google believes AI is the next front in the smartphone wars. It’s not just Google either. Earlier this year, researchers at MIT created a low-power neural-network chip they’ve named Eyeriss that consumes ten times less power than a mobile GPU. This essentially means that smartphone-based AI tasks are much closer than many people realize. In fact, at the end of 2015, CNN ran an article predicting that “artificial intelligence and virtual reality headsets, not your smartphone, could be the way you access entertainment, apps, and services by the end of the decade.” Of course, they never mention that the two are more likely to merge into one device that one replace the other. In fact, they cite the 10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2016 report by Ericsson (ERIC) for their article, which supports the idea that we’ll synthesize AI, phones, and wearables. Some of those statistics:

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    • 85% think wearable electronic assistants will be commonplace
    • 80% think internal sensors will measure our well-being and enhance our vision, hearing, and memory
    • 33% want AI to keep them company

    See? Someday that voice inside your head might actually be a voice inside your head. Creepy.

    6. They’re Already Becoming the Only Computers We’ll Ever Need…

    With advancements like the Eyeriss chip that could bring more computing power to your phone using less energy, it’s safe to say (and Wired already has) that in a very short amount of time, a smartphone could be the only personal computer anybody needs. Of course, not everybody agrees with this sentiment. Technology marketing analyst Chris Jones doesn’t believe that smartphones will necessarily reign supreme. “…For many,” he says, “it won’t replace the larger devices with a physical keyboard for productivity tasks… but, if a smartphone can do all the things PCs, digital cameras, camcorders, GPS navigation devices, MP3 players, and DVD players can, then yes, smartphones could be the primary computing device for many people.” It’s really not that farfetched. Motorola (MSI) tried to swing the market that way in 2011 with the Atrix, way ahead of their time, and Hewlett Packard (HPE) tried to break the same ground in 2016 with the X3 Windows 10-powered smartphone. Green Bot even ran an article positing 10 ways your smartphone has already replaced your laptop. Considering that these tiny devices are capable of running health diagnostics, playing games and movies, and, as mentioned above, augmenting reality, don’t be surprised if more people ditch their standard computers in favor of smartphones.

    7. …And We’re Already Putting Computers Inside Our Bodies

    x-ray_of_patient_with_ccm_device_pa_view
      Implantables are here to stay…

      It’s true. While we’ve all heard of wearables, including Snapchat’s new video-streaming sunglasses, not everybody realizes implantables, including the wireless pacemaker, the artificial pancreas, continuous glucose monitors, and even pain-blocking implants are right around the corner. While the benefits of implantables for those with legitimate medical conditions don’t seem to escape most, some do find more disconcerting the concept of implantables as a pastime or form of recreation. Nevertheless, a group of people called transhumanists believe that the future of human biology is inextricably paired with technology, to the point that upgrades to our natural hardware may allow us to live forever. Now, don’t get it twisted. Transhumanists and promises of immortality are pretty far out there, but the idea of practical implantables such as microchip birth control, RFID chips, and even computer-brain interfaces are actually pretty all pretty feasible. WT Vox ran a story covering the top “implantable wearables soon to be in your body,” and at the top of that list–you guessed it–is the smartphone.

      So there you have it.

      While the day when the human being merges with the smartphone is a possibility, there are a lot of hurdles to getting there. We’ll need to increase storage capacity on our smartphones, for one, and that says nothing of security. Cybercriminals using ransomware, a type of virus that takes control of computing devices and holds it ‘hostage’ until the user pays up, have been hitting hospitals across the U.S. and endangering lives by shutting down medical systems and infrastructures. Cybersec analysts warn that implantables like pacemakers could be the next target unless we drastically beef up wearable and Internet of Things (IoT) security.

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      The good news is that the greatest minds in the world are working on it, and as science and technology march forward in time, the things we never thought possible before will become reality. Exciting, isn’t it? Perhaps, someday in the future, you’ll even be able to search for this article online just by thinking it.

      You might even be able to use the smartphone that’s been embedded inside of you to give me a call, assuming I’m still alive in that future.

      Who knows? With the way technological advancements are going, I just might be.

      More by this author

      Andrew Heikkila

      Owner-Operator of Earthlings Entertainmnet

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      Published on November 9, 2018

      How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

      How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

      Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

      Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

      So, are you ready? Here we begin.

      6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

      When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

      1. Spreadsheets and Databases

      Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

      To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

      In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

      • Microsoft Excel
      • Microsoft Access
      • Statistics
      • Data Analytics
      • Adobe Campaign
      • Quickbooks
      • XML Database management system
      • Filemaker Pro
      • MATLAB
      • Hive
      • FORTRAN
      • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
      • SAS

      2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

      Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

      Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

      • Content Management System (CMS)
      • Google Analytics
      • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
      • Email Marketing
      • Web Page Design
      • WordPress
      • Digital Media
      • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
      • Campaign Management Software

      3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

      A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

      • Adobe Photoshop
      • Adobe InDesign
      • Adobe Illustrator
      • AutoCAD
      • CorelDRAW
      • Microsoft Visual Studio
      • Maya
      • Microsoft Word
      • Microsoft Publisher
      • Operating Digital Cameras

      4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

      The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

      To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

      • HTML
      • C/C++
      • Java
      • Python
      • XML
      • UI/UX
      • LINUX
      • CISC and RISC architecture
      • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
      • Memory Management
      • PCB Layout
      • SQL

      5. IT Troubleshooting

      Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

      So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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      • Backup management
      • Diagnostics
      • End User support
      • Client-Server management
      • Installation and configuration
      • Issue tracking system (ITS)
      • System administration
      • Tech support

      6. Enterprise Systems

      Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

      Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

      The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

      Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

      Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

      Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

      1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

      a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

      Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

      Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

      b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

      This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

      c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

      Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

      Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

      2. Rule the Social Media World

      a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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      Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

      From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

      b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

      This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

      c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

      Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

      Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

      3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

      a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

      From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

      b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

      Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

      The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

      c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

      The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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      4. Live and Breathe Creativity

      a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

      It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

      From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

      b. Canva Design School

      From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

      c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

      62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

      d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

      The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

      Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

      5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

      a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

      IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

      It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

      b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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      The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

      Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

      The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

      • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
      • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
      • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
      • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
      • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
      • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
      • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

      Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

      Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

      1. Practice, Practice, Practice

      It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

      Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

      2. Work on Your Efficiency

      Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

      For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

      3. Look for Shortcuts

      Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

      4. Apply for an Internship

      Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

      By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

      How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

      The Bottom Line

      Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

      So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

      Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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