The Arthur C Clarke/Stephen Baxter novel “Time’s Eye” is a bit of a silly story which brings people of all different times together onto the same planet, resulting in Alexander the Great meeting the British Army and Genghis Kahn meeting astronauts from 2037. Silly but fun – ideal beach/plane reading. The 2037 people have a artificially intelligent device with decades of battery life which they each spend their life with – your phone goes everywhere with you, talks to you, keeps you company, advises you and is sort of a cross between a useful device and a life-long companion pet.
Leaving my car in the car park today I realised with a sinking feeling that I’d left my phone at home. Conflicted about whether to go back and get it or carry on I decided I’d be too late if I went back and anyway can I really be that dependant on a piece of technology? I thought it would be an interesting experiment to see if I could survive for a day without it.
Walking to the station I reached for my phone to look up the train times using the excellent nationalrail WAP live departures – I never bother to plan trains in fine detail now, I just look it up on my way. Should I change at Reading or stay on the slow train to London? Now I had to guess.
OK so I’ll note down whenever I reach for the phone. I should make a little list and then write it up later.. ah but OneNote mobile is not with me today.. OK time to try those memory techniques..
On the train, thought I’d check in on email – ah no. But I do have my laptop so I could just use that instead of the phone – yeah but how are you going to connect to the network without the bluetooth internet sharing that gives me wireless internet wherever I go?
Oh well, I’ll listen to some music – doh! no windows media with my 2Gb of music on the micro-SD.
What if my boss tries to call? Actually I think she’s back from holiday today – which I could easily check by looking at messenger on the mobile to see if she’s online – no can’t.
So I arrive in London to find the bakerloo line was closed and now need to check the tube map that I carry as an image in my pictures. I have to do it the old fashioned way. Where is the new Microsoft office? Luckily I already looked this up yesterday on the live.com on the phone and checked the arial view so I think I can remember but still it would be nice to have the phone number of the office and the map to guide me in.
My habit of taking contact photos was later thwarted, a handy feature of adding a picture from the camera to the contact which syncs to Outlook over the air. Then when people mail me I get their picture in the top right – very useful if you meet a lot of people every day.
I need to work out when I can meet up with a friend of mine. Hard to do when I can’t check my calendar and then I realised I can’t text him anyway to see when he’s free. Looking up a banana republic store at lunchtime would have been easy with the local.live.com on the phone but instead I wandered around a bit aimlessly. The Paddington live departure board on the phone as I walk to the tube was missed, instead I nearly miss the train while staring at the board.
So it turns out I’m nearer to the 2037 vision than I thought maybe? Extrapolating forwards will we see another convergence? Maybe Fiona (my wife, a vet) and I will be in the same business in a few decades..