By Elizabeth Davies
Some people tend to embrace technology with open arms, they want it, they need it, want to know how can it make their lives better, or faster, or more entertaining. Me, not so much.
I wouldn’t call myself a techno-phobe, I’m not afraid of it. I’m not convinced that wireless vacuum cleaners are going to rise up and take over society under the guise of ‘protecting us from ourselves’. I am however suspicious and admittedly reluctant to find myself dependant on technology.
For a number of years I carried around a Nokia 3315. If you weren’t lucky enough to have one of these, they are incredibly basic and reliable phones. No colour screen or touch screen and capable of surviving two flights of stairs and three toilet submersions. Best of all, they were worth nothing, practically disposable.
They were capable of texting, calling, and providing a great alarm clock. They also featured ‘snake’ an incredibly underrated game providing fantastic bus ride entertainment – none of this watching the latest episode of Breaking Bad on your iPhone and awkwardly laughing out loud whilst surrounded by irritable strangers.
My ultimate decision to get a smartphone (second hand, from a friend) earlier this year was unfortunately out of necessity. When it comes to employers, lecturers, editors and even sometimes friends, not being near a computer is no longer a valid excuse for not replying to urgent emails.
I can’t imagine what I would do now if, in casual debate, I needed to prove my completely irrelevant point and was not able to Google, or console a heart-broken friend with a picture of a pug awkwardly climbing stairs in a party hat, or a cat riding a vacuum cleaner and being chased by a duck. Such things are practically human rights.
There are some things however I still cannot truly grasp. For example, the i-phenomenon. Every few months a new iPhone, pad, limited-edition ‘iHeart tea-towel’ set is released and the people flock to their nearest Apple store to oooooh and aaaaah and wait in a line for three days in order to be the first to throw their money at a product that is, of course, much better and more advanced though no one is really sure how.
Perhaps it is the half inch larger screen that means it will never again fit in your pocket and awkwardly requires one and half hands to use. You can understand the people’s need for this shining beacon of practicality. The now out-dated iPhone 17 is of course worthless, a glorified coaster.
The only thing that is admittedly regrettable, is the inability of teenage girls to take a selfie of their iPhone, with their iPhone (don’t be ridiculous, this can be done with simple mirror tricks).
The smartphone has become one more thing in your life it would be really unfortunate to have stolen, or left in a bar, or the back of a cab as you dutifully totter through your front door on uncomfortable heels.
Now, in latest developments it can be even more expensive to lose your smartphone when it becomes a mobile wallet. Because if you’re going to lose a $1,000 phone, why not also lose the remaining balance of your bank account? This special ability excludes iPhones as they don’t have the capable technology, their only endearing feature.
The move towards contactless payment and mobile wallets is a sad and scary one in my opinion. Cash is barely acceptable as payment for a bus ticket – take note of the driver’s heavy sigh and rolling eyes. It seems that before long coins will be a novelty, reserved for assisting in making difficult decisions (do I want the new iPhone in black, or the Samsung S10 in pink with diamantes?).
Or perhaps we will only use them to scratch our weekly lotto ticket, a lucky habit that will help us win big – just be sure not to ask for your winnings in cash, it’s incredibly unfashionable.
*Elizabeth Davies is a 23 year old post graduate journalism student at Auckland University of Technology. She lives with her partner in Epsom and spends her free time refurbishing vintage furniture and attempting to bake while fighting a daily battle against her bank balance. She writes a weekly article for interest.co.nz on money matters and financial struggles from a young person's perspective.