This post by Scott Adams illustrates why I think owning a smart phone is important. He makes some predictions about future applications:
WHATS-HIS-FACE: This application would let you discreetly take an iPhone photo of an acquaintance whose name you can’t remember then it uses face recognition to search for the name online. Someday everyone will have a Facebook-like web page, so searching for faces will be feasible.
DOCTOR-IN-A-BOX: Someday you’ll be able to take an iPhone picture of your suspicious moles, abrasions, fungus, or whatever and get an instant automated diagnosis and suggested treatment.
WHAT’S-IT-LIKE-THERE? Imagine wondering how long the line is to an event, or what a particular forest fire looks like, for example. You send a query through your iPhone for anyone who is in that area, according to GPS tracking, and ask for a look. A kind stranger takes your query, sets his phone to stream video, and gives you the view from his perspective. You would have eyes anywhere there are people.
BRAIN-EXTENDER: Google and Wikipedia are already brain extenders. You can find almost any information you want and quickly. But imagine how much cooler it would be if your iPhone headset was continuously monitoring your conversations and answering your questions as they arise, or whispering suggestions in your ear. That application seems likely to me.
Before dismissing these, think about how unlikely it would have sounded if someone had told you it was possible to have have your phone “listen” to a song and tell you the name and artist.
As I get more familiar with the iPhone, I find myself thinking more about my use of –and relationship with– The Web. More and more of my time is spent in “the cloud.” Typepad, Gmail, Flickr, YouTube. My laptop, desktop and phone have become a means to “get to” and interact with my stuff out there.
The iPhone makes you aware of how much time you were not connected. Even with the MacBook at my side.
I overheard some of the regulars at the Towne Grill trying to come up with the name of some actor in a TV show. I couldn’t remember either but looked down at the iPhone and thought how easy it would be to google the answer. But that wouldn’t have been in the spirit of the discussion.
Putting aside the warnings of the The Matrix, Terminator and countless other movies and books… I find myself thinking of the web as one big old computer that we all use. And when it becomes smarter than we are (and self-aware) I want to be connected. All the time.