Consumerism and Technology
Written by Osvaldo Rodriguez Martinez (acn)|
Wednesday, 13 July 2011 12:07
The vertiginous development of the digital era is transforming technology minute by minute, and as never before mercantilism and consumerism are taking advantage by causing confusion among users, who quite often feel disoriented.
There is certain trend to believe that the latest products are the best because they are the newest, which is a human behavior that comes under exploitation by merciless manufacturers and sellers constantly forcing clients to run after the latest products and throw away the previous, even though they might be still useful.
The "fever of consumerism" is somehow penetrating the Cuban society, mainly in the most vulnerable sector: the youth.
Videogames (Ataris, Nintendo, PlayStation, and others of the kind) were followed by the development of computer devices.
The apotheosis came first with portable devices, MP3 players, MPEG-4, and cell phones.
Nowadays, all of them represent the fastest growing market.
The main feature of cell phones is that they can transmit voice from any place with wireless net coverage.
They also have other features that complement them: photo and video cameras, games, personal digital assistant (PDA), radio and TV receptor, music player, and storage for personal information, among many others.
All this is combined with the accessibility to the device, which moved from the keypad to the touchscreen, the recognition of voice commands and others related to weight, the duration of the battery, format, screen colors, and multiple aspects to attract buyers.
The main advantage of this technological convergence is that a single device can be used for multiple purposes, for which the users would normally need different equipments; to some extent, it can even substitute computers in simple operations.
Cuba has experienced an accelerated growth of mobile phones in the past few years, and today, there is about 80 per cent coverage in the national territory, according to a map published by Cubacel, a Cuban company for mobile phone.
According to official data there are more than one million cell phone lines working at
present. The Cuban Enterprise on Telecommunications (ETECSA) confirmed the Juventud Rebelde newspaper that they aim at reaching 2.4 million for 2015.
Some services like the transmission of images (MMS) and some standard services for those who have cell phones with Roaming (cell phones that belong to foreign networks and use the national platform to communicate), are very fond of possessing the latest cell phones.
A colleague always says that the world is divided in two: available and unavailable.
In the meantime, a considerable amount of the world population is living the worst
consequences of this digital gap, and among them, there are millions of people who have never used a phone.
Poor countries like ours are debating between the need and the possibility.
Although the development of intelligence demands a jump into this sphere in Cuba, financial and material resources place us in an unfair position in the use of the new technologies.
Yet, it is necessary not to confuse the need of equipments for the necessary and so longed for social and economic advances with the slavery of technological addiction, a feeling as old as consumption society.
Nearly 40 cell phone brands, lead by Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, LG and Sony Ericsson, are competing for the market of the "first world", which has transferred that competition to our country due to geographic proximity.
Intelligence and knowledge could be imposed so as to be able to differentiate between needs and the frivolity of shining crystals as the only vaccine against this consumerist wave.