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  • Writer's pictureSally A Illingworth

Siri is not real but her capabilities are | Sally A Illingworth

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

I feel nostalgic thinking about how I used to separate the top half from the bottom to ‘wake up’ the operating system. At the time I was only doing this to read a text message from one of a few friends or to make a call to my parents. It is challenging to fathom LinkedIn not being a part of my daily mobile life given what today looks like! It was a Samsung flip phone, with some sort of a ‘rotating camera’ between the top and bottom halves of the [flip] phone. It was a faint pink in colour (not my preference in hindsight).

Do you remember your first mobile phone?

If I’m honest, I had used other mobile devices prior to my faint-pink Samsung flip phone (gosh they are totally not cool anymore are they?) but to maintain some good sentiment with my parents I’ll pretend it was the first one.

Several years later I recall using an iPhone for the first time. It was such a novelty that my parents had purchased one for themselves each and then a third device for myself and my five siblings to share. Can you imagine asking kids to share a phone in 2020? No kidding, we had one iPhone to share between the six of us and we would take turns at using it. At the time, all we really used it for was music (just in case my parents read this). Facebook was just starting to become a ‘thing’. It’s actually quite comical to recall that at the time this was unfolding, I was of the opinion that Facebook was for ‘old people’ and I now giggle to myself as that’s what LinkedIn also became referred to as by more recent younger generations.

When I was experiencing an iPhone for the first time, Bebo was a social media thing. At the time it was much more engaging than Facebook as you were able to design your own ‘skins’ for your profile. From memory it was also quite socially political in the sense you could rank your top friends, or something to that effect, which wasn’t fun to confront when you’d return to school on Monday and Becky had upset you on the weekend so fell down a few ranks and you knew in your gut that everyone could ‘see it’, including her. But on your socially moral high horse you knew you were doing the right thing by ranking her in accordance to how she made you feel.

It’s fascinating to reflect on the development of how we interact in a tech-enabled digital world. If you were to blatantly rank a person on social media in today’s landscape you’d become mainstream media headlines! I suppose that’s not a far fetched thought given the relationship between that of Twitter and politics, as an example.

Anyway, let’s steer away from politics and shift gears to a more logical aspect of this conversation.

As I’ve grown older technology and its consequences have continued to become more intrinsic to how I live and interact with the world at large. My expectations of technology enabled devices and digital ecosystems continue to increase. For example, I expect that my iOS mobile phone responds to my presence the second I look at it (Facial Recognition). Further, I have become conditioned to assume that by simply having [voice to text] Dictation Enabled, even with Siri disabled, my iOS mobile phone is listening to me. And on LinkedIn I’ve developed the expectation that I can learn everything I need and want to know about the behaviour of my connections (not quite there yet… nudge, nudge LinkedIn!).

When objectively comparing my current experience with an iOS smartphone (sorry Android, I’ve not converted) retrospectively with my early experience a few things become very clear to me, including but not limited to:

My understanding of integrity has shifted. During my earliest experience with an iOS device I wanted the device to be capable of so much more than it was. Notably I didn’t use as many applications at that time and as such my understanding of an iOS device’s capabilities were not complete albeit my expectations hold merit by objective comparison. I knew I could do the basics but I desired more than what I was getting, despite not being certain of the capabilities I desired. I believed my iOS device was of high integrity, it was akin to a friend - something I could trust and use to keep a record of activities in my life with the feeling that “It’s on my phone so it’s safe - because it is my phone”. Now, in 2020, I question the integrity of an iOS device (without acidity). The iOS mobile phone is my device in accordance with the history of a transaction that occurred but I’m not certain the contents that flow through it are in fact mine and mine only. My phone operates with a baseline of integrity subject to the terms and conditions I agreed to ‘accept’ upon purchasing the device with the intent of it becoming mine.

My understanding of ownership has shifted. Earlier in my life, I felt as though it was my iOS mobile device and I - just the two of us. I would confide in my iOS device with complete confidence that no one could intercept our correspondence. Now, in 2020, I’m not certain I can feel comfortable confiding in my iOS device in the same manner. It has become practical to consider that as technology has continued to advance and tech-enabled devices, such as iOS devices, have become more powerful tools and as such our increased reliance and use of such devices has demonstrably increased the volume of activity occurring on and with them. With an increase in volume of activity comes the need for intensified governance and management. As a result, I appreciate I alone do not own my iOS device and its contents.

My understanding of connectivity has shifted. In the earlier days of our digitally driven world, I understood that a Bebo follow or Facebook friend request were symbolic of connection. I believed I could control my connectedness to others in the digital world. Now, in 2020, I endorse greater connectivity with strangers to unlock opportunities. Further, I know that I am not the only controller of my connectivity to other people and things.

It is amazing to consider the evolving influence of technology on our capability to strengthen our economic contributions and it is similarly fascinating to consider the influence of tech-enabled activity on our understanding of things that existed prior to what we now know and appreciate as ‘normal technology consequences’.

As a technology enthusiast particularly intrigued by our progress towards global realisation of Industry 4.0, led by the deployment of 5G, I continue to curiously await the experience of witnessing the changing relationship between human and technology. As 5G unlocks our capacity and capability to realise Industry 4.0, the convergence of big data, artificial intelligence and connected networks will see my faint-pink Samsung flip phone become a more distant memory.

What are you excited about?

At the World Forum for Foreign Direct Investment in 2019 I delivered a keynote exploring Workforce Development and Talent Retention, watch the 10 minute keynote now.

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