As a teen I loved the first Matrix film (the sequels not so much). Science fiction Kung-fu? It was a teenage nerds dream. I still love the film and the iconic line “I know Kung-fu” was so powerful at the time. What if we lived in a world where we can find out anything, learn anything at the press of a button?
Well we do now, sort of, but in a good way. I’m talking of course about mobile phones and their wonderful app stores. The family and I recently had a trip to Sydney (I didn’t like the place, don’t get me wrong it’s an amazing city but it’s not for me, I prefer Brisbane) and before I left I wondered, “How high do we actually fly?” So I downloaded the GPS Test app which can pinpoint your location on Earth to within a handful of meters using GPS satellites. I excitedly showed my kids that we were over 10km up in the air, they humoured Daddy for a while then went back to their devices and books.
Now I can’t download Kung-fu into my head but I can get access to a brain meltingly large amount of information. For example, when I hear a song playing that I don’t know I use the Shazam app that listens to the sound for a couple of seconds then tells me the band, the song, a picture and lets me purchase the song. As someone who used to tape songs off Top of the Pops on TV this is amazing. But it doesn’t stop there, if I want to know what the temperature is or if a storm is coming, at the click of a button I can know. If I want to know whether I can fly my drone at a particular location, the Can I Fly There app tells me in an instant. And don’t get me started on Google Maps, that thing is so astoundingly useful I’m surprised it doesn’t have it’s own cult.
I’m constantly in awe of my phone and the sheer volume of useful information it has made available to me in my hand. As someone who’s formative years were pre-Internet and pre-handheld devices it’s clear that we are living in a Matrix age but without the evil machine overloads and spikes in the back of the head. At least I think we aren’t but I can’t be sure…