surely a day will come...
I saw an ad on the train for "the power of banking inside your mobile phone." It seems your phone will become both your debit card and your online account management hardware.
The idea isn't entirely new in Japan, but for some reason it made me uneasy. I mean, soon, nobody will carry cash (and Japan has never had personal checques), and we will no longer even have credit cards. We'll just have our regular old mobile phones = portable multimedia centers, connected to some server somewhere which records that we have X number of points, which happen to be called "yen."
It made sense when we exchanged cows and turnips and daughters. Things that had intrinsic value which you could touch (although touch my daughter and see how long you keep breathing).
It still made sense when we bartered "services rendered"--I help you dig a well, you help me invade the hamlet across the valley.
But then somewhere along the line, we made this huge leap from Things Which Are Obviously Useful For Living over to shells and pretty stones.
(And how did that happen, anyway? I mean, at some point, some guy must have taken, say, a dozen eggs from his neighbor's barn and said, "Right, here's your baubles" and yet DIDN'T get his face pounded into the mud. Instead, the neighbor must've said, "Baubles? Great! I think I'll just pop out and get that new pair of snowshoes for the Missus!" And, voila! Economy was born?!?)
But with the shift from real goods and services to symbolic CURRENCY, it seems to me that human civilization basically ran off the edge of the cliff, and as soon as we look down and realize there's no ground under our feet, we're going to start dropping. Fast.
Shiney metal disks engraved with intricate designs. Rectangular sheets of specialty paper with--oh! a watermark! A plastic card with your name embossed on it in, check it out, gold letters... If you squint real hard you can still sort of pretend that these contain value or represent something, I don't know, real.
All modern societies literally depend on your continued gullibility.
But points stored on your mobile phone? Just like points stored from your last Donkey Kong game. And the difference is...?
How long before that light bulb goes off?