Friday, May 24, 2013

So Why Do We Have Telephones?

Yesterday I talked about how we should do away with designated consoles, and I have a few other reasons which I might touch on in yet another future post, but today I'd like to talk about something else which has become utterly and completely obsolete despite remaining a very powerful presence in our everyday lives: the telephone.

Note that I am also speaking of cell phones as well. All phones.

Now, I understand some of the purpose of keeping the phone. It provides a constant line of communication to nearly everywhere else in the country, and to so many places outside of US borders. We have something else that does that, though, and you're using it right now: the Internet. The only purpose I can possibly think of for keeping phone service with how advanced our Internet has become would be for emergency calls. It's always good for a population to be able to ring up the fire patrol or the police if there's any kind of emergency. I can dig that argument, and I can see the potential value in maintaining phone lines for that purpose.

However, there isn't any particular reason for phones to exist in the form they do, and there isn't any particular reason for our population to continue paying ludicrous bills each and every month just so we can speak into a microphone at our grandmothers. This is particularly true when you consider the fact that various free communication services have offered voice chat via the Internet for over a decade. I remember using voice chat on AIM when I was maybe ten or eleven, and hell, at this point we have cameras on everything and a video chat to go with it.

Why then, do we keep paying this corporations which have taught us to believe that we need them when all we really need is an iPod-like device (I believe I will refer to these as Tiny Tablets from now on) and an app to handle the voice chat? Speak into your microphone, your voice goes over the Wi-Fi, and blame, through the power of the Internet it ends up in the ear of your comrade! Easy, peasy, simple. Even those emergency lines I mentioned earlier could be set up with this app and have operators monitoring transmissions over it in addition to the old telephone lines until those finally go out of style.

The best part about this? There isn't any reason that it shouldn't be free, and at the most expensive 2.99 like every other app. Of course the drawback is that it would require all locations to have an Internet connection, which has become a large point of contention in recent months with the latest wave of video game consoles supposedly demanding always on Internet. Naturally, Internet connections are another thing we, the people, need to wrestle away from private corporations. There is no reason for entire towns to not be draped in an all-encompassing Wi-Fi umbrella, free to access for all individuals within its protective grasp.

Set up a better Internet service for the population, give us phone apps, cut away the corporate death grip on the everyday communication that makes our country work, and you'll soon find that we have a better world after all.

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