I snapped this gravestone in Italy one August: it means Rome or death (gee really)! Those crazy Romans were all in, and all consumed with the phenomenon that was Rome. I feel the same way about Mobile.
Mobile has and will transform our lives like no other phenom, bringing knowledge and data to our fingertips that no 20th (or 1st) century genius could match. It will enrich our life experiences in ways we have only just begun to fathom. Mobile is perhaps the greatest technology of our lifetimes, and its effect will outlive us. The impact of new technology is hard to overstate, but here is an yet another example of how it can change the understanding of an entire era:
(Excerpt Phil Leigh) Mathew Brady compiled a photographic portfolio during the American Civil War that forever changed the way people remembered loved ones through a rather new technology of the time: photography. The war remains vivid in our visual understanding because it was so well photographed. Thousands of soldiers stood before the camera on their way to serve. Many were photographed in death, including a solemn series of photographs Brady exhibited in New York City just after a Maryland battle that turned back Robert E. Lee’s first Confederate invasion. Their graphic power overwhelmed cynical New Yorkers of the day. At last, someone had captured ‘the terrible reality and earnestness of war.’ The photographs by his colleagues of the dead at Gettysburg will never lose their power.
Such is the impact of a new technology as it transitions from early adopters into the mainstream. And so, video records are at a similar evolutionary threshold and Mobile will play a part in the shift again.
I never met my deceased great grandparents, or other older relatives, and are curious to know what they were like. I’ve spent countless hours on Ancestry.com trackng them down to coals mines in PA, battlefields of France and the backwoods of Northamptonshire. So far, we have a Purple heart, a Son of the American revolution, and one prolific Spencer that fathered the last of 24 kids when he was 74. Both the facts and the legends were hard to find, and harder to verify.
However, future generations may largely avoid such frustrations. In combination with the Internet and digital video storage, QR codes are beginning to be affixed to gravestones and provide one version of virtual immortality. QR codes are merely two-dimensional barcodes when embedded directly into the headstone, or to a metal attachment, will remain functional nearly as long as the stone itself. Gravesite visitors scan the QR code with a smartphone and, a video of the deceased appears. It could be a memorial of assembled footage from recordings taken at various life stages, or it might be a personal message for descendents.
The practice is new and it remains to be seen if it morphs into widespread use. But I would say the impact of mobile on our lives and beyond is a dead certainty.