"The Imagination of The Next Generation in East Asia Will Push Smartphones Forward"

"The Imagination of The Next Generation in East Asia Will Push Smartphones Forward"
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Smartphones have achieved a remarkable dominance in East Asia today and they offer us new opportunities for connecting with each other and organizing our society in a positive manner. The value of smartphones for the economy should no longer be limited to the profit generated by manufacturing them cheaply and selling them for a high price.

From now on, the degree to which smartphones contribute to creating a healthy and productive society should become our primary concern.

◇ Creating jobs through smartphones

2016-07-18-1468848965-7955183-2016063001002709800153801.jpg[Prof. Emanuel Pastreich]

The first is the question of how we can manufacture smartphones and create content for them in a manner that provides the maximum opportunity for all citizens to participate and to work with other citizens around the world.

Currently, the design of smartphones found around the world are essentially the same and there is no means for local artists in China, Japan or Korea--or elsewhere in Asia, to contribute to the design of the desktop, of the icons, in that smartphone. We do not find regional cultural images and designs available for smartphone layouts, or any effort to develop alternative layouts based on Chinese or Korean tradition. After all, the use of Tang Dynasty, or Nara Kingdom, or Baekjae Kingdom motifs may well have an audience around the world. Asian nations have assumed that the layout and the essential design of smartphones must be Western in order to have appeal. But in this day and age the opposite is true.

Moreover, the current approach to the production of emoticons and applications for smartphones is essentially cut off from the millions of creative young people in Asia who use those smartphones. We should create an open platform wherein high school students in China, Japan and Korea can design their own emoticons and sell them to each other, around the world. We should allow ready funding to college students so that they can design new social network programs that can go beyond current applications like Facebook, allowinggreater flexibility and creativity.

It will be those thousands of creative young minds who will, using their networking skills create new programs, icons, and games that will bring us together. They will build a robust and dynamic cyberspace throughout the region of East Asia. The issue is not one of fabrication, or of access to finance. Rather it will be the imagination of the next generation that will push smartphones forward.

◇ Social contributions of smartphones

The second question concerns how smart phones will contribute to creating a participatory society in which all users serve as responsible citizens at both the local level and the global level.

The smartphone has an impact our society which is not entirely positive. If our young people use smartphones as a means of communicating with each other on critical social issues, use then as a tool for building networks that address the social, environmental and economic issues of our age, then smartphones can be the way that we come together to solve real problems. But if youth spend their days playing video games and chatting with each other about meaningless matters on smartphones, then those smartphones will damage our culture.

We cannot let the misuse of this technology destroy the creative potential of the next generation just so that we make short-term profits. The primary purpose of smartphones should be to offer meaningful knowledge to our citizens, to teach ethical principles and provide a sense of community for young people so that we can inspire them to build a better cyberspace for the future.

It is more important to create a healthy and creative culture for smartphones than it is to develop new technologies. We need a culture in which their use is defined by some larger project that contributes to society and lifts up the hearts of youth.

We need also to think about how meditation and breathing exercises can be integrated into the use of the smartphone so that we use those technologies effectively without falling into repetitive patterns or losing our concentration. Research indicates that without a proper alternation between meditation,or deep breathing ,and time online, users become more passive and in many cases obsessive in their behavior.

The use of smartphones must be a positive part of a citizen's role in society. The user of a smartphone must see himself not just as a customer, but as a citizen of the world who has responsibilities and obligations to work to form a fair and just online society. There are many acts we can take to keep the internet fair, to block out harmful content and to encourage constructive cooperation. Youth should learn about the responsibilities which come with using the internet from the moment they start using a smartphone.

We must move beyond the devices themselves. We must design interior spaces accessible through smartphones that are artistic and ever changing. Our young people can do that. We can make the virtual space offered by smartphones a place to create art, literature and a new common community. We need to move beyond primitive social networks like Facebook and design open spaces which support and encourage new forms of collaboration. The smartphone will be only a portal to something far greater in the future.

Go To Homepage

Popular in the Community