In a decade we have made an enormous transition: back in 1997 half of humanity had never made a phone call. Sometime in 2007 half of humanity will own a phone. And despite all of the 'bling' aspects of the culture surrounding mobile telephony - the hubbub surrounding the recent US release of Apple's iPhone being only the latest example ? these are not just the toys of us decadent Western types. Far from it. Mobile networks are essential tools for human productivity - tools as profound as any yet developed.
Mark Pesce is a Sydney based consultant, writer and lecturer. His consultancy, FutureSt, advises media companies in publishing and broadcasting on strategies for forward movement in an ever more fragmented and converged media marketplace. This piece was presented at the World Internet Project meeting hosted by the Institute for Social Research, Swinburne University of Technology, in July 2007.