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Everyday Devices Killed Off By Smartphones

Everyday Devices Killed Off By Smartphones


Everyday Devices Killed By SmartphonesI read an article in The Guardian by Samuel Gibbs about devices once used regularly that were replaced by smartphones. The list is lengthy and includes: simple mobile phones, landline phones, pay phones (the kind available in public places, not “burner” phones), point and shoot cameras, the Walkman, Dictaphones, cheap laptops, portable TV’s, pocket calculators, watches, alarm clocks, and GPS devices. Gibbs predicts the future demise of remote controls, medical equipment, portable gaming machines, wallets, and taxi meters.

The article triggered a flood of memories and thoughts. In my 20’s, I remembered asking my 90-year-old grandfather about the technological changes that occurred in his lifetime (from 1888 to 1983). He spent his youth on a farm without cars, trucks, tractors, radio, or television and during his lifetime, in addition to those inventions, flight advanced from the Wright Brothers to jets, to man journeying to the moon and back. My grandfather responded that the changes occurred over a lifetime and that they only benefited him directly when they became available at a cost he could afford.

Looking back at technology’s impact on me—I used a keypunch machine and card reader to input programs into computers as a student at Duke in the 1970s. Before the end of that decade, I used CRT terminals for computer inputs at grad school and in 1979, bought an Apple II for use at home and at work. My first cellphone was one of those Motorola “bricks” purchased around 1986. I owned and used all of the devices mentioned in the “killed off” list above. I can envision the demise of the other items cited in the articles, since I use my smartphone as a remote (at home); to play games (usually when I’m traveling on a plane); and to summon Uber while traveling. It also tracks my daily exercise through my Fitbit device and app.

In the book, The Second Machine Age, the authors cite the emergence of the smartphone in 2002 as the single event that geometrically accelerated the progress curve on man’s social development. It’s understandable how that happened when you look at all the devices eliminated above and you realize that smartphones are available at increasingly lower prices throughout the world. Linking smartphones through apps to more data points, as part of the growing “Internet of Things,” will undoubtedly increase progress. At the same time, it will create opportunities for individuals with the education and expertise to determine how to best utilize the data. I can’t wait to see what else the smartphone will eliminate before it is replaced by some other new device yet unknown to me.

Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity by the U.S. Secretary of Education in 2019. He also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), as a Trustee of The American College of Financial Services, as a member of the board of Our Community Salutes - USA, and as a member and chair of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.


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