scenario: your mobile making friends

mobilefriends screenshot mov: 3.9 mb

Why not use your mobile phone to keep track of your social network? Why not remove the splitting into a virtual network online and your every day meeting of people in “real life”? Isn’t it all the same?

In most cases when you receive a phone call you know the person calling directly. If not you most propably will know a close friend of her or you have met somewhere but just forgot about it because that person seemed irrelevant for you. Filtering information by relevance is a very common task of everyone’s brain as it has limited processing capabilities.

Your mobile phone, however, could keep track of all your contacts and show a kind of bread-crumb-link between you and the person calling. Of course, you know that kind of friend-of-a-friend-linking from your openBC and orkut account. But here you can have it directly on your phone right then when you need it to determine, e.g. the urgency or importance of the call.

Technically, your phone would make friends on itself and as many as possible (or whatever you set your preferences to) by collecting ids of other phones around you -better: around it- via bluetooth or RFID. It could use your personal address-book and online-network accounts additionally to figure out the relation between you and the caller. Of course there will be loads of unnecessary data, but small sets of numbers won’t use much of the more and more abundant mobile memory. Maybe time and place or event are saved as well, so you can easily see that you met this guy at the exhibition and the girl at a pool party.

It became already a habit within certain groups of businesses to google the people they are about to meet. With your friends-making mobile this will soon become unnecessary, as you can see how their networks overlaps with yours – or, less systematically – what kind of people they usually hang around with and if you know some of them.

One advantage making the whole system work is that we ususally use only exact one (mobile) phone and carry it with us all the time (Two at best, for private and professional use). While it enables that kind of service, it is also a sign for a merging of human body and technology. There is no need of a visionary implementation of circuits under our skin as we are already functionally identical with our machines.

This sketch of an idea was not focusing on the possible dangers and drawback, which have to be discussed intensly in future steps: An omniscient contacts database will be created, so I might get to know your most intimate relationships, all intelligence services will strive to get this data if you are, or might be, or are rumored to be a terrorist (or even just in case) because, simply put, a very detailed profile evolves. Google as the owner of gmail and orkut might serve as an example…

one Response to scenario: your mobile making friends

  1. Hannes:

    In the meantime a friend of mine notified me that the technological background for the scenario is not only futuristic in parts but may not work as intended: To know

    what kind of people [your acquaintances] usually hang around with

    it is not enough to share just an ID or phone number, but entire addressbooks or buddylists. Although there might exist possibilities to get this data nevertheless or to persuade the users to publish their social relationships, this exchange will be rather unlikely and requires a huge database and/or an internet connection (to store not only my relations but also those of my friends).

    On the other hand we get quite far with simpler means: As we will meet some people together, some of them maybe always as a group or couple, we can group these contacts as well – and with collecting simply all IDs separately instead of entire networks. Drawbacks are that we dont get any “confirmed links” (as the grouping is interpreting) and we won’t see contacts of our contacts that we do know (by other means) but haven’t met yet.