calendar 30.08. 2018

Brave new smartphone world

Almost daily new technologies and also sustainable apps are becoming part of our daily lives. I would say it's a good development. It's up to us how we use them.

I very much appreciate the many possibilities that new digital technologies give me. Unlike Mr Schuster, I don’t think it’s a bad thing that the heating meter reader doesn’t have to ring my bell any more. Quite the contrary. I can’t tell you how annoying I often found it to have to arrange for somebody to let the meter reader into my home. And of course I also had to tidy up beforehand! If a radio system automatically transmits my meter reading in future, why ever not? Or devices and sustainable apps with artificial intelligence help to stabilise the electricity network and feed in more renewable energy. Ideally the systems should also recharge my electric car ready for when I need it. That’s really cool!

Sustainable apps – living more sustainably

The car-sharing network BlaBlaCar has more than 65 millionen members worldwide.
Source: BlaBlaCar

I also think it’s great to be able to control my heating thermostatic valves from my phone while I’m away from home so I can save energy. I use my smartphone for almost everything anyway. To me it’s also about living more sustainably.
Recently I smashed my cafetière. Because I try to buy as few things as possible new, I went onto the neighbourhood platform nebenan.de and asked whether anybody had a used one to sell at a low price. On Saturday morning I then met a friendly woman, had a nice chat with her and later made some coffee in my new, used cafetière.
If a need a new item of clothing, I first look on the buy, swap and sell clothing app, Kleiderkreisel, to see if I can find anything there. The search algorithm often suggests things that I actually like. If I can’t be bothered to cook, I sometimes use sustainable apps such as “Toogoodtogo” to buy a meal at a greatly reduced price from a restaurant that has made too much and would otherwise throw the food away.
I have already booked a ride share many times on the Internet and I find it very useful to check the driver ratings to see how my potential driver behaves in traffic. I have often had interesting conversations on such trips. In Facebook groups I have got valuable tips on beautiful walks and cycle tours. I have met like-minded people and found new friends on platforms.

Great opportunities, great challenges

Smartphones, social media, algorithms and sustainable apps can be useful helpers in daily life and connect people. However, for the very reason that they are so ubiquitous, it must be ensured that platform companies comply with national laws and pay a reasonable amount of tax. And that they don’t just do what they want with the data that I as a user disclose to them. Therefore, I also see digitalisation as a great challenge of our times: our democracy has to keep pace with the development of new technologies. It is not easy but the new digital communication possibilities can also help here.