Fabian Hemmert: curing the phone zombie plague

Our phones can aid us - or remove our sense of our surroundings. Can we take conscious control of them, reconnect with those around us, and slay our inner phone zombie?

Fabian has a difficult and ambiguous relationship with his mobile phone. It multiplies his ability to communicate, but it turns him into a zombie. A zombie is just a human being without conscious awareness, and that’s what phone do to us sometimes. And being a zombie is quite contagious.

The sure? We have to learn to let go, to free our selves from these devices.

(He gets the audience to swap their phones with their neighbours. How do they feel? Out of control? Nervous?)

Phones are all about attention. Our time used to be the most limited thing, now it’s attention. We use hunting metaphors to describe it, because we are both hunters and hunted by the attention economy. Are we creating an attention vacuum? We want as much attention as we ever did, but people are willing to give less and less. It’s harder and harder to stand our as an individual, because everything’s been done before.

The danger of externalising identity

(We swap phones again, and take selfies on other people’s phones…)

How do we create identity online? Through social profiles? Through video game characters? Through operating systems? That’s dangerous, because they’re outside ourselves, and can be changed or destroyed by other people. We should look for identity from things within ourselves.

Our lives should remind us of the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves:

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the most interesting of them all?

She’s googling herself, and checking Facebook… And she only had a desktop device.

(Now he gets us all to turn us off our phones.)

Smartphones zombies are still human. They may just be lonely. They’re probably not really busy. Walk up to them, and introduce yourself.