Before/After Of Pope Announcement Shows Incredible Proliferation Of Mobile In Just 8 Years

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It's hard sometimes to gauge just how much things have changed with the surge in mobile devices. Sure, we know they're popular, are loaded with awesome cameras and apps, and ensure we're connected to the digital world throughout the day, but how have these devices changed society as a whole?

Fortunately, NBC's Today Show provided a little insight today with a comparison of two images from St. Peter's Square during the announcement of Pope Benedict in 2005 and Pope Francis in 2013. It speaks volumes about the changes the world is experiencing today:

st peter's square before-after

Now, it isn't as if the people outside of the Vatican in 2005 didn't have gadgets on them. Many were taking photos with cameras and certainly more had cell phones with them than is shown in the image. However, the 2013 photo shows the surge of mobile devices and how capturing key moments in life digitally has become increasingly important, not only for personal memories but sharing through social media. This is happening at many events around the world as well, as many who attend music concerts have experienced.

At a celebration for a tradition that extends back nearly two millennia, the rapid proliferation of technology into everyday society is visually striking and telling.

[image: Instagram/TodayShow]

David J. Hill

Managing Director, Digital Media at Singularity University
I've been writing for Singularity Hub since 2011 and have been Editor-in-Chief since 2014. My interests cover digital education, publishing, and media, but I'll always be a chemist at heart.

Discussion — 5 Responses

  • ErikSMeyer March 14, 2013 on 1:33 pm

    Not that they’re doing anything particularly interesting or worthwhile with their telephones here (they can take the same bad picture 20k other people are taking, just as they could have done 8 years ago, it’s just easier to bore their friends with it; now, you can do that in real time, twenty years ago, it took weeks, potentially, including the time required to convince people to actually look at the photos after they had been developed; The New Golden Age is Upon Us!).
    I’ll note, also, even 8 years ago, there were a substantial number of people who seemed to be participating, directly, or at least looking at what was going on; whereas now, they are all staring at glowing rectangles.
    Certainly good news for Apple, Samsung, Google and Facebook. (And anyone else who sells a rectangle or profits from data flowing through one).

  • vmagna March 14, 2013 on 4:03 pm

    In what point in the future or rather.. What would displace religion as we know it?
    How much tech has to come out?
    -3D printed humans/creatures?
    -control over the forces of nature?
    – The Singularity?

    • Greendogo vmagna March 14, 2013 on 11:18 pm

      I think it’ll be a gradual process. It may take centuries, or it could take only decades. But I have a feeling that it will at least take generations. Some people who aren’t even teenagers yet, alive today, will be die hard believers until the day they die, no matter what evidence. So at least until then.

      I do think though that there is a definite shift in belief going towards the atheist/science category. Especially when religious parents don’t take their children to church. Those kids won’t take ‘their’ children to church, and may even grow up non-believers themselves.

  • Franz Ternaut March 14, 2013 on 5:51 pm

    So I guess Google Glass is going to be huge. Even if it does nothing else but make it more convenient to record what we’re seeing, that’s apparently something we desperately need as a species. Odd.

    • David J. Hill Franz Ternaut March 15, 2013 on 8:08 am

      agreed. I think it’s safe to say that 5-8 years from now, this scene will be of many people wearing headsets. and everyone will remember how inconvenient it was to hold a device up in front of your face.