The Importance Of Cell Phones In Modern SocietyWritten by Keith Kingston
Cell phones have become a necessity for many people throughout world. The ability to keep in touch with family, business associates, and access to email are only a few of reasons for increasing importance of cell phones. Today's technically advanced cell phones are capable of not only receiving and placing phone calls, but storing data, taking pictures, and can even be used as walkie talkies, to name just a few of available options.
When cell phones were first introduced to public, they were bulky, expensive, and some even required a base unit that had to be transported along with phone. Good reception was a major problem and in general, early cell phones could only be used in certain locations were signal was particularly strong. As cell phone technology advanced, difficult in using them became less of a problem. Today, cell phone reception has improved greatly due to use of satellites and wireless services. As cell phones improved and became simple to use, importance of cell phones increased accordingly.
Cell phones are perfect way to stay connected with others and provide user with a sense of security. In event of emergency, having a cell phone can allow help to reach you quickly and could possibly save lives. However, importance of cell phones goes way beyond personal safety. Modern cell phones are capable of internet access, sending and receiving photos and files, and some cell phones are equipped with GPS technology, allowing for use in most locations around world and allowing cell phone to be found or user located in event of loss or emergency.
Knowledge MovesWritten by Jack Boulton
‘Knowledge comes from, and is drawn into, different organisational structures. At same time, notion that knowledge travels… Invites one to reconstruct communities in its wake, tracing connections after fact.’ (Strathern 2004: 15).
We are surrounded by knowledge in different forms. Although your own personal understanding of technology may not match that of, say, a computer programmer, computer you are using to read this piece – or, indeed, printer you used to print it – are products of applied knowledge, products which become symbols in a particular context. Your computer may mean one thing – or nothing – to you, but to someone else in a different place it means something else. The computer programmer is perhaps a good example of how one form of knowledge can be turned on its head and transformed into something else. The programmer uses computer to metamorphose his knowledge of programming into a piece of software which in turn is used by another to transform their knowledge… And so on. This transformation – flow – of knowledge is common in contemporary society. We are part of a culture which is obsessed with information. I intend here to describe how information is produced, particularly scientific facts, using examples from Power (1997) and Latour and Woolgar (1979). I will also use evidence from Strathern (2004), Tsoukas (1997) and Latour (1999) to illustrate how knowledge changes meaning as it travels.
Constructing Fact. In Laboratory Life (1979), Latour and Woolgar apply sociological theory to their ethnography of a scientific laboratory. They successfully trace construction of a scientific fact to creation of order out of disorder. To them, fundamental feature of a ‘fact’ is that it does not appear to be constructed by any outside forces: it is a taken-for-granted statement unflawed by modality. However they point out that in laboratory situation, environment can be broken down into ‘specific histories’ which have enabled items such as scientific equipment to become available at a certain point in time. Bachelard (1953) refers to laboratory equipment as ‘reified theory’, that is, that each piece of equipment is a construct of a theory that has been proven factual at a previous point in time.
Auditing People. The concept of ‘audit society’ was pinpointed by Michael Power (1996, 1997) and concerns a very particular pattern of knowledge designed to ‘develop essentially similar measures or conclusions from an examination of same evidence, data or records’ (American Accounting Association 1966: 10). Essentially audit is a process by which information is gathered in order to verify that something is happening as it should do, and/or to suggest methods by which this activity can be adjusted in order to function more effectively. In area of health and medicine, one use of audit data is ‘to stimulate more effective use of increasingly limited resources by creating an element of competition between those who supply medical services… And those who must purchase those services.’ (Power 1997: 104). Tsoukas (1997) also states that ‘… In a modern hospital sick person is turned into an information-rich patient; information about his or her illness can be systematically gathered – information speaks for, describes, represents patient. And when NHS computerises its files, a patient can be emailed, so to speak, from one part of country to other.’ (1997: 833).
Here already we can see that information is on move. From its origination with patient, an illness is reduced to a number (for example, an ICD-10  code) and then moved firstly to another part of hospital and then to somewhere completely different. The illness itself will have significant meaning to patient, whilst ICD-10 code will have a different meaning depending on who is using data. Another example is QALY (Quality-Adjusted Life Year) which is calculated using patient-reported data obtained by using various measures and tests in interview situations  (Hyland 1997). The QALY is a figure between 0 and 1, and is an indication of how good or bad a medical treatment is based solely on how long it keeps a patient alive for and at how high a quality of life. Whereas experience of illness is likely to have a significant meaning in life of patient, it is equally likely that QALY will have very little meaning to them. It will, however, be of significant interest to a health economist or to individuals working within field of medicine. Of course I am not striving to point out that information is interesting to different people. What is important here that it is essentially same information that is undergoing a process of change as it moves around. It is also worth pointing out that after it has undergone its first change it is unlikely to be of interest to person responsible for reporting it.