Discussion Papers

Klaus Lange

Chancen und Risiken der Mobilfunktechnologien

Nr. 60 / Oktober 1990

(rework August 1991)

(no longer available) Summary There is presumably no other technology as trendy as the mobile communication technology: One may call it the basic technology of our mobile society.

The mobile phone intensifies the positive impacts of the plain old telephone. The extension of the communication space increases freedom of motion and action. New forms of leisure activities are made possible. Especially service industries can raise the flexibility of their organizational structures; cooperation can be generally improved.

Yet the expected positive impacts of mobile communication technology could be narrowed by certain negative effects. The user's autonomy of time and communication is affected in an ambivalent way. On the one hand mobile telephone enhances the user's liberty, on the other hand this liberty is also restricted by additional family and job related constraints: it's not only the user who can reach others more easily, he himself is also more easily reached by others.

One can only speculate on the general impacts of mobile communication technology, but one can empirically investigate their real impacts on the working life. In many industries public mobile radio and paging systems have been used for years. Impacts on the flexibility of working procedures and working schedules could be analyzed; further impacts could be studied in scenarios like the mobile office.

This may result in valuable proposals for the user centered design of networks, services, devices, and applications; privacy related concerns should not be neglected.

Therefore a far-sighted technology assessment can contribute to the diffusion of a social compatible technology.

Discussion Paper is no longer available.

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