Is that a driverless car in the next lane?

As technology forges ahead, we’re all but chasing after it.

Life as we knew it in the 80s and 90s is now ancient history. Today, digital devices in Australia have made the way we communicate, socialise, work and behave just about unrecognisable. 

The fact is Aussies are so screen-obsessed that we’re walking and texting, talking and browsing, eating and researching, reading and driving—all at the same time. 

Yes, not only are we glued to our devices more than 440 million times a day, 42% of us confess to doing so while driving. So with the small screen overtaking the windscreen, we may be sharing the road with driverless cars already. 

We’ve come a long way

In the late 1980s super-early adopters had to pay more than $4,000 for the convenience of a portable phone. Even though it weighed a tonne, at the time it represented a turning point in communications technology. 

These days around 80% of Australians carry a smartphone and these affordable mini computers are keeping us connected around the clock. 

A vicious cycle

Our fixation with logging on is feeding a growing fear of missing out which feeds the fixation with logging on. And on it goes. 

Australians look at their smartphones more than 440 million times a day collectively—an average of 30 times a day or 56 times for younger adults. And according to a 2015 survey most of us are doing it everywhere—on public transport 88% of people are connecting, at work it’s 92% and 88% of us even go online when talking with friends.

And with a rising 340,000 terabytes of data being downloaded every month in Australia, and one third of the population checking their devices within five minutes of waking up in the morning, it may be safe to say we’re becoming screen obsessed. 

It’s not just the younger generation

It’s true that older people have generally been slower to adopt online devices compared to younger age groups but that’s changing. 95% of all users, young and old, are using their smartphones to take photos, including selfies. And more than 25% of people over age 55 are using smartphones to connect via social media. That’s an increase of 45% since 2014. 

What’s to come?

There seems to be no end in sight. Technology is changing at exciting and sometimes overwhelming rates. 

We’ve seen a rapid evolution in the development and sophistication of like televisions, watches, fitness monitors and touchscreen kitchen splashbacks. And for some of us, the fact that the car no longer needs a key has been a revelation. But with car manufacturers now moving on from keyless ignition to driverless vehicles, it’s likely we’ll have even more time to fixate on our screens. 

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Zac Zacharia (Managing Director) has been assisting clients to create wealth and secure their futures for over 14 years.

He is also an accomplished presenter and educator

Co-authoring the popular investment book, Property vs Shares.