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September 21 2012

How smartphones make us superhuman


Both men lit themselves on fire in protest. But only one of them is credited with starting a revolution. The difference between the two? Mobile phones recorded Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian fruit vendor, as he set himself ablaze in despair over his economic plight. Those videos kicked off the wave of 2011 Arab Spring demonstrations. Abdesslem Trimech, the other man, fell into relative obscurity.

The example, cited in the book "The Mobile Wave," highlights just one of the many superpowers that mobile phones -- and to a lesser extent, tablets -- have bestowed upon humanity. In addition to enabling us to video events on a second's notice, potentially altering the course of global politics, these high-tech human "appendages" increasingly have become tools for fighting corruption, buying stuff, bolstering memory, promoting politics, improving education and giving people around the world more access to health care.

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