Is this the beginning of a cell phone backlash?
Bill Gross, who manages one of the world's largest bond funds at PIMCO, penned a lengthy blog post that was published on his company's site this month. One would think that with Gross' big shot job he'd be one of those people constantly tied to his mobile device. But, he's not. In fact, Gross doesn't even own a cell phone.
Gross' blog post discusses the ills of our modern age "becoming more virtual than physical." He gives anecdotes of how he sees people using cell phones to take pictures, record videos, and share these instances with their friends and followers on social media. However, people seem so caught up in capturing the moment that they don't actually appear to be experiencing the moment, Gross writes.
"Watching a sporting event or concert, I can't help but be struck by the thousands of cell phones attempting to capture, in near unison, a moment in time that can be texted to hungry audiences," Gross writes. "Recipients seem eager for a seemingly unlimited number of experiences in their or someone's immediate past, as opposed to the present moment. My view is that there is time stored in that cell phone but its vintage may be somewhat sour, as compared to the sweetness of the here and now."
Gross' argument is sure to catch wind with many a technophobe, but he may be fighting a losing battle. Several surveys released over the last few years show that cell phone use continues to gain momentum. A Pew study published last year found that for the first time ever, more than half -- 56 percent -- of the US population owned a smartphone. Thirty-five percent of people owned another type of handset and a mere 9 percent of the population remained cell-phone-free.
Even Gross points to a Pew survey that said average US teens send and receive between 100 and 200 text messages per day. "At some point they may get so caught up in their frantic 'busyness' that they fail to capture their present," he writes.
Gross used his blog post to segue way into a dialogue about PIMCO's new outlook on the financial sector. He calls the current status of the economy "The New Neutral," saying that the world may be moving into a time of slower growth and the Fed will likely keep federal funds at lower rates. Gross recommends that investors adapt to these changes in order to keep growing their funds.
Gross relates "The New Neutral" to his discussion on technology by saying it's a reality, rather than a cell-phone-like virtual reality.
"Scientists claim we are all just bits of information with billions of 1's and 0's, glued together to form a beating heart," Gross wrote. "Even so, I'm sticking with live chirping as opposed to Angry Birds for now. Virtual reality seems just a tad UNreal to me."
(Via The Wall Street Journal).