BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The man credited with inventing the cell phone 50 years ago had only one concern about the brick-sized device with a long antenna: Would it work?
These days, Martin Cooper worries like everyone else about the impacts of his invention on society, from the loss of privacy. to the risk of Internet addiction to the rapid spread of harmful content, especially among children.
“My most negative opinion is that we no longer have privacy because everything about us is now recorded somewhere and accessible to someone who has a strong enough desire to obtain it,” said Cooper, who spoke to The Associated Press at the event most recently. big in the telecommunications industry. Fair in Barcelona, where he was receiving a lifetime award.
However, the 94-year-old self-proclaimed dreamer also marvels at how far cellphone design and capabilities have come, and believes that technology’s best days may yet lie ahead in areas like education and healthcare.
“Between the cell phone and medical technology and the Internet, we are going to conquer disease,” he said Monday at MWC, or Mobile World Congress..
Cooper, whose invention was inspired by Dick Tracy’s wristwatch radio, said he also envisions a future where cellphones are powered by human bodies.
It’s a long way from where it started.
Cooper made the first public call from a handheld cellular phone on a New York City street on April 3, 1973, using a prototype his team at Motorola had begun designing just five months earlier.
To spur the competition, Cooper used the Dyna-TAC prototype, which weighed 2.5 pounds and was 11 inches long, to call out his rival at AT&T-owned Bell Labs.
“The only thing I was worried about was ‘Will this work?’ And he did it,” she said.
The call helped jump-start the cell phone revolution, but looking back on that day, Cooper acknowledges, “we had no way of knowing that this was the historic moment.”
He spent the better part of the next decade working to bring a commercial version of the device to market, helping launch the wireless communications industry and with it a global revolution in the way we communicate, shop, and learn about the world. .
Still, Cooper said he’s “not crazy” about the shape of modern smartphones, blocks of plastic, metal and glass. He believes that phones will evolve so that they are “distributed in his body,” perhaps as sensors “that measure his health at all times.”
The batteries could even be replaced by human power.
“You eat food, you create energy. Why not have this receptor for your ear embedded under your skin, powered by your body? hey imagined
Dreaming of what the future could look like, Cooper is attuned to today’s industry challenges, particularly when it comes to privacy.
In Europe, where there are strict data privacy regulations standards, regulators are concerned about apps and digital ads that track user activity, allowing technology and other companies to create comprehensive user profiles.
“It’s going to be resolved, but not easily,” Cooper said. “Now there are people who can justify measuring where you are, where you are making your phone calls, who you call, what you access on the Internet.”
Use of smartphones by children it’s another area that needs limits, Cooper said. One idea is to have “multiple websites curated for different audiences.”
Five-year-olds should be able to use the Internet to help them learn, but “we don’t want them to have access to pornography and things they don’t understand,” he said.
As for his own use of the phone, Cooper says he checks email and looks up information online to resolve dinner arguments.
However, “there are a lot of things I haven’t learned yet,” he said. “I still don’t know what TikTok is.”