Growing up, I remember seeing the classic John Romero Flick “Night of the Living Dead”, which scared me to the bone back in those days. Just the idea that people could actually turn into mindless, soulless Zombies without any sense of their surroundings and focused on only one thing, forgetting even the basic needs of food and water, was completely unfathomable for me at the time. I thought that kind of situation could never, ever happen in real life. You thought so too, right? Skip ahead about a good decade (or two, heheh), and seems we were completely wrong.
The Zombie Apocalypse is upon us already, with people turning into mindless Zombies left, right, and centre. Go ahead, take a look around you. I’ll bet you’ll see all kinds of people with their heads burried in their digital appendages, which have become so ubiquitous in our society that we don’t even notice anymore.
With their faces constantly lit up by the artificial light emanating from their smart phones, tablets, and travel laptops, these Zombies have invaded every Starbucks and real coffee shop on the planet, along with city streets, subways, trains, and buses. Recently, they have even spread to popular tourist destinations – their eyes firmly glued to whatever device has been almost surgically grafted to their hands, rather than actually enjoying the tourist destination they traveled so far to see. These days, according to popular culture, you haven’t been to the Louvre in Paris unless you’ve taken a couple of selfies, and posted numerous pictures on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and the rest of the Social Media horde.
Having these devices is certainly convenient in the modern world, but these Keitai Zombies are slowly killing normal, human communication and interactions. In the old days, it was an experience seeing a friend’s photos from a recent trip. You were actually looking forward to it. Now, it’s a never-ending barrage of pictures in various places and poses, hastily snapped and run through a filter – aka the Instagram effect, all in the hopes of getting more and more likes. It’s almost like reality plays second fiddle to the attention-seeking reality perpetuated by social networks.
Also, you see it in many restaurants in Japan, and most likely other places as well… couples, or groups of friends come in together, laughing and enjoying themselves. Not even 5 minutes after sitting down, these accursed devices come out and from that moment on, the communication turns entirely digital, with their eyes fixed firmly on the glowing screen in front of them, updating their social media statuses for the world to see, focusing on people far away, rather than the human beings right across the table. Has the world truly gone mad? Is the Apocalypse already upon us?
While we won’t need to stock our weapon closets, or worry about becoming their next meal anytime soon, these real-life Zombies have created a different kind of havoc in the last few years. Apparently, keeping your eyes firmly fixated on the tiny world at your fingertips, makes you completely oblivious to the real world right in front of you. Tales of people running into each other, causing traffic accidents, and even falling into fountains have made the rounds recently.
Apparently in China and Korea, the Problem has gotten so bad that these Keitai Zombie have to use their own walking lane in some cities there. (wouldn’t be a bad idea in some Japanese cities as well…. )
As communication continues to make giant strides forward, and younger generations become ever more adept at using the new technology, I’m sure we’ll see an ever-increasing number of Keitai Zombies in the very near future. Are you prepared for the coming horde?