Close to the mark, I reckon. I have long held the view that what's needed to cope with the technological change is a social change.
We hold certain values to be self-evident, like the work ethic.
It was not always thus. Ancient Greece had a society where slaves did all the menial work. Substitute robots, or more generally all-pervasive automation, for slaves, and you have the potential to create a similar society but without the misery.
It "only" needs us to change our current value system, which is by no means eternal or immutable. We need to learn to value "non-productive" pursuits, and to educate people into following such pursuits as art, theater, invention and design, maths, teaching the young and the old, etc etc.
Maybe the open source (software, 3D printing) movements are signs of things to come, with millions of people producing very useful things for no financial reward.
"What you hear on the speakers isn't interference with the electronics but rather interference with the magnetic coils."
It is actually the radio waves from the phone being picked up by the amplifier that drives the speakers. The PN junctions in the transistors rectify the RF, just like in a crystal radio, then the resultant audio signal is amplified.
The "off" phone will be drawing a very small amount of power, and radiating at an extremely low level (I should do some tests, I have equipment at work).
In fact, when off the phone probably radiates as much as my standard Kindle while I am reading - the Kindle is a very low power design because electronic paper uses no power when the page is not "turning".
There are technical standards covering emissions (interference generated) and susceptibility. Neither is ever zero. Every phone must comply with those standards, so there is no need to "test every phone".
Likewise, every device must be tested for susceptibility. In this context even a 747 is a device, and you can bet the FAA is a lot tougher than the FCC.
I am an electronics engineer, so I have some knowledge of this.
I put my phone into flight mode, to save hassle with the flight attendants. Also, stopping its radio transmitter will eliminate the greatest potential hazard from interference.
That said, if the EMC immunity of the aircraft were so poor that a phone could upset it, I wouldn't be on that plane (and the plane would never have passed FAA certification tests).
The amount of interference from a phone, MP3 player, Kindle, noise cancelling earphones, or DVD player or laptop are all miniscule compared to a cellphone actually transmitting. And compared to all those other gadgets, the potential interference from a phone using in-flight WiFi is HUGE.
So why is inflight WiFi OK but my Kindle is not? Either profound ignorance on the part of the airlines, or superstition based play-it-safe rules.
The turn-it-off rule has no valid technical basis.
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