Pro-democracy protesters hold up their mobile phones after heavy rain in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has been plunged into the worst political crisis since its 1997 handover as pro-democracy activists take over the streets following China's refusal to grant citi

The world is home to 7.2 billion gadgets, and they’re multiplying five times faster than we are

For the first time ever there are more gadgets in the world than there are people, including a growing number that only communicate with other machines, according to data from digital analysts at GSMA Intelligence.

The number of active mobile devices and human beings crossed over somewhere around the 7.19 billion mark.

As of today, GSMA’s real-time tracker puts the number of mobile devices at 7.22 billion whilst the US Census Bureau says the number of people is still somewhere between 7.19 and 7.2 billion.

Gadgets like tablets, smartphones and not-so-smart phones are multiplying five times faster than we are, with our population growing at a rate of about two people per second, or 1.2% annually.

"No other technology has impacted us like the mobile phone. It's the fastest growing manmade phenomenon ever -- from zero to 7.2 billion in three decades," said Kevin Kimberlin, Chairman of Spencer Trask & Co.

 

Kimberlin’s company was an early investor in Millicom, a startup that alongside Facebook and Internet.org is working towards establishing mobile connections in the developing world.

Leonard Gubar, Director of Millicom, called the mobile phone “miraculous.”

The firm pointed out that these figures, whatever they say about the proliferation of handheld technology, should be contextualised.

It’s not that every person in the world has a mobile device, far from it; more than half of the population don’t have a mobile phone.

Although this suggests that a fair few people in the developed world are using more than one Sim card, the GSMA’s data does also take into account the growing number of gadgets connecting exclusively with other machines like cars, and smart metres.

There are around 250 million machine-to-machine connections, according to CNET.

That may only be a fraction of the total number of mobile connections, but it was enough to knock us people off our perch in the man vs machine superiority stakes.

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