....amateur frequencies are still occasionally involved in emergency communications despite being almost completely eclipsed in recent years by cellular phones, portable satellite links and the like. But the amateur service has always been primarily an experimental, technically-oriented service. It is not a critical operational safety-of-life service like public safety or aviation, nor is it a common carrier utility like cellular telephones....
For those of you who aren't familiar with the Phil Karn, KA9Q:
He is an engineer that worked for Bell Labs in the 70-80's. He was on the ARRL future systems committee/Technology Task Force for nearly a decade. He had had his fingers involved with many Amateur Satellite Service projects.
Has helped develop the Internet as he as been a strong contributor to its architecture. (His name is on at least 6 RFCs, as a member of the Internet Engineering Task Force)
He is well know for his work with digital communications specifically with DSP and forward error correction (FEC) and spread spectrum.
Since 1991 Phil was been with Qualcomm, a wireless telecommunications research and development company, as well as the largest cellular chipset supplier in the world.
Simply put: Your cellphone works on CDMA technology that Phil Karn helped develop. Phil is the best example I can think of where ham radio served as an "experimental, technically-oriented service" that served(s) as a breeding ground for technological development that later the rest of the world greatly benefited from.