I love my smart phone. I really do. But I think smart phones are making us dumb.
In my office, the iphone reigns supreme. I think this is largely due to my company designing iphone apps from time to time, but I could be wrong.
I resisted getting one for a long time. I still feel to a degree that a smart phone is just one more electronic leash. But I caved not quite a year ago, and the additional functionality (games, weather, email) have sunk their teeth into me. I’m a convert. Smart phones are great.
But I still think they are horrible at the same time.
At work, people are literally glued to their smart phones. People will attend meetings. Meetings where the purpose is to talk face-to-face with other people. This rarely happens. Instead, people talk forehead-to-forehead, since their heads are tilted down so they can look at their smart phones while they talk. Why bother at that point? We could all just be on a conference call and never have to leave our desks, except to get food, drink, visit the restroom and commute.
At social occasions, people get distracted by their phones. Facebook and twitter beckon. Are our digital friends more important in absentia than our friends standing mere feet away? I guess we’d have to look up from our phones to know that.
I’m not casting stones. I’ve been guilty of these things from time to time. But really, aren’t our smart phones supposed to improve our communications? Instead, it seems like we get less valuable information in higher quantities and more frequently.
If over half of communication is non-verbal, I’m beginning to think that humanity is hosed. Or maybe we’re just evolving. Not sure if it’s into the humans from Wall-E (chair-bound and screen-dependent) or Ghost in the Shell (brain connected to the web). Guess time will tell.