Smart Phones and Dumb Humans

Smart phones have become a commonplace device. In old days when someone was late to reach somewhere to meet a friend he/she would to say

“I am sorry my friend, the bus was late” or “Oh I couldn’t leave my house on time, sorry” .. That’s it!

Now a days, when someone gets late, there is a string of arguments given,

“Oh I tried to call you that, I am getting late but, I didn’t have the network range or couldn’t call you!”

“There was no Uber/Ola cab nearby.. so it took time”

“This place wasn’t showing up on google map or address on google is wrong”

“Oh sorry google map messed up  and showed me the long route”

and the best (worst) of all

“I sent you message on WhatsApp that, I will be late didn’t you get it!?”

I am sure, all of you must have witnessed these kind of conversations at least once. Let’s ask a simple question to ourselves, “Don’t you think more people come late today than some years ago, despite having all sorts of facilities at disposal?

Everyone knows it is dangerous to talk on phone or texting while driving but, many of them do opt to do the same. Should a fun thing like selfie be a cause of death? As the technology is moving ahead rapidly, the smartphones are being misused with even faster rate. We must ask ourselves, are we (we ALL) are using the smartphones as we should? Isn’t smartphone addiction a new age problem? It might hurt some people but, I must pronounce it clearly “Phones are getting Smarter and Humans are getting Dumber

Everyday (horrifying) scene on the streets ..

This has nothing to do with using the technology to our benefit. My concern is about relying too much on the smart phones. In the age of Information we make decisions based on somebody else’s experience rather than experiencing it personally. I find it amusing that, we decide which restaurant to go for lunch, based on rating given on the application rather than actually experiencing it first hand. We send someone birthday greetings over chat or Facebook but, never call. On the streets I find more people sunk in their phones than actually keeping attention on the streets. If you travel in a bus or subway take a look around (stop looking at your phone for a moment) you will see almost everyone wearing earphones doing something on their smart phones!

This a common scene today [src -https://pixabay.com/en/broadway-station-phone-men-subway-1675207/]

The chatting applications are good to convey the message. But, today we have gone so far that we chat more than we converse. Conversation is the real thing and not the best usage of emoticons! There are families who send each other chats sitting next to each other or in the next room. I have nothing against social networks. Rather it is a good way to keep in touch with your friends. The question is ‘Are we keeping these social networks as they should be? or we are making it a necessity of life?

Today we spent more time in thinking ‘which emoticons will fit in?’ and think less about the emotions themselves.  We have limited the conversation to number of characters in the text. Everyone knows when you say (type) tc  you don’t really mean it!  We have discovered all sorts of shortcuts to convey common things like gm, gn, thx, imo, lol, lmao, k (!) etc. but, we are going far away from everyone who care about us. We are literally becoming islands , isolated and lonely.  (Unfortunately)This is where we are standing today!

Addiction of Social Networks is literally killing us!

This isolation gives birth to illusions. We start building our own virtual world which is completely disconnected from reality. The phones have become so smart that, they tell us what to eat but, we don’t listen to our mother and avoid junk food. They tell us how much to eat but, we don’t listen to our stomach anymore and eat only what our digestion system can handle. Also, there is continuous hammering of what’s happening in world? and thousands of such ‘notifications’. Which are filling our brains with so much rubbish which we can’t use.

We are going to see these boards everywhere in coming days

And there is Selfie (sigh). It is unfortunate to see from the numbers that a fun thing like selfie is one of big reasons of accidental deaths. I am not against selfies, please do read this article to understand what I mean to say. It basically says that “More than 50% deaths due to selfie’s occur in India“. This is not only startling but also depressing. Just looking at the alarming number of deaths and accidents due to selfies made me believe that Smart Phone really is the New Stupid Box. I honestly think getting hurt while taking selfie is not the smartest thing one can do.

Teens getting addicted to Phones is a dangerous sign

The issue is not with the technology but, the way we use the smartphones. The boards now visible at almost every tourist spot, which say “No Selfie Zone” proves my point. It makes me feel sad to see that, kids cut their veins because of a smartphone game (Blue Whale). People suffer freak accidents looking at phone continuously, while walking on the streets. I remember TV Set was called Stupid Box when I was young. Smart Phone is the Stupid Box of today. Here’s why

  1. There is a whole industry thriving in the name of “Cell Phone addiction rehabilitation”
  2. 47% of people receive call while driving and 20% of respondents had near miss situations – ref article
  3. In USA, 1 out of every 4 car accidents is caused by using phones while driving esp chatting – ref article
  4. About 60% of world’s selfie deaths occurred in India – ref article
  5. More than 130 teens committed suicide in Russia and many more in world while playing a game – ref article1 article2
  6. More kids play with phones and tablets instead of real sports
  7. Many more unlisted/unreported deaths due to depression caused by excessive use of social media, games, chatting etc.

We all have written an essay in the schools on ‘Technology Boon or Curse?’ Honestly there is no Yes or No answer to this question. It really depends on who is using it and how? People buy costliest smartphones just to show off and do nothing more than chatting or taking selfie with it. When you’ll see car drivers texting while driving, bikers holding phones between ear and shoulder and talking while driving, freak accidents on railway stations due to usage of headphones or while playing games like Pokemon Go etc. I am sure that answers to following questions will confirm my thesis that, Phones are getting Smarter and Humans are getting dumber.

  1. How much time do we spend on your phone on an average in a day?
  2. How much time do we spend browsing almost nothing?
  3. Do we prefer calling even if it is not so urgent?
  4. How much of the total time do we spend in chatting?
  5. Do we chat in classrooms or during meetings?
  6. Do we get angry when we can’t finish a level in a game?
  7. Can we resist ourselves looking at phone while driving if it makes a notification sound?

Smart phones have definitely made our lives simpler. For many of us it has brought banks into the pockets, tickets booking made easier, calling help (ambulance, doctor) easier, but, “Are we getting carried a way a bit too much!?” Every time we see someone talking on phone while driving let’s ask this Are phones being smarter and people dumber?

 

Disclaimer: This is my personal opinion. My current employer is not responsible for my views. I encourage discussion, debate so please leave your comments questions in the comments section.

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