Few people of the 20th century considered the implications new technology would have on future generations. People nowadays are advancing with much the same mindset. Who knew that the introduction of the smartphone would actually make technology smarter than the average person? That’s not to say you aren’t smarter than your phone – but I can guarantee you that you’ve never considered how much intelligence your phone has, and how this intelligence is making you more predictable. Let’s focus on the invention that is arguably the biggest technological invention of our time on earth to date. With the introduction of the idea of the smartphone in 1992 by IBM, it was clear to many that broader horizons were on the way for technology of the future. According to the Journal of Creativity in Mental Health in a study conducted in 2014, the majority of teens favor greater degrees of control in their virtual interactions. If our society could basically put the memory and processing power of a high-speed computer into a pocket-sized phone, we must be going places right?
Well in a way. We can say that the introduction of the smartphone lead to the flooding of the global market by further new technologies such as laptops, iPods (and later iPhones), and even services such as bluetooth and God’s social network of preference Facebook (just kidding, the only people who like Facebook are those who are never off it.) Without these arguably necessary developments, our culture we would lacking in the field of technology. The creation of these new technologies has also helped propel economies and create an exponential number of job opportunities. These technologies have also helped to develop the field of technology into one of our planet’s most promising fields of study. Looking at technology and our success with it as a species, we are undoubtedly the rulers of our day.
But there’s a few problems we are overlooking that may spell out our end on this planet.
We are so consumed by our technology that we have become anti-social with each other. And not only are we increasingly anti-social in our everyday lives; we are also becoming more robotic with everything we do. Many people today would not consider themselves anti-social, but that is only because we are comparing ourselves to ourselves. Its hard to say one person who is wholly absorbed into their phone is being anti-social when everywhere you look you see people who are doing exactly the same thing.
Although some people are seemingly addicted to their smartphone, there is almost always an example of someone who is more addicted to their phone than you are. A large reason for this is the presence of social media. Since its introduction, there has been a frenzy among people to connect virtually with others. As these virtual connections become more developed, our psychical communication skills are decreasing. According to Statista, in 2015, 78 percent of Americans were active on some type of social media.
When our species would rather aimlessly scroll down their timelines instead of making conversation with one another, questions need to be asked.
The advancements we’ve witnessed in technology have had serious complications on our mentalities. Instead of encouraging our children to go out and play, we now encourage them to get off their phones. Instead of talking to a friend face-to-face, we now would rather text or call them because its easier and requires less effort. This tendency to refrain from psychical communication, anti-social behavior, is hurting our species and reducing our human experience. There is no clear cut solution to this problem either, as few people would be willing to give up their smartphone or exchange time tweeting to random people with talking to random strangers.
The best short-term solution is just to experience life without technology; try and do things without capturing them on your smartphone. Truly live in the moment and make physical connections with other humans. Make an effort to speak to a stranger everyday even if its simple “hello” or even a smile. We have created this problem and we are the only ones who will find a solution to it.
Take a look at this tweet by Jaden Smith.
Although celebrities may not always be the best role models, sometimes they make good points as Jaden does above. Get off your phones. Be social in person, not just over the internet. Enjoy the world and everything it has to offer. Meet new people and do different things everyday. Anything that other people are doing you can accomplish. Be social in person. Not just over the internet.