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I phone X is here! Run and get it, is the message.
Few gadgets receive so much attention as new smartphones.
Let me take you through a review of smartphones and what they do to our soul.
Before smartphones, I used to remember many phone numbers; my parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, my best friends many colleges and even many of the patients that most frequently contacted me. Not to mention the phone to the taxi, a few takeaways, the railway info and more. It was no effort.
Today I know less than ten numbers by heart. Many people do not even know their own number because the smartphone knows. I do not remember the mobile phone of anybody in the family but my wife. That is due to the smartphone.
My phone also has a calculator and if I did not like to challenge my brain and people using a calculator, I would soon also forget that multiplying by 25 is the same as dividing by four and adding two zeroes etc. Many people have forgotten simple calculations. It is so easy to record some ideas or write them down rather than setting them in the mind’s own memory bank and they now tend to disappear in a hidden file.
If you read online papers, you will easily see how many spelling mistakes there are today, even in the headlines. People expect the computer to deal with it and the faculty of proof reading goes soft. The time to re-read also gets less because news are expected to be updated many times a day now.
We do not remember numbers, we do not learn to calculate and we get worse in spelling. On the computer or phone a letter is just a click or screen touch as much as every other letter. The difference is just a few millimetres up or down from each other. They used to be very different kinds movement for our hand-brain cooperation when we wrote handwriting. If you did not see the screen you could not tell the difference by writing any letters today. That does something to our hand-brain connection. All the letters have become the same simple movement and that does something to the brain.
When I was a kid, I never needed to use an alarm to get up in the morning. If I needed to get up extra early I could just prepare myself for it and would wake up by myself earlier. Today, more and more people let the smartphone wake them and remind them of everything. The first thing you touch as you wake or last thing you touch before going to bed is the smartphone. The object and tool you touch and use and give attention to most is the smartphone, even more than yourself. It has become the electronic pet of everybody without people being aware of it. We feed it by charging it and we give it new experiences by new apps and when it dies we buy a new one. It has become the worst object to forget to bring with you.
The older generation had to learn and acquire knowledge, make it their own; today people just need to know where to find it. The smartphone is getting programed to tell you what you presumable would like to know. You will not be able to call your daughter if you only have somebody else’s phone, you will not be able to find a hotel or book a plane ticket nor drive to the cabin without the GPS. That is even if you years ago managed that easily.
Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) a Canadian professor, philosopher, and public intellectual famous for his aphorism; “The medium is the message”; is universally regarded as the father of communications and media studies and a prophet of the information age.
He said “All media are extensions of some human faculty- psychic or physical“. He also said “the wheel is an extension of the foot; the book is an extension of the eye; clothing, an extension of the skin; electric circuitry, an extension of the central nervous system“
In this sense the smartphone has become an extension of our memory, of our ability to read maps, to find our way in a new city, to look for matching partner, for deciding which paper or news we would like to read, or adds we would like to put our attention towards.
Abilities as choice, selection, critical thinking, pattern recognition, social skills and others are challenged as the smartphone becomes and extension of our eyes, ears, hands and minds. The sense of orientation, the sense of hearing, the sense of sight, the sense of time, the sense of presence, the sense of balance, the sense of motion and many other faculties are replaced and weakened as human faculties are taken over by the smartphone.
We live more and more in the virtual world, the virtual world is more and more present in our lives through the smartphone. Its main message is being online 24/7 where ever you are. You cannot escape WWW, you are on leash 24/7.
The normal balance between daytime and night time has become challenged by virtual-time. It eats us up both the day and the night with an increasing speed. The average time we spend on any medium platform (TV, PC, radio, books, magazines, papers and smartphones) is getting close to 8 hours and the smartphone is soon representing 50% of that and about to become the main source of any media. It is becoming the one thing you cannot be without.
You can live without food for a few weeks, water one week, air a few minutes, just to put it in perspective. The smartphone is about to compete with the basic needs and if anybody around you get more attention than your phone you must be wildly in love and the person next to you.
It has become a pacifier for boredom, curiosity, news, entertainment, knowledge, solitude and much more.
So what is the message of a new smartphone? It is the increased weakening of the human mind and soul.
Understand me right, this are fantastic gadgets but it is a two edged sword and you have to learn to be in control as if it was a the most dangerous addictive.
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