You see them everywhere in the streets, in bars, in clubs, when you are at work, when you are not, at family dinner, when you have a beer with your mates. No matter where you are, someone is tapping on it, checking the last news or showing you the new trendy video. Smartphones are on the verge of becoming the most sold cellphone category. It’s not a revolution as some might say, it’s the opposite, a regression. We talked to a young anti technology man, he does not think that technology is going the right way and explains how.
As a bartender, the example that is striking me the most is when I am working. You always see a group of friends, a family, no matter the age, the sex or the race, there is always one or two, when it’s not the whole group, typing on their little machines. I come to a bar as a customer for two things, to see my friends and relatives and to have a beverage. It’s not like being at home, it even has a name, socializing. A bar is a social spot where people interact with each other in different manners. Thanks to those new little devices, you don’t even have to converse with the people that are close to you anymore. As long as you virtually ‘like’ him or her as much as you can, it does no longer matter.
Even the way we have conversations changed. With anybody, a couple of years ago, we used to have endless debates without being able to check every fact within the minute – and that was great. Firstly, because it gave more space to the conversation and actual exchange. Secondly, because the information you check on your gadget are often not reliable. People with smartphones have the will to check every fact straight away, the will to know everything in a minute. The problem is that’s impossible and that’s where we are wrong. Smartphones are too fast to be used by humans; they do not fit our rhythm of life. By trying to go as quick as the machine, you destroy yourself.
That’s why it’s so addictive, it authorizes you to be a machine. You don’t need to think anymore; everything has been “thought” for you and it’s in your pocket – how amazing. Now the male gender has two things in their pants that they can rub in everyone’s face. At least one of them is supposed to be smart. A way of life, something that is close to you at all moments. People have strange reactions when they forgot it or break it. They don’t have any social protection anymore; they can’t hide behind a screen. They don’t know how to react and interact anymore.
A simple example is when you get to know a city: smart people don’t get lost anymore, they just have the eyes glued to their screen and turn right when the little arrow says so. They don’t look around in fear of getting lost. Let me state that the best way to know a city is to get lost in it. You then have to ask locals to find your way, meet people, figure it out for yourself, and find a crappy bar with the cheapest drink and the nicest people. Those things just do not happen when you have a machine that took control of your life. Of course most of the smartphones users will answer that they can turn it off and they will claim to use their super phone as a normal one. Most of them don’t – they think of it as a reliable and useful machine.
I often hear that it helps people at work. It does not. Smartphones made everyone who posses one reachable at all times. Added to that, you have to stay connected all the time – especially in the financial world. All that device does is allow you to work all the time. How great is that? A person, most of the time with the smartphone lent out by the company, becomes more dependent on their work, more loyal and attached to it. The ethical side of most international corporations is known to be nonexistent. Nevertheless, you represent them and are able to say, “Oh yeah, they gave me this phone.”
I am 23 and already speaking like an old man. I don’t like the way technology is going. Think about the next generation. They are born with it. My little cousin who is ten wants one, the one who is fourteen already has one. That’s fucked up. They take all that information for granted. When you are this age, you can’t look back and say, “that’s bad for me”; social pressure is much stronger when you’re a teenager. The new game in elementary schools all around the world is to create a website and put some pictures of a classmate with the little tag, “whore of the day” – something like that. Kids can be cruel, but with smartphones they just have to be.
They will grow up in a world where their virtual identity is more important than their real one. This is really dangerous. They can’t develop in a healthy way with the constant need to think about looking for virtual friendship. They will have more virtual friends than real ones. Maybe you already have.
There were nearly 500 million smartphones sold in the world in 2011. This will continue to rise until everybody is convinced that they should have one. Our relationships with family, friends, boy and girlfriends will have less and less real life interaction. Texts during sex will become as normal as sitting without talking with people around a table. Let’s drop the screen and focus on people.
The will to become a social beast is abundant across all generations. You can spot it in a little ritual “smart-people” do daily. Something happens, something noticeable, and in a second, everyone is taking pictures and recording video. Until then, fine. You want to record a memorable moment and there is nothing wrong with that. The twisted and vicious bit is the will to instantly share it with all your virtual friends. It always has to be within the minute. You don’t need to share instantly – if at all. Try to relax, enjoy the moment, chill for a bit. We are not machines, just humans, let’s try to keep it that way for as long as we can.