Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Do Smartphones make you dumb?

A few months back I had no smartphone. Life was much simpler. The phone ringtone was loud enough to be heard even when the phone was buried under the pillow. Even the one alarm that I could set on it was loud enough to wake me up. Only a few rare occasions drove me to the world of smartphones and their extravagant displays, with a smooth touch navigating through a web of mesmerizing applications.

The only thing holding me back from a smartphone was the fact that I was almost incapable of typing on touch. If wanted to type "Hi", I would end up typing "Go". To avoid the inconveniences associated with it, my happy life continued with what could have possibly been the cheapest phone in the market.

But God and Samsung had different plans. While buying an external hard-disk, I came across a touch and type Android phone (Samsung Galaxy Y-chat). That single glance was enough for me to buy it without a second thought.

I could finally have my own personal digital servant - A(n)Droid. The reason why I badly wanted an Android phone was due to the fact that I could sync my contacts. My cheap phones that were handled rather badly by me ended up being broken leaving me loosing my contacts. Now I could sleep peacefully knowing that some remote server in North America or somewhere else on a cloud was burning power to keep my contacts safe.

My initial resistance to not use WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook apps on my phone were soon overcome by sheer curiosity and desire. I was instagram-ming random pics with smart tags, tweeting my thoughts, Facebooking (or Face-bugging) my friends or saying "Whats up?" to old friends on Whatsapp!

Over time (like a month or two perhaps), the dissonance of excessive usage of these applications took over and I started abstaining. Partly because these apps did not evolve and partly due to some boring friends. Moreover I had stopped meeting new people, or having interesting conversations with "real" people rather than some digital avatar. This was serious. There was nothing new in life other than cute baby pics, double meaning jokes or news related sarcasm and my likes, re-tweets or comments.

This led me to one question - Are Smartphones making people dumb?

Smartphone gives us access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp etc., which enable us to "Share our thoughts". Instant access means that people don't think before sharing their thoughts. Now who does that? Perhaps a dumb person. Not to mention how this reckless sharing of thoughts has damaged personal lives.

Unless something is very urgent, why would you share pics on the move. No one is dying to watch it and Facebook is using an algorithm to prevent noise makers from contaminating news feeds. Why don't you spend some time, look at the pics you clicked and only share the good ones. Spare us some time and save Facebook some server space. 

The stupidest is when people go to a concert and share pics. Yeah, live! Dodo, why don't you enjoy the music and shut your mouth! Are you an RJ, VJ, a reporter?

And not to mention when people become weather reporters and start blabbering about the wind, and how wet is the rain and how hot is the sun. We know that folks!

Think about this. The time you would have otherwise spent on thinking, observing or enjoying the world around is now spent staring at a five inch interactive screen, with of course your personal digital servant - The Android. It would not be wrong to say that droids have started taking over planet earth.

As a final note, I'd like to quote Abraham Lincoln who has wisely said that it's "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." Do you still think smartphones help you?