Recently, it feels as though new cell phones can do everything for you. Email, scheduling, GPS capabilities, games, messaging, and calls are but few of the standard features that many of us have grown accustomed to having on our phones. But now there are devices so artificially intelligent that they can use voice-activating programming to focus for you. Is this really a good thing? Some might argue that it isn’t.
With phone features that can transcribe a message for you without ever having to type a single letter, maintain our schedules, find you the nearest place to go for dinner, and enable music and gaming downloads – are these phones fulfilling the role of stenographer, doting mother, and best friend? If cell towers were to be knocked out across the globe, some of us would manage to function, but surely many of us would be rocking back and forth, trying to keep an anxiety attack at bay.
So the question remains: are our smartphones actually dumbing us down? The use of the possessive pronoun “our” is actually not entirely appropriate – my phone calls, texts, and allows me to play the demo version of Tetris because I’ve thus far refused to indulge in a data plan. But as I’m weighed down just the same by my iPad, laptop, and iPod Touch that function in harmony to do all of the same things an iPhone would as well.
The real answer is that our mobile devices can dumb us down – but only if we let them. Smartphones are more than just trendy – they are useful and powerful tools that can open up doors through social media and that can help with skills such as time management. But an overdependence on our phones and the mentality that, no matter what the problem is, there’s an app for that, means that until we find the balance between using our phones and being a slave to them we’re always at a risk of becoming overly invested in our phones.