Saturday, November 13, 2010

Smart Phones Do Not Make Smarter People

Bowing to the demands of the modern age, which accelerates in its adaption of new technologies at an exponential rate, I recently became one of the last of my friends to upgrade to a “smart” phone.

I am not at all what technology experts call an “early adopter” of technology. I would have been fine to do without a cell phone, except that everyone insisted on using them and I got tired of looking like some kind of crack head bum in search of a working pay phone.

The term “early adopter” refers to people so obsessed by technology that they will wait in line for six hours to spend too much on a piece of technology that will be obsolete in two weeks. Were you one of the first on your block to own an iPhone? Congratulations, you’re an idiot. The iPhones are becoming obsolete faster than they can make them, and one of the newer versions was plagued with problems.

I had planned on holding out for at least another year before buying a smart phone. I thought that maybe the prices would go down some more or technology would improve somehow just enough to make the added expense negligible. But I relented under peer pressure and an attractive brochure in the mail.

Improved technology has created a convenient universe of irresponsibility. The convenience of communication has devalued that communication. It no longer matters for many people to be on time for meetings or events. They figure that if they send you a text message around the time they were supposed to meet you, it is the same as showing up. Since technology exists for our convenience, people think everyone and everything else exists for their convenience also. Cell phones and Internet-capable hand-held devices have only further discouraged people from planning ahead, which is not a good thing. If anything, we as a society do not spend nearly enough time on thinking ahead.

Texting is one of the most despicable forms of communication available today, and is used with great fervor by the younger generation (the younger generation today includes anyone who graduated high school after 1995). I absolutely refuse to use the shorthand that is so common among texters (e.g.: - r u going 2 bed? – OMG, me 2!), as this is the language of cretins and pre-pubescent girls. And as someone who prides himself on decent writing, I want to use proper capitalization and punctuation at all times, things that texting on a regular cell phone makes very difficult to do at all and impossible to do quickly. I was content to do without texting, but too many people insist upon doing it, and I had to get an unlimited texting plan lest my phone bill be too high.

The smart phone should enable me to send text messages without losing my mind. So far, instead of making errors by not hitting the right button the requisite number of times, I’m making errors by hitting the wrong buttons on the very small screen keyboard. Technology is always finding new ways of improving your life while at the same time annoying the shit out of you.

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