I was sitting at a restaurant today, alone, eating my dinner and reading news on my smartphone at the same time. And I realized that perhaps the smartphone has made me too efficient. Sure, it helps me search for good restaurants, gives me driving directions and lets me listen to music – but there are times (in the park, in the mall) where I previously would have sought out human interaction, but now just browse stuff on the smartphone.
It reminds me of something my father-in-law was telling me the other day. He remembers the days when telephones first became common – you’d have one land-line in a house, and if you talked on the phone with some relative, everybody congregated around the phone and you got to talk to everybody in the house. In its own way, the land-line was a more social experience. Then came cordless phones, and multiple handsets. Then came cell-phones. And now he rarely gets to talk to all the family members when he calls some relative – everybody has their own cell phone.
And smartphones just take it one step further. We’re even more cocooned in our own worlds now, at the expense of human interaction. I don’t think it’s completely a good thing. And yet, I’m not sure of the solution. Do we need classes to help us use technology wisely? Or maybe we just need data-plans that charge us by the byte. 🙂