• Patrick McAndrew

When The Smartphone is Morse Code

I find the topic of artificial intelligence quite an interesting thing.  Robots, self-driving cars, and the like, most experts seem to believe that we are not far off from these fantastical inventions.  And with technology accelerating at an alarming rate, who knows what will be here in the next 25-50 years!

An article written by Christine Emba in The Washington Post titled, Smartphones changed our lives.  Let’s think before we invite the robots in, offers a unique perspective on technology and its future.  She opens her article discussing how the smartphone revolutionized the way we live and interact in our day to day lives.  We don’t truly think about this throughout our days as we are often on autopilot, but it is so very true.  She quotes, “Roughly three-quarters of Americans now own a smartphone. We rely on these devices to navigate almost every aspect of our lives.”

Emba remarks that, although it may be too late to peel our eyes off of our screens (I would disagree with her on this.  Habits can be reversed), we should seriously consider a more “intentional approach” when creating the next revolutionary tool.  With leading experts researching virtual reality and artificial intelligence, it is important to look at the negatives that such advanced technologies may bring.  Obviously, such technologies will come with a wide variety of advantages, but it’s just as if not more important to look at the disadvantages.  If not, we could end up becoming further and further removed.

The fact that the smartphone has become so ingrained in our culture is incredible.  I have talked about the importance of technology as a tool in some past posts, but the smartphone has become a cultural icon, an accessory that we use to define ourselves in an alternate reality.  Despite the significance that we have assigned to this thing (because, remember, it is just that.  A thing.), there will come a day when the smartphone is a useless entity.  The smartphone will become the next morse code, applauded for its coolness in its hey-day, but highly irrelevant in the present.  Will this change be gradual?  More than likely.  But with the ideas of the future, no matter how neat they may be for a moderately decent sci-fi action thriller, it does make me wonder how further removed we will be from each other, but also ourselves.  Because, remember, ‘tis not only the relationships we have with fellow people that suffer when we withdraw to our smartphones instead of engaging with the people in front of us; but our relationship with ourselves may suffer even greater.  Thinking about who we are and who we want to be is so vital.  Is that in danger?  Time will tell.

What are your thoughts on future technologies?  Is there reason to worry?  Comment below!

Your friend,


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