Smartphones are ubiquitous. Most families have at least two, maybe three or more if the children are old enough to speak, which means that there are more smartphones than refrigerators in America today. (This information comes from a highly scientific survey, conducted by yours truly, in which I sat thinking for almost a minute about the people that I know and noticed that most of them have only one kitchen but many of them have more than one smartphone. Solid stuff right there. Trust me; I would never mislead my readers by presenting mere speculation and calling it “research”). You will occasionally encounter a family that uses a phone just for making “calls” and does all that other stuff on a “computer,” but for the most part, people will give up cable, pizza delivery, and running water before they part with the Shiny Rectangle of Power.
Some old-fashioned types like to commiserate about the Death of Society and how all this technology is killing our ability to communicate or whatever, but they said the same thing about television and boy, were they wrong about that! They probably said the same thing when the printing press was invented, too. Naysayers and progress-inhibitors will always try to hold us back, but I hope to enlighten some of them – and reaffirm those of you who already use your smartphones to make the world a better place – with my list of:
FIVE REASONS SMARTPHONES ARE BETTER THAN PEOPLE
1. Smartphones Prevent Boredom
Remember when you would be in a waiting room or an airport or a train station and have to endure minutes upon minutes of sitting there with nothing but three-year-old magazines and equally bored strangers to help you pass the time? Thanks to smartphones, you no longer have to pick up a Reader’s Digest or even make eye contact with other people, much less strike up a conversation. They probably didn’t want to talk to you anyway. I mean, they now have smartphones too. If people were interested in conversing, they wouldn’t have bought them.
2. Smartphones are Always Interesting
People are boring sometimes. Decades ago, if you were at a dinner party or a family reunion and the conversation lagged, there was nothing to do but suffer through it. Your options were limited to (a) pretending to care; (b) stuffing your face so at least your tastebuds wouldn’t get bored; or (c) making up some lame excuse to leave, like saying, “This is boring. I’m going to go sit in my car and listen to talk radio for an hour.” Now, however, you can just whip out your smartphone and check Facebook, right in the middle of the conversation. Of course, some traditionalists hold the quaint belief that this is rude; however, we all know that it would be even ruder to actually comment on this. So you’re good.
3. People are Messy
You know it’s true. People – maybe even you, sometimes – have bad hair days, get crabby, and are generally unpredictable. We occasionally say things that aren’t as clever as possible, and sometimes we have emotions, and people who come into contact with us have to be sensitive to that. This is WAY too much work for everybody. Communicating solely through handheld devices ensures that you will never have to deal with unwanted conflict, let somebody see you without makeup on, or be embarrassed by not having a witty remark prepared in real time.
4. Smartphones Know Everything
How many people do you know who fit that description? That’s right: none. This is the Information Age, which means that knowing stuff is important, which means that the human brain is becoming hopelessly outdated. Keep in mind, of course, that “knowing” is different from “remembering.” With a universe of information, statistics, and cat pictures at your fingertips in the Shiny Rectangle of Power, you no longer need the ability to process complex thoughts, tackle difficult issues, or acquire lasting knowledge. Google will tell you what you need to know what you need to know it. Conversely, while talking to people might help build relationships and so forth, it involves precious little data transfer.
5. You Can’t Turn People Off
I think this one is self-explanatory. People…they’re just always there. And sometimes you don’t want them to be. With Facebook, text messaging, and comment sections on controversial articles, you can just log off and go watch reruns of Dr. Who when the interaction becomes too strenuous. Done. But if you accidentally engage in conversation with a person who’s physically present, and it becomes tiresome in some way, what can you do? Sure, you can whip out your smartphone, but the person will STILL BE THERE. Better to embrace the technology and avoid getting yourself into that situation in the first place.
As smartphones become even smarter, my hope is that everyone will eventually realize how much easier life is when we leave things up to technology. The sporadic bouts of human interaction that inevitably occur will be simpler and more efficient than they are currently, as each person involved will know that the safety of a smartphone is within arm’s reach. With your help, I believe we can make it happen.