Sunday, 6 October 2013

Smartphones: Smartly making us dumb?

Today, if you tell a child that there was a time when there were no phones, he would think of you as an idiot.  There was a time when there were round shaped dials on phones in our houses and we literally used to fight over the issue that who is going to pick up the phone next time it rings. Journey from Telephone to phone and now smartphone has been a long one though, and in this post - computer generation children are born having an expert like knowledge of e-gadgets. It is true that Smartphones have become not only part of our daily lives but also an extension of our selves.

Now a days the term phone is used with a prefix “smart”, smartphones - phones that are smart enough to do anything that you wish for. With smartphones you are always connected to the world, thanks to Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter is just a few touches away; don’t worry even if you are lost in the middle of a desert, just switch on your smartphone’s GPS and there you go, you will get turn by turn directions to your home. It doesn’t matter if you are aware of current rate of Dollar in INR, who is the current PM of Australia, stock price of Apple Inc., how far is the moon from earth – Google is there to help you; your one stop search for everything.  You are out on holidays and your “Incompetent Boss” called and asked you to make a presentation and send him in couple of hours and unfortunately you didn’t bring your Laptop with you (which moron carries a laptop during holidays!), In this case your smartphone is your life saver in which you can prepare and entire presentation using apps like MS Office, iWork etc. Gone are the days when you used to carry Digicams and SLRs separately with you to take pictures, but with smartphones you can easily take SLR like pictures and don’t have to be a pro to know the exposure settings, lenses required…you just have to make click at the right time and instantly share it in social networking sites. You can check emails even while struck in traffic.
A few days back Apple launched its flagship device – iPhone 5S, which has a fingerprint scanner and desktop class 64 bit architecture in its new A7 processor. The first thing came into my mind was - “dude is it a phone or a Laptop”. Buts it’s true that smartphones are giving some tough time to Laptops.
But is it a boon or bane? Smartphone are used so frequently that they have made us so helplessly dependent that we will be lost if one fine morning we wake up to find our Smartphone got vanished. There was once a time when people used to meet in clubs, parks or in pubs or in gatherings for social interaction and sharing of thoughts and ideas with friends and families. Now they do everything with just a single touch. People are happy to interact in a social space (online) that seems more relish, more actual. People who are unable to reveal their thoughts in real world find it very easy to communicate with people in a virtual world, and gradually they are constructing their virtual counterpart which is entirely opposite from each other. In most of the cases the virtual dominates the real; and smartphone having all-in-one features is acting as a catalyst helping in our continued existence in virtual world. Therefore, a world without Smartphone will push us towards an existential crisis.

Being a guy from this generation I can easily say that we can’t imagine a single day without our smartphones.
We are in an age where knowing about weather forecast or getting updated world news do not depend on arrival of newspapers or telecasting of news shows.  We wake up with checking the day’s schedule on the touch screen of our Smartphone and start working accordingly. Imagining a world without Smartphone is more horrifying than a ghostly nightmare. So, what should we call ourselves? May be Siri could answer!!