Lately, there has been a lot of talk about smartphones and the impact they have on society. Have you noticed how technology has changed your own life, or has it? Is it even likely that we could notice the change, with our heads so deep in our phones? And do we think these changes are for the better, or are they making us lazy and inattentive? Let’s be more specific, have you noticed how much Apple’s iPhones have changed how we do things today, because they seem to be catching most of the heat? IPhones have been accused of distracting society from the things that are important. If these things are true, is it possible the the blame has been misplaced on our beloved smartphones, when instead we should be taking responsibility for our lack of engagement in our own lives?
On, September 11, 2017, The New York Times released a video article titled “Things Apple’s iPhone Helped Destroy.” This article was very intriguing as it made you consider if iPhones actually “destroyed” other forms of technology and human beings, all in one. Let’s list everything The New York Times accused Apple’s iPhone of destroying, shall we: alarm clocks, cabs, cameras, small talk, calendars, compass, address book, work/life balance, postcards, watch, shame and humility, level, maps, anonymity, and photo albums. Could they possibly come up with a longer list?
Personally, I feel that we consider these things to be “destroyed” because we want to put the blame of not being responsible or able to control what/who we empower. on something other than ourselves. The definition of responsibility, as defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary, is the ability to carry out your own decision independently without authorization. While the definition of empowerment, also defined by the New Oxford Dictionary, is the authority or power given to someone to take action, but to elaborate more this it is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s right.
Smartphones, particularly iPhones, cannot destroy anything. We are accountable for the independent choices that we make. We choose to use many apps that iPhone (or any other smartphone device) provides and we continue to use them in our everyday lives. Which is why this connects to the empowerment that we give our devices. We don't allow these different technical devices to control us but we choose to use and control them in our everyday life.
For example, the article states that iPhones demolished small talk when it comes to making contact with others in person. If we take responsibility and empower ourselves to encourage such a simple task then could we really blame iPhones (or other devices) for demolishing something? The choice to talk to somebody is totally up to the people at hand, no one else. The phone isn’t telling you not to talk to somebody in person.
Small talk is only one of the few things the New York times listed as being destroyed by smartphones. Cabs and their services were not destroyed, they were made available though many different apps like Uber, Lyft, and many other companies. This also lowers the rate of people who decide to drive intoxicated since they have these services at their fingertips.
Alarm clocks, cameras, calendars, address book, watch, maps, and photo albums have made things easier and way more interactive through smartphones. We are able to turn on and off alarm clocks or even set them for certain days and never have to worry about resetting them. Our cameras are just as good as a handheld camera, and we are able to post for our photo album and have them at all times since they were taken with our smartphone. Calendars, address book, watch, and maps are also easier to have access too.
Compass, work/life balance, postcards, shame and humility, level, and anonymity have also been made available at everyone’s disposal. But there is more to our phones then the things that they listed. Our smartphones also make information accessible. As a student, gaining information or being able to get information as fast as possible is definitely a benefit. It also allows us to be more interactive with social media, which is constantly on the rise.
Technology will never have a still moment, where it stops improving and making our everyday life easier. There will always be advantages and disadvantages when it comes down to technology, especially our cellular devices. It us up to us, as mankind, to take responsibility and empower ourselves to keep our human attributes, such as small talk. Nevertheless, do you believe iPhones destroyed things or did they make it easier for us? If we are taking responsibility for our own changing interest, as a society, I think it’s safe to say that yes, smartphones are changing the way we do things, but that doesn't mean we can't and don't still appreciate a different, older, and possibly more romantic way. Many people have accused social media of destroying print news, but still here we are in 2018, the age of Twitter and Reddit, debating an article from the New York Times.