The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Wednesday September 28th

Smartphones aren’t always the smart choice

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By Mike Herold
Fantasy Sports Editor

We live in a world filled to the brim with technology. You know what I’m talking about — there’s a good chance you’re reading this on a smartphone, a technological advancement that was a wild dream as recently as 20 years ago. Come on, a computer that fits in the palm of your hand and also functions as a phone, plays games and lets you watch movies or TV shows that stream from websites? The future is here, and it’s sitting right there in your fingers.

Individuals become more dependent on their phones with each new version companies produce. (AP Photo)

Now here’s the problem: I don’t think that the technological boom is necessarily a good thing.

Hold on, hear me out real quick before you jump to some conclusion that I’m a tech-hating spouter of nonsense.

As most of the people who know me will tell you, I don’t have a smartphone, but that isn’t necessarily because I hate technology. It has more to do with the fact that I’m broke and can’t afford one. Not having one has let me notice something important: Smartphones are making us dumber.

Not dumber in terms of IQ points or scores in class, mind you. When I say that smartphones are making us dumber, I’m referring to the way we communicate with one another, which might eventually translate to a loss in those other, more important categories of “smartness.”

See, back when we were all kids, we had to actually call each other on the phone in order to contact our friends. We had to talk to their parents, most likely, which meant we had to use actual words and some modicum of politeness. Now if we want to talk to a friend, we just send a text, likely lacking in any sort of polite wording or anything resembling proper grammar. Heck, we’ve got autocorrect if we even want to pretend to sound “smart.”

Another area of shrinking expertise is the art of the argument. Not a shouting argument, but a simple hearty discussion of different ideals and points of view.

In the past, in order to sound remotely intelligent whenever you and your peers got into one of these discussions you had to have some sort of prior knowledge about the subject. You had to think differently in order to make whatever point you wanted to make, while possibly seeing another perspective from your opposition. Now we don’t have intellectual debates, we have searching competitions.

A person does not need to remember anything, since Google is just a few finger swipes away, and no argument a college student makes is going to hit too hard against the graduate dissertation the smartphone user can pull up while sitting on the couch.

That’s what I’m talking about when I say that smartphones, and technology in general, are making us dumber. We aren’t required to do as much or learn as much, or even use as many words, simply because every bit of information we’d possibly need is right there in our hands, ready to autocorrect and search as needed.



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