Are Smartphones Helping Or Hurting Humanity?

There was once a time in the not so distant past when everyone who wanted to make phone calls while away from home would gather up coins for use in payphones. It was understood that without this measure, being stranded was a very real possibility. Cell phones were only for the very rich and they had only one function: to call or be called. At this point, they costed an entire salary and each call both received and made would cost a significant sum. Gradually this changed to the point that nearly every human being in countries that are not abjectly poor has a cell phone of some sort and in rich countries most people have smart phones. With a product this widespread the question should be asked, do they help or hurt humanity overall?

They help us

Nearly every function that a human being can consider doing on his or her own the hard way can now be entrusted to smart technology. Every modern phone can do the tasks of hundreds of older devices and fit in the palm of a hand. They can tell us where we are, where our friends are, how to cook something, what it’s called in another language and many other useful functions. These may not seem like much but they occupy a great deal of our time. When we are bored, they provide us with games so that we always feel occupied. There are very few of use who could truly survive without them having experienced them for a fairly long time.

They hurt us

It may not be immediately obvious but having too much help can be a bad thing. Many skills are dying out. There are far few people who are skilled at map reading now that the number of GPS reading apps has grown so large. The ability to do mental mathematics is much less common now that every adult and most children have calculators in their pockets at all times. Worse yet, the ability to memorize phone numbers is no longer used. Neuro biologists will agree that if we do not use our brain capacity, it diminishes. Our smart devices are helping us become stupid.

The phones in our pockets are tools. We can use them to improve our lives and ourselves or we can allow them to rule us. The choice is ours and we must live with the consequences.