Saturday, May 6, 2017

I hate my Phone (don't tell that to my phone)

I wish we had not grown so dependent on our smartphone. 

There is this constant tendency to look at the screen and connect to the outside world and check if we have missed anything. Like an auto update for apps, we check for updates every few minutes. 

It is literally automatic. I have this app for news feed called inshorts. If I’m idle for 5 minutes, and thats no exaggeration, I automatically check my phone for alerts and then automatically open inshorts for any news updates and then automatically open Instagram. It is so frustrating sometimes because I take the phone to make a call and see that I have received a text. It is obviously some company who is very much concerned if I have enough clothes/insurance/internet in my life and are going to great lengths and discounts to ensure I'm happy. Then I open inshorts to learn that some uneducated politician with a criminal background said or did something that an uneducated criminal would do. Or some movie star said or did something that is in no way whatsoever going to affect my life, sometimes it doesn't even affect his own life. Last, I check Instagram which rarely has any updates since I follow very few people and I'm sure it would take just 30 seconds if I choose to just check it just once at the end of the day instead of 5 seconds 20 times a day. And by the end of this very important life saving routine, I have forgotten why I took the phone out in the first place. And this is when I’ve consciously kept facebook out of my phone. 

I feel constantly conned by my smart(ass)phone and the internet and they slowly but surely eat away a huge chunk of my time. The beautiful photos and videos that I am able to take of my family and things I love just because the phone is within reach all the time is priceless. Clearly, there cannot be a future without either of them, but if we don’t manage to balance it, it will collapse our lives. There should be a scientific method to determine and limit the use of such technology within a threshold limit for individuals. But technology is moving into a more invasive mode with future devices getting stuck to your face, creating a virtual reality.

Talking about the balance, you take a nice photo on your phone and then send it to your close family and friends or post it on social media and get a few likes. That is the threshold. Now you can take that photo, print it, frame it in your home or desk and enjoy that. That would be very positive, but you wouldn’t do it because there are so many, which would you print? And you have a very expensive phone with an awesomatic 24k SXYHD display, why would you want to spend more money, and more importantly time, to print and frame it when you can see it any time in your phone. But the fact is you don’t. You never see those photos again. These beautiful photos and the memories are so short lived and limited to how many likes and comments they get on social media. Before you can fully comprehend the beauty and joy of that moment, the next photo is already uploading. I wish we had a day of the month when we would just look at a large screen with a slide show of all our photos and talk about them to our family. 

We think there is a future where we are not so busy and will have time to do all these things that are accumulating in our virtual to do list. But even before we finish that thought, we know that it’s not true. We have seen our parents buy into that scheme and ask for a refund. They thought they just wanted to see a foreign country, so they felt they could do it later. But later they realized they wanted to eat their sugar and cholesterol rich street food which they can’t due to diabetes. They realized they wanted to roam in leisure without anyone’s assistance or orders which they can’t because they have fallen behind technology and don’t have the guts they once had. They realized they wanted to reach atop mountains in early mornings and have adventures which they can’t because of arthritis and asthma.

Technology is already preparing for our old age. Virtual reality will let us go anywhere we want at the comfort of our own bed. Devices will be able to send signals to our brain that will replicate the sensations of eating pork ribs in Australia.

Many of our decisions like buying some car or clothes are taken with a lot of thought and research because we know that they will affect our lives even if is for a short period of time. We spend a lot more collective effort to decide on a life partner. But somewhere in our past, we have decided to get in a very close, tedious and mutually beneficial relationship with technology and social media. Have we given it enough thought before we took the decision? Is it possible to break up? Or better yet, can we reverse roles? Be the dominant one?