Smartphones Smarter than us

Anastasios Rodis/ Exercise Physiologist
19 February, 2017

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As you start reading this article, take a moment to think how many times you have checked your smartphone today. Add the time you played games, explored the web, checked posts on Facebook, twitter or another social network. Actually, even at this very moment you might be reading this article on your smartphone or tablet, while you are seated in a cozy cafeteria enjoying your coffee with some friends. Oh, and did you notice that your friends next to you are also using their smartphones ignoring your existence? Sadly, this is a precise paradigm of how we act in our social life nowadays. For me it seems that we have exchanged our actual social lives for a virtual one. I got the spark to write this article after a conversation that I had with a swimming coach few years back, where we were both seriously wondering if these innovating technologies could influence our lifestyle, and if so, to what extent.

Without spending enormous amount of time, I came to the conclusion that probably it can. I remembered a quote by Albert Einstein, saying “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” I thought, this approach might be true. People around me, myself included, spend a lot of our precious time doing something on our smartphones, ignoring face-to-face communication and any kind of incentives from our surroundings. My concern became greater when I read a recent report by Forrester Research that showed some numbers on the upcoming mobile explosion. According to the report, by 2016, one billion consumers will have smartphones. Only in the U.S alone, consumers will own 257 million smartphones and 126 million tablets. Therefore, putting together Albert Einstein’s beliefs about our future and the recent research findings, I came to the belief that something could go wrong here.

Until now, there is no strong scientific evidence examining the relationship between the use of smartphones and the impact that it might have on our social life. However, sometimes we don’t need scientific evidence to reveal something that becomes more than obvious. Going back to the talk that I had with the swimming coach about the technological revolution and its’ impact on the younger generations, I want to share a story that he told me. He said to me “the other day I was observing some students who were in the school’s kitchen trying to fry some eggs, but the funny part was that they were struggling to find a way to break these eggs properly in order to fry them”. Funny but at the same time very worrying, since kids have stopped observing and learning behaviours form adults, as they are continuously living within the surreal world of their smartphones. But is it only our social and mental life that is strongly affected by the intensive use of smartphones and tablets? From my point of view, this is only one side of the coin, and on the other side we can see the impact on our physical well-being. But we will cover this second side of the coin in one of our future articles.

Back in 1992, Nokia introduced its “connecting people” advertising slogan. Back then this slogan was very true, since mobile phones were only used in order to communicate with people who were part of our real life. But since then, everything has changed. Now we use a smartphone and not a mobile phone. We spend enormous time communicating with people whom we have never met, decreasing our attention for friends and family next to us. We have stopped observing people, behaviors and objects around us, since we are completely absorbed in our virtual world. Therefore, my simple suggestion to you is “start using your smartphone in a smarter way”. 



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