• zerozechs

    Technology is not the answer to everything.

    I don't agree with him completely; smartphones are one of the most democratizing forces ever unleashed on the planet, and empowers the average person leaps and bounds past anything feverishly imagined a mere 20 years ago. However, people can and will become over-reliant on anything. No doubt similar arguments were made about the tractor and accurate weather forecasting making farming too easy and thus farmers were losing their connection to nature. The reality is that human societies are always predicated on the systems and technologies we employ to make our lives easier working consistently. When these break down, yes, people will not always be able to cope. However, people will always be people and will thus be able to work things out, by and by.

    I think an argument could successfully be made that a smartphone is by nature a compromised piece of technology, and will never perform any of its sub-tasks (camera, video recorder, PC etc.) as optimally as a modern device designed for that single task. That has some merit and for professionals or enthusiasts in those fields makes sense. Still, for the average end user, these aren't the real concerns. There are better arguments for not using a smartphone; privacy concerns, unit cost, cost of service, poor battery life etc. The privacy concerns are the real issue, and in many ways are insurmountable if you wish to use the multitude of location based functionality that a smartphone provides.

    I think the real virtue of a smartphone is that you now have ultimate reachability. You will receive phone calls, text messages, emails, chats, instant messages etc. in real time, regardless of where you are provided you have service. How important (or even desirable) that is is dependent on your outlook on this reachability. I can foresee circumstances where a person, not wanting to be that accessible, goes back to a basic phone that only a select few people can reach at any given time, provided they are willing to give up all the functionality that a smartphone provides. I've considered doing this myself, as all I really need is a camera for emergency pictures (like car accidents) and some form of mp3 playback (almost universal now). The cost of breaking my contract with Verizon is all that is keeping me from attempting this experiment.