Smartphones making us Dumber?

I must be getting old, or at least older.  A recent Craigslist post has got me thinking about the good ‘ole days before smart phones, cell phones and the instant gratification given to us by having essentially every piece of information every contemplated or written down at our disposal in real time.

A restaurant in Manhattan analysed some video tape from 10 years ago, to find out why they were getting negative reviews on YELP! What they found highlights an incredible change in human behaviour and an explanation on how their average meal time almost doubled.

Here is their Craigslist post, with their findings.

I started to contemplate some of the things that have changed in the last 10-15 years with the advent and popularity of smartphones – here’s my list:

  1. You could be wrong for days in bar banter, before someone got around to fact checking your B.S.
  2. People’s washrooms doubled as libraries.  People read books.
  3. Asking, “excuse me, are you done with the sport section?”
  4. Out of Office, meant out of office and not reachable to respond to your emails; instead of today where it means ‘it might take me 3 minutes instead of 2 to respond.’
  5. People told jokes instead of forwarding them. (a lost art for sure, along with storytelling)
  6. The difficulty of making change to make a phone call when you weren’t near your landline
  7. Quiet contemplative thought is lost.  .Louis C.K. (edgy, but awesome comedian) discusses this point here.
  8. Keeping your head up was important on the ice, now no one even does it walking down the street.  its survival walking down the street. (Pedestrian Injuries soar due to distraction.)
  9. People got stood up WAY more often, honestly, mistakenly
  10. If you wanted to meet someone you had to ‘put yourself out there,’ and then if you wanted to break up with someone, at the very least you had to call them!

There are a lot of people suggesting that we are losing humanity due to our use of smartphones.  I’m not sure that smartphone use is going to be the cause of the destruction of humanity, however in a world where our attention span is limited to about 140 characters, perhaps resisting the urge to check the blinking red light on our phone – if only for an instant – will improve productivity, relationships and maybe even lead to some introspection and profound thought.


Vatican City – how it looked so differently between Pope Francis and Pope Benedict.

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