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Old 05-19-2020, 04:39 PM
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Mobile (cell) phones


Have they been overall, an advantage or or a disadvantage to the well-being of humanity?
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:48 PM
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Hey? How can one even ask! Huge advantage! Ever had a flat tire on a major freeway in a rainstorm? You can call for assistance without getting soaked. Ever see a crime being committed? Ever see a cool garden or fountain? (Cameras!) Ever been late to work because of traffic? Ever just want to phone your sister?

Wonderful invention! Literally life-saving!
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:50 PM
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Have they been overall, an advantage or or a disadvantage to the well-being of humanity?
Do you include "smartphones" or all portable phones?

I think portable phones have been an advantage overall. It is said that cell phones cause people to neglect letters and face to face conversations, and that this is the most important disadvantage to the well-being of humanity. My parents and grandparents say that before cell phones (roughly the early '90s here), people were already spending lots of time - too much time - on the phone. But if this was happening even before the cell phone, it's not really a disadvantage of the cell phone as a technology, is it?

There is a real concern that historians in the future would have less to go by as people stop writing letters. But I think other technologies like text messages and particularly the Internet will provide plenty of material for historians. And again, this concern is not really tied to cell phones as much as telephones in general.

~Max
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:37 AM
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Few people now seem to be 'where they are', I see couples (before conrona-virus distancing, of course) sitting together & both parties glaring at their phones. Once I could hear the children in my village walking to & from the school bus from some distance by their shouting & laughter, now they seem walk singly in silence, either staring at their phones or with headphones on.
Yes they have been a convenience & have probably saved, but at a high societal price when over-used.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:29 AM
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I think you may mean miniaturized, portable computers rather than cellular phones. If modern cell phones could only be used to make phone calls would you have a problem with them?

I love having a tiny computer with me all of the time. It connects me with more people, not fewer. This is admittedly sometimes at the expense of in depth interaction with those nearby.

Last edited by Dark Sponge; 05-20-2020 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:15 AM
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Hey? How can one even ask! Huge advantage! Ever had a flat tire on a major freeway in a rainstorm? You can call for assistance without getting soaked.
In that particular example, aren't you just using your phone to ask another person to get soaked for you? It's not a net benefit for the well-being of humanity if you're just transferring the misery from one person to another.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:48 AM
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I think you may mean miniaturized, portable computers rather than cellular phones. If modern cell phones could only be used to make phone calls would you have a problem with them?

I love having a tiny computer with me all of the time. It connects me with more people, not fewer. This is admittedly sometimes at the expense of in depth interaction with those nearby.
I suppose younger generations than I (& there's quite a few!) can't imagine the world without them, but I'm genuinely interested why you want to 'connect' with more & more remote people in less & less time.

Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker expressed it brilliantly I think; "Smartphones create a dependency without ever actually addressing a need."
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:57 PM
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In that particular example, aren't you just using your phone to ask another person to get soaked for you? It's not a net benefit for the well-being of humanity if you're just transferring the misery from one person to another.
Yeah, but he's a trained paid professional. He can change the tire better than I can. He gets paid, I get service, the economy grows, benefit for humanity!
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:14 PM
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I suppose younger generations than I (& there's quite a few!) can't imagine the world without them, but I'm genuinely interested why you want to 'connect' with more & more remote people in less & less time.

Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker expressed it brilliantly I think; "Smartphones create a dependency without ever actually addressing a need."
Yeah, that’s truly moronic.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:32 PM
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Yeah, that’s truly moronic.
Agreed. I guess I don't 'need" to be able to communicate with my friend in England without spending a fortune, worrying about the time difference or taking two weeks for it to arrive.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:46 PM
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I suppose younger generations than I (& there's quite a few!) can't imagine the world without them, but I'm genuinely interested why you want to 'connect' with more & more remote people in less & less time.

Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker expressed it brilliantly I think; "Smartphones create a dependency without ever actually addressing a need."
I was twenty when I got my first cell phone and thirty when I got my first smartphone. So I can definitely imagine life without them, I lived more than half of my life without cell phones.

I don't see how they take away anything. They only add. Nothing is stopping you from sitting down and having a conversation in person with whoever will converse with you (except quarantine, that will stop you). Phones just give you the option to have the same conversation while you are greatly separated, too. The phone allows you to get help when your car is stranded by the side of the road at night. It also allows you to turn the damn thing off when you're through with it, if you ever are.

I'm not seeing the downsides. Would I like to be twenty years old again? Sure. Is it the cellphone's fault that I'm not? No. Let's not let nostalgia for the old days blind us to the clear benefits of modern technology. The "greatest generation" would have killed for a device like that in their youth.
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Old 05-20-2020, 02:00 PM
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I guess that if I am hopelessly lost in an unfamiliar area, I don't "need" to easily find my way home or to my hotel.

I don't "need" to send a quick picture to someone to help with troubleshooting rather than spend half an hour describing it back and forth with someone.
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Old 05-20-2020, 02:31 PM
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I don't see how they take away anything. They only add.
I disagree. I think they're a net positive, but they're not an unmixed blessing. They can be be addictive and negatively impact people's mental health; and they can make people more distracted and less present to the world and people around them.


Yesterday I happened to be watching a video of someone watching and reacting to the video of Queen's performance at Live Aid. The reactor wondered what it would have been like to have been present in the audience, and noted that this was before cell phones, and that an experience like that wouldn't be possible today because too many people in the audience would have been distracted by their phones.
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Old 05-20-2020, 02:38 PM
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ISTM it's a thing people like to grumble about, because we tend to only notice the annoying stuff (person watching movie with sound on, zombie walking into you because (s)he's not looking where she's going etc), and not notice all the many improvements it's made to our lives over time because we take them for granted.

Heck, look at recently with covid: there's an app on my phone for tracking my status and the status of people around me; when I go to a public place I can show a code on my phone that indicates I have not been near to anyone diagnosed with the virus. Furthermore, the app will warn me if, say, I was in a train carriage with someone later diagnosed with the virus. Just one example of the kind of things we can roll out now that wasn't possible even with home computers.

Last edited by Mijin; 05-20-2020 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 05-20-2020, 02:47 PM
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Yesterday I happened to be watching a video of someone watching and reacting to the video of Queen's performance at Live Aid. The reactor wondered what it would have been like to have been present in the audience, and noted that this was before cell phones, and that an experience like that wouldn't be possible today because too many people in the audience would have been distracted by their phones.
Some tours have rules about cell phones, and a couple actually have security zip up your phone in a bag during check in. That's a debate unto itself. I generally don't think artists should decide how people consume their art, but if it's becoming a problem for other patrons it's reasonable for the venue to impose restrictions. Compare with phone policy in movie theatres - you have to have rules because the noises and lights will actually prevent other patrons from watching the movie. If you watch the movie on home release, or listen to the music off the studio album, then you get to use your phone however you want.

~Max
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Old 05-20-2020, 02:51 PM
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Few people now seem to be 'where they are', I see couples (before conrona-virus distancing, of course) sitting together & both parties glaring at their phones. .
Here's the thing, you are particularly paying attention to the people on their phones at that one moment. You aren't really noticing everyone else. And if they're just on their phones at that one time, does it really matter? My wife and I will sometimes spend the entire day doing things together without looking at our phones. Sitting down, waiting for our food might be the one break where we can decompress and check on things. But older diners are probably looking at us think about those damn millennials who won't get off their phones.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:57 PM
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No sane person would decry the advantageous need for a means of gaining help when your car breaks down at midnight in the rain, but what is the need for children to be so hooked on the damn things? What is the need you have to be continually knowing what other people are doing, where they are & what they are thinking?
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:17 PM
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No sane person would decry the advantageous need for a means of gaining help when your car breaks down at midnight in the rain, but what is the need for children to be so hooked on the damn things? What is the need you have to be continually knowing what other people are doing, where they are & what they are thinking?
Now you're moving the goalposts. There's a big difference between the claim that smartphones do (or do not) address a need, vs. the claim that everything that (some) people use smartphones for is (or is not) a need.
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:17 PM
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No sane person would decry the advantageous need for a means of gaining help when your car breaks down at midnight in the rain, but what is the need for children to be so hooked on the damn things? What is the need you have to be continually knowing what other people are doing, where they are & what they are thinking?
Why isn't, "People enjoy it," enough of a reason?
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:42 PM
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Are you kidding me? I wanted a car phone since before I was even old enough to drive. They only had them in movies then. Or I should say, according to movies, some rich people had them.

I wanted a car phone when I was old enough to drive but in reality only had a bicycle.

In the early '80s my husband had a car phone in his work truck, which he was allowed to drive home. I would go out on the street, climb into the truck, and call my friends. "Hey, guess where I'm calling from? THE TRUCK. Ha ha ha!"

So yeah, I got one as soon as I could and happy to have it. I don't actually see a downside. Essentially waited half my life for it and have enjoyed the hell out of it in the other half. I can't say it has ever saved my life but it has saved me from a long wait on a fairly deserted highway with my kids in the car and because of it I did not have to rely on the kindness of a stranger but was able to call AAA.

I fail to see any possible way it could be a disadvantage to humanity.
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:58 PM
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I got my first cell phone in 1999. Honestly, I was not happy about it but it was a job requirement. On the very first day that I had it I was driving home that evening and I saw a bicycle rider get hit by a truck (slow moving, he wasn't horribly hurt from what I could tell). I was able to immediately call 911.
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:03 PM
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Every major technological change solves ten old problems and causes nine new ones. So let it be with mobile (smart) phones. Yeah, a little addictive. Yeah, some social disruption. Yeah, some dimbulbs text while driving.

It's much more than paid for itself simply for the huge number of times people have been able to call for emergency medical assistance from remote locations.
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Old 05-20-2020, 07:11 PM
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Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker expressed it brilliantly I think; "Smartphones create a dependency without ever actually addressing a need."
Nobody who remembers a time before cell phones could say this and mean it.
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Old 05-20-2020, 07:42 PM
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Nobody who remembers a time before cell phones could say this and mean it.
I don't think that he actually said it. I searched around a bit because I was certain that that quote had to be taken out of context somehow. Near as I can tell, he never said anything of the sort. I found one essay from six years ago where he said that he loves smartphones but didn't like social media in general and Twitter specifically.
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Old 05-20-2020, 08:38 PM
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I'm wondering how much of the cell phone problem is from cell phones per se, and how much of it is from social media that happens to be consumed on cell phones.
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:01 PM
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I'm wondering how much of the cell phone problem is from cell phones per se, and how much of it is from social media that happens to be consumed on cell phones.
Social media's main problem is the weaponization of Yellow Journalism: Sources create lies which both attract attention and feed into larger lies, getting huge numbers of people to believe them to the exclusion of news which is closer to reality. Social media platforms are only now making a serious effort to stop it, and probably won't catch all of it.

Of course, not helping are all the idiots who pretend to be wise, who refuse to see shades of gray: All news is somewhat biased, therefore all news is biased, therefore CNN is just as bad as RT and Infowars/Alex Jones. Refusing to see nuance is a lack of critical thinking, and a mark of mental and emotional immaturity, but by God it can make idiots feel like they're wise.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:56 AM
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Yesterday I happened to be watching a video of someone watching and reacting to the video of Queen's performance at Live Aid. The reactor wondered what it would have been like to have been present in the audience, and noted that this was before cell phones, and that an experience like that wouldn't be possible today because too many people in the audience would have been distracted by their phones.
Until recently, I went to a lot of concerts. Some people use their phone in an annoying manner to take crappy videos they'll never watch of their favorite songs. But otherwise I don't see a lot of phone use outside of breaks and intermissions. And even if they did, who cares? If someone else wants to pay their hard earned money to look at their phone in a different place than they normally do, it doesn't bother me or alter my appreciation of the performance in any way.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:29 AM
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I suppose younger generations than I (& there's quite a few!) can't imagine the world without them, but I'm genuinely interested why you want to 'connect' with more & more remote people in less & less time...
The large bag style cell phones came out when I was in my twenties. I can imagine a world without cell phones pretty well.

I am an introvert and focused interpersonal communication can be exhausting for me. It doesn't mean I don't enjoy it, just that it requires effort. Before cell phones were popular I communicated with my parents maybe once a month? Now, it's almost daily because asynchronous communication (text message) is much easier for me. I think my kids communicate with me more for the same reason. We don't have to wait to arrange a time when we are both available to communicate.

It's also nice having a computer containing the world's knowledge at my fingertips. It gives good directions too.
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:42 PM
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I grew up before cellphones and smartphones, and the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
If you are running late you can tell the person you're meeting.
You never get lost, eliminating a whole class of men don't ask directions jokes.
Uber and Lyft.
Cellphone lots at airports. Cheaper than paying, safer and wastes less gas than driving around and around until you find your party.
When I'm walking in San Francisco, I can get the Muni app and find a bus going where I want to go and find when it is coming.
Loading supermarket coupons at the spur of the moment.
Avoiding traffic. When I used to commute, I could use my phone to find the best way home.

I'm not counting email or social media or even the phone.
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Old 05-22-2020, 02:40 AM
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I too was also born before cellphones, in fact I remember well my childhood in England in the 1940's when even having a house-phone was way beyond the reach of most people. Of course there are advantages, but I think people are today withdrawing into remote interactions not directly with the people around them. What's wrong with getting lost now & then & having to talk to people to get directions? Walk through a train compartment & almost everyone is staring at their phones whereas at one time there would have been more of meeting & talking to strangers. These things are making anti-social dummies out of everyone. Do young people know how to read maps anymore? & every fact is now literally at your fingertips (maybe) & no longer a subject of discussion.
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:04 AM
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Do young people know how to read maps anymore?
Wouldn't smartphones mean that people use maps more than they used to? They used to be these unwieldy folding things, or great big books; now they're right there on your phone to use whenever you want.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 05-22-2020 at 04:04 AM.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:05 AM
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I too was also born before cellphones, in fact I remember well my childhood in England in the 1940's when even having a house-phone was way beyond the reach of most people. Of course there are advantages, but I think people are today withdrawing into remote interactions not directly with the people around them. What's wrong with getting lost now & then & having to talk to people to get directions? Walk through a train compartment & almost everyone is staring at their phones whereas at one time there would have been more of meeting & talking to strangers. These things are making anti-social dummies out of everyone. Do young people know how to read maps anymore? & every fact is now literally at your fingertips (maybe) & no longer a subject of discussion.
I was able to use my smartphone to determine that the quote you mentioned up thread was comeplete bullshit. I don’t have a ton of experience with commuter trains but I recall lots of people reading books and especially newspapers.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:38 AM
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I was able to use my smartphone to determine that the quote you mentioned up thread was comeplete bullshit. I don’t have a ton of experience with commuter trains but I recall lots of people reading books and especially newspapers.
You didn't prove anything with your smart phone, all you demonstrated is that you couldn't find it. I entered it in a notebook some time ago, it was from a Times Literary Supplement article, but I have no record of which one & I'm not sufficiently articulate to have made it up. Perhaps it sticks in your craw because it is near the truth.
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Old 05-22-2020, 06:57 AM
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You didn't prove anything with your smart phone, all you demonstrated is that you couldn't find it. I entered it in a notebook some time ago, it was from a Times Literary Supplement article, but I have no record of which one & I'm not sufficiently articulate to have made it up. Perhaps it sticks in your craw because it is near the truth.

It doesn't matter who said it and where because the statement is still false and asinine.

Critics said the same of the radio 100 years ago, TV in the 50s, Home computers/video games in the 80s. Sure it's not all positive, as with any new technology, there are some people that may overuse, or even become addicted and dependent on it. Where are all those "anti-social dummies" now?

The smart phone is one on of the greatest inventions ever, after the internet and the printing press. Seriously, you're talking about a tool that allows you to communicate to and from almost anywhere while having access to the sum of all human knowledge at your fingertips.

Interestingly, from Wiki...

The need to communicate led to the creation of different communication devices – this is a prime example of the expression: Necessity is the mother of invention.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:10 AM
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Do young people know how to read maps anymore?
Do you know how to use a slide rule?
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:12 AM
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Do you know how to use a slide rule?
I have a slide rule app on my phone. Does that count?

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Old 05-22-2020, 08:37 AM
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It doesn't matter who said it and where because the statement is still false and asinine.

Critics said the same of the radio 100 years ago, TV in the 50s, Home computers/video games in the 80s. Sure it's not all positive, as with any new technology, there are some people that may overuse, or even become addicted and dependent on it. Where are all those "anti-social dummies" now?

The smart phone is one on of the greatest inventions ever, after the internet and the printing press. Seriously, you're talking about a tool that allows you to communicate to and from almost anywhere while having access to the sum of all human knowledge at your fingertips.

Interestingly, from Wiki...

The need to communicate led to the creation of different communication devices – this is a prime example of the expression: Necessity is the mother of invention.
Errr.. I know what they are & what they do - I've had several. The question is, are the societal & psychological costs worth the dependency? There's a clear example above of someone who thinks that because something doesn't appear on his smart phone it can't exist!
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:49 AM
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You didn't prove anything with your smart phone, all you demonstrated is that you couldn't find it. I entered it in a notebook some time ago, it was from a Times Literary Supplement article, but I have no record of which one & I'm not sufficiently articulate to have made it up. Perhaps it sticks in your craw because it is near the truth.
Lol. Bullshit. It’s no where near the truth.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:52 AM
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However, he did say it. I stand corrected on that.

https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/essays-120/

It’s from his new collection of essays “In Mid Air”

Last edited by hajario; 05-22-2020 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:53 AM
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Errr.. I know what they are & what they do - I've had several. The question is, are the societal & psychological costs worth the dependency? There's a clear example above of someone who thinks that because something doesn't appear on his smart phone it can't exist!
You're moving the goal posts again.

From your own OP...
Quote:
Have they been overall, an advantage or or a disadvantage to the well-being of humanity?
The overwhelming response it that they isn't much debate here, They ARE an advantage.

The quote you provided is still moronic. Besides, this is still the Dope and the onus is on you to provide a cite or proof that it even exists. Otherwise, it's bullshit.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:09 AM
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However, he did say it. I stand corrected on that.

https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/essays-120/

It’s from his new collection of essays “In Mid Air”
Nice find!

Unfortunately, it's only a book review snipping a random quote from one of the essays so it's really hard to interpret what he was getting at without context.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:18 AM
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Nice find!

Unfortunately, it's only a book review snipping a random quote from one of the essays so it's really hard to interpret what he was getting at without context.
I found the actual essay.

https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26066325
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by hajario View Post
However, he did say it. I stand corrected on that.

https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/essays-120/

It’s from his new collection of essays “In Mid Air”
Thanks hajario.
  #44  
Old 05-22-2020, 09:44 AM
Casparlatete is offline
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From hajirio's link, "Everyone insists that the technological transformation of the daily shape of our lives by new gadgets is enormous, while allowing that their emotional effect is more dubious, leaving us with emptier, or at best, unaltered souls. I think the truth is closer to the direct reverse. The emotional effect of new devices is overwhelming - they are like having new pets, new children, trailing with them an overwhelming attachment. But the transformational effect they have on our lives is actually, looked at squarely and without sentiment, quite minimal. After the introduction of a new device, or social media, our lives are exactly where they were before, save for the new thing or service, which we now cannot live without."

yeah!
  #45  
Old 05-22-2020, 09:52 AM
Sparky812 is offline
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Originally Posted by hajario View Post
Now, that's what I'm talking about! I figured there had to be more behind it.

So here's the actual quote " Like so much modern media technology, it [his smartphone] creates a dependency without ever actually addressing a need."

If you read the preceding paragraphs, he is speaking about his own smart phone usage.
  #46  
Old 05-22-2020, 11:40 AM
Casparlatete is offline
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Originally Posted by Sparky812 View Post
Now, that's what I'm talking about! I figured there had to be more behind it.

So here's the actual quote " Like so much modern media technology, it [his smartphone] creates a dependency without ever actually addressing a need."

If you read the preceding paragraphs, he is speaking about his own smart phone usage.
I don't know how you figure that out; Gopnick is obviously generalising - not writing in the first person about his possessions.

Look, I (& he too) aren't Luddites, there is no call for closing down the internet, what is being questioned is why the need for everyone to be available to everyone else 24/7. I'm pleased you are more in touch with your parents than you once were, but do you really need to do it from a number 47 bus?

An American university prof. I read, discovered that it isn't unusual for some students to send as many as 200 text messages a day & there's constant psychological pressure all the time to reply.
  #47  
Old 05-22-2020, 12:08 PM
Kimera757 is offline
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Originally Posted by Casparlatete View Post
Have they been overall, an advantage or or a disadvantage to the well-being of humanity?
Like technology, it's just a tool. I could use one to call the police to stop a crime in progress. I could use one to harass people by following them around and filming them. In general I'd say it's a positive. You call people and not locations now. Of course, your boss knows that, if they're the sort of boss who wants to call you at home.

This isn't a harmful tool in itself. Even if people are getting addicted ("nomophobia") that's really an issue with app design (and capitalism, because you get more money out of addicts).
  #48  
Old 05-22-2020, 12:54 PM
msmith537 is offline
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Of course smart phones provide an overwhelming advantage. Are they without problems? Of course not.

I guess my main complaint with smart phones and digital technology in general is that it tends to make all relationships and interactions "transactional". Think of comparing marrying your high school sweetheart and staying together for the next 40 years vs using Tinder whenever you feel like a date. Or a lifelong career at a company that continues to grow and nurture your career vs having to work a long series of "gigs".
  #49  
Old 05-22-2020, 01:06 PM
begbert2 is offline
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I'm speaking as a person who has owned a cell phone, who has never owned a smartphone, and who currently owns neither.

Cell phones were an obviously useful invention with some direct benefits and some downsides. They added the ability to communicate from nearly everywhere, which is supremely beneficial in an emergency scenario. They also added the ability to be distracted while driving and killed people. Plus/minus. Still, probably a net benefit to humanity.

Smartphones of course are a completely different animal. They added...some benefits over traditional cell phones, I gather. The ability to google anything anywhere, with the effect of eroding human memory. The ability to play simplistic games anywhere, providing another way to deter boredom while funneling massive amounts of money to companies. The ability to send text messages more readily, facilitating the rise of social media, facilitating the downfall of traditional media and the rise of disinformation, leading to Trump and a worldwide rise of fascism.

Yeah, I'd say that smartphones are clearly a scourge upon humanity and a significant contributor to literally everything bad that's happening in the world (through their effect on disinformation in politics). On the other hand you can now order a pizza while out shopping and pick it up on the way back. Plus/minus, I suppose.

Last edited by begbert2; 05-22-2020 at 01:06 PM. Reason: typo
  #50  
Old 05-22-2020, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Casparlatete View Post
I'm pleased you are more in touch with your parents than you once were, but do you really need to do it from a number 47 bus?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Pretty handy then that it's entirely in my control, no?
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