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Jan 27

If my phone is getting smarter am I getting dumber?

When I was growing up, our phone looked like these…

Then, as the years went by we saw a progression like this….

Next, we were all amazed when we could walk around the house without tangling up any cords…

Then, suddenly the era of being able to talk anywhere arrived…

And talk we did! You could hardly go anywhere without seeing someone talking on the phone (and more often than not, sharing more of conversation than any of us wanted to hear).

Then… they started to show up… the “Smartphone”!

They came in a number of styles and shapes, with many different features, but they were here!  Suddenly the whole world opened to us in the palm of our hands.  It used to be that we used our brains to remember stuff — some trivial, some important.  But now, that Smartphone opened up a lot of space in our heads that was previously filled with stuff we needed to know.

Who won the world series last year?  As a kid I used to be able to rattle off all kinds of statistics from sports information to different models and years of cars, and a whole host of other information – both important and trivial.

I used to know everyone’s phone numbers.  If I needed to call someone I picked up the phone, dialed the number and talked to them.  Today, I can barely remember my phone numbers (yes – numbers — cell, fax, home, work, work fax, etc.). But today, all I have to do is tell Siri to call xxx at home or mobile or work.  My Smartphone does the rest.

I used to remember everyone’s birthday and anniversary.  Between my contacts and Facebook, I don’t need to do that any more.  It’s all there.  I just need my Smartphone to remind me, and remind me it does.

I can’t tell you the number of times we’re having a discussion at dinner — with family or with friends, and someone asks a question that we really should know or remember.  But guess what.  Rather than tapping our brain, there’s a race to see if Siri can answer it faster than someone else can Google it on their Smartphone.

So I ask that question again… “If my phone is getting smarter am I getting dumber?” and quite frankly — I’m not sure.

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