Trying to understand our role in societal electronic addiction
Silence fills the air. Pure unadulterated awkward silence only broken intermittently by the screeching of the train wheels running over the rails as it barrels across the Williamsburg bridge into Manhattan. The subway car I’m on is completely packed. No one is talking or even making eye contact with other riders. Instead they’re entranced by their mobile devices consuming content from apps like Instagram Engineering and Facebook Design.
Riding on the New York City subway I often look around the car to observe how people are spending their time on the train. On average 90% of the people in the car are on their smartphones. 85% of those are Apple devices.
At first I think, wow, the folks at Apple, Google, and other smartphones makers have made a revolutionary change in our lives on a grand scale in a very short amount of time. People are able to communicate even more seamlessly, it created the app environment employees thousands of developers, and has given a voice to the voiceless by spawning movements bad and good.
But then my second thought is to ask what price we’ve paid for this convenience? What aspects of life before smart phones have we abandoned? Is it better? worse? The same? This contradiction is something I struggle with and I’m not alone. Let’s review some other people who were also conflicted with success.