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Cell Phones and Civilization

Wallstreetatheist
Posts: 7,132
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8/26/2013 8:01:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
In what ways do you think cell phones improve and/or detract from human interaction and happiness?
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DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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8/26/2013 8:23:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I think that cellphones, and particularly smartphones, actually bring people closer together than separating them.

Indeed, it seems to kind of become the trend to blame the technology for bad behavior rather than the people themselves. The truth is that it's very rare that any of the situations in the short film happen, or have happened, to me in my life when out with friends when I only had a fliphone (yes, I just recently upgraded, woot woot?). Frankly, I think the antisocial behavior that some people exhibit are much more rooted in the person him/herself rather than with the technology. An antisocial person will generally not be very social in a social setting regardless, and the smartphone simply becomes another medium by which to channel such characteristics.

In fact, I'd say that smartphones are, if anything, a means of decreasing social anxiety and antisocial behavior, in that it enables people to communicate without the immediate pressure of face-to-face conversation. And, although I can hear the technophobes screaming right now about "that's how humans were meant to communicate," and although I agree that face-to-face/vocal conversations are superior, it cannot be ignored that there are people for whom communicating face-to-face is a crippling experience; whether that be due to sheer extreme social anxiety, speech impediments, etc, and being able to communicate through alternative means (ie, text) can help boost a person's confidence when it eventually comes time to speak face-to-face.

Further, smartphones have the ability to be able to share moments with people one cares about; an example might be the filmed/photographed birthday song in the film. Although for some that may just be a vapid distraction from actually enjoying a moment, this fails to ignore situations in which a person unfairly has to be separated from those they care about, for instance, being in the hospital for stretches of time, being separated geographically for stretches of time, etc.

Basically, though those who are generally technophobic could in theory have valid arguments against smartphones, they generally come off as condescending and smacking of nostalgia alone. I agree, there are flaws with smartphones/smartphone usage. However, I think on the whole they provide a STRONG net benefit for people rather than a net loss.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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8/26/2013 8:27:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/26/2013 8:01:09 PM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
In what ways do you think cell phones improve and/or detract from human interaction and happiness?



Mostly detract.
People become more self-absorbed, caring only about their current friends/family that they would rather check FB in an elevator or walking down the street, then observe their surroundings.

Further, cell phones inhibit privacy and add concern, both to those trying in vain to contact you and you, for missing calls during a movie.

On the plus side, it is nice to be able to contact someone in an emergency, or wherever for whatever (hey, I'm in the neighborhood let's eat, or I'm running late). Also, it can create more intimacy by being able to speak longer (of course, this is a double edged sword).
My work here is, finally, done.
Jack212
Posts: 572
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8/26/2013 10:16:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/26/2013 8:01:09 PM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
In what ways do you think cell phones improve and/or detract from human interaction and happiness?

The improve by allowing instant communication over long distances. They detract because people always bloody play with them.
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,731
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8/27/2013 9:57:41 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/26/2013 8:23:44 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
I think that cellphones, and particularly smartphones, actually bring people closer together than separating them.

Indeed, it seems to kind of become the trend to blame the technology for bad behavior rather than the people themselves.

If you ask anyone out on the street this question, they are going to tell you they LOVE their phone and they NEED their phone because of their lifestyle. This "trend" you are exposing is only among a select minority that has actually taken a step back to ask the question: "can I honestly say cellphones improve our lives?" The vast amount of people who have cellphones are absolutely and unquestionably loyal to their phones.

The truth is that it's very rare that any of the situations in the short film happen, or have happened, to me in my life when out with friends when I only had a fliphone (yes, I just recently upgraded, woot woot?). Frankly, I think the antisocial behavior that some people exhibit are much more rooted in the person him/herself rather than with the technology. An antisocial person will generally not be very social in a social setting regardless, and the smartphone simply becomes another medium by which to channel such characteristics.

The dramatization was exaggerated, but I wouldn't say it is rare that people do any of those things. I used to lay in bed with my ex with my phone out just like that (she ended up smashing it against the wall at one point because of it, which was the end of my tenure with smartphone technology... unfortunately she turned to smartphones after I moved away from them :P). I work in a restaurant and I see people all day long on their phones sitting across from each other and ignoring other people at the table to zone into that alternate reality.

In fact, I'd say that smartphones are, if anything, a means of decreasing social anxiety and antisocial behavior, in that it enables people to communicate without the immediate pressure of face-to-face conversation. And, although I can hear the technophobes screaming right now about "that's how humans were meant to communicate," and although I agree that face-to-face/vocal conversations are superior, it cannot be ignored that there are people for whom communicating face-to-face is a crippling experience; whether that be due to sheer extreme social anxiety, speech impediments, etc, and being able to communicate through alternative means (ie, text) can help boost a person's confidence when it eventually comes time to speak face-to-face.

You don't seem to get the fact that these introverts you are describing are made worse by their ability to detach further from society. We need the exercise of looking people in the eye and talking to them. Shying away from communication is like shying away from physical exercise... which is another thing that *yes* technology is largely to blame for removing from our daily routines. As more technology is introduced, we use less and less of the physical and mental faculties that we have, and most things we have are "use it or lose it."

Further, smartphones have the ability to be able to share moments with people one cares about; an example might be the filmed/photographed birthday song in the film. Although for some that may just be a vapid distraction from actually enjoying a moment, this fails to ignore situations in which a person unfairly has to be separated from those they care about, for instance, being in the hospital for stretches of time, being separated geographically for stretches of time, etc.

When somebody is put into a hospital, they don't want smartphone pics, they want you to come and visit them. When gramma gets too old to care for herself, she doesn't want a cellphone, she wants your company. Geographic separation is not helped very much by smartphones or the internet, a call on a landline phone is much more enjoyable. Taking my argument to its extreme, if we failed to use landline phones as well, we'd be much more likely to actually go visit the person which is best anyway!

Basically, though those who are generally technophobic could in theory have valid arguments against smartphones, they generally come off as condescending and smacking of nostalgia alone. I agree, there are flaws with smartphones/smartphone usage. However, I think on the whole they provide a STRONG net benefit for people rather than a net loss.

I don't agree. I was fine before phones came out, and now I listen to these people telling me how "I need my phone because of x" and I just shake my head. Even 911 personnel didn't need cellphones 20 years ago, now every person in the country can't survive without one. There isn't a single person in the history of mankind that needs a cellphone. Go ahead and ask the people around you whether they need their phone or not. It shouldn't be hard, 100% of the people in your life will have one, and damned near every one of them will give you some different reason why they need it. Then ask yourself what has changed to make us so needy in the last 15 years, when almost nobody had one or even cared about them.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
drhead
Posts: 1,475
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8/28/2013 3:30:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/27/2013 9:57:41 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
In fact, I'd say that smartphones are, if anything, a means of decreasing social anxiety and antisocial behavior, in that it enables people to communicate without the immediate pressure of face-to-face conversation. And, although I can hear the technophobes screaming right now about "that's how humans were meant to communicate," and although I agree that face-to-face/vocal conversations are superior, it cannot be ignored that there are people for whom communicating face-to-face is a crippling experience; whether that be due to sheer extreme social anxiety, speech impediments, etc, and being able to communicate through alternative means (ie, text) can help boost a person's confidence when it eventually comes time to speak face-to-face.

You don't seem to get the fact that these introverts you are describing are made worse by their ability to detach further from society. We need the exercise of looking people in the eye and talking to them. Shying away from communication is like shying away from physical exercise... which is another thing that *yes* technology is largely to blame for removing from our daily routines. As more technology is introduced, we use less and less of the physical and mental faculties that we have, and most things we have are "use it or lose it."

It must feel really nice to not have social anxiety disorder, since you seem to take this for granted. You seem to think that all or nothing is the only solution. I can't even comprehend how anyone could think that it is better for it to be impossible for people like me to have ANY social activity they are comfortable with, when it is quite likely that such technologies and the ability to communicate informally over the Internet are the major reason why I've been able to avoid depression.
Wall of Fail

"You reject religion... calling it a sickness, to what ends??? Are you a Homosexual??" - Dogknox
"For me, Evolution is a zombie theory. I mean imaginary cartoons and wishful thinking support it?" - Dragonfang
"There are no mental health benefits of atheism. It is devoid of rational thinking and mental protection." - Gabrian