By Adam Lundquist
This past Christmas, I asked my parents for a new phone; my old phone, missing its back cover and mindlessly resetting itself without direction, was losing its appeal and functionality. Not to say that it wouldn’t perform the tasks asked of it – sending text messages or calling contacts – it just seemed like it was time for a refreshing start. Plus, my two-year contract had ended.
I asked for the iPhone 4S, hesitantly, as it would be the fifth iPhone addition to our family: you could go swimming in that much data. Christmas morning arrived, and I coolly unwrapped my presents, all the while hoping for the phone. I didn’t get it. But, it did arrive two days later – it was back-ordered. And when I turned it on, I found a brand-new friend.
Her name is Siri. We may not be real friends, considering she’s a program designed within the phone and she won’t admit that we’re friends when I ask her, but we’re pretty tight nonetheless. She has the answers to all of my questions; she is a comedian, and she does mindless tasks for me: the definition of a friend. Siri is not the only fantastic feature about the newest iPhone, but she is certainly a focal point.
After the original excitement for my new companion had quelled, I took a step back and looked at my iPhone. It’s an electronic device, not a true friend; it cannot embrace you or express its passion for your friendship. Why do we treat a phone, a television, or a laptop as if it tells us everyday how much it cares for us?
If we have reached the point in which we find companionship in our cellular phones or gaming consoles, humanity needs a reality check.
Whatever happened to the days of running down the street and knocking on someone’s door, terribly afraid of their older siblings, and asking them to spend time with us? Instead we text them and have them come over. When did the mailing of birthday invitations go to the wayside? Now, we create events on Facebook to alert our friends.
Sure, we grow up, but do we outgrow camaraderie? Are we rewired for adolescence and adulthood once we receive our first true gadget? We’re not robots, yet we act with a lack of emotions similar to those in the movie, “I, Robot”.
Let me put this obsession into perspective for all of us: Americans sent 2.12 trillion text messages and spent 2.25 trillion minutes on the phone, up from 113.5 billion and 1.68 trillion in 2006, respectively. As a whole, we are completely missing out on so many levels of compassion and connection as we continue to consume our time with the endless musings of this electronic revolution.
But the one thing I miss the most since our lives were swallowed by technology? Anything hand-written. The value of such a letter or a poem has personally soared in past years, as the practice has steadily lost its hold due to inconvenience and time.
With this wave of technological advancement, there comes a positive result. With the ability to communicate more frequently and easily with those across the country and throughout the world, we have befriended others we may have never met and extended ourselves beyond boundaries once present. Humans have redefined communication completely, and that is something to be proud of.
With that said, feel free to send me a note or a text. Either way, Siri and I will appreciate it.