I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve had somebody bring me a phone that wasn’t working properly and have them tell me “I guess I’m just not smart enough for these smartphones,” or “These smartphones aren’t so smart after all, I guess.” Truth be told, neither statement is true in my opinion. It’s either a bug with the software, a bug with the hardware, or something you may not have learned about your phone yet. Either way, both humans and phones are complex in different ways, and it does take time for us to figure out this “new” technology if you haven’t ever experienced a smartphone interface before.
I feel that by owning a smartphone, I have gotten smarter and better at things I probably wouldn’t have been better at without. My hand-eye coordination has never been better, for one. And the more I maneuver around my city the less I needed to use my GPS to get to places I would normally use a GPS for. I’ve learned to type so well on a virtual keyboard that I no longer have to run to a computer to send an e-mail, or to make a quick blog post.
Aside from the physical benefits, there’s also the intellectual side of smartphones that I haven’t talked about before. Ever since getting my smartphone, it’s been easier for me to keep up on the latest news. I don’t know what it is about sitting in front of a TV and watching a news anchor tell me what’s going on in the world, but unless your name is Ron Burgundy I can’t usually bring myself to sit down for an entire half an hour to watch local news. I will be happy to sit down for an hour or more, and pick out which news articles interest me or which ones I think are important.
We’ve also got access to a whole cornucopia of what many people consider useless information. For example, without my phone I wouldn’t know that musical artist Ke$ha received near perfect scores on her SATs, or that the oldest goldfish alive is 43 years old and still going. Most people would find this information completely useless, but you won’t be saying that when you can answer the million dollar question on a popular trivia game show without a doubt now will you? Well, you’ll probably still think it is useless information but at least you’ll have a shot at being rich because of it.
There’s also ways that smartphones can make us... not smarter. Actually, it's not the phones. It's the decisions we make regarding our phones. It really depends on how you use the phone. I like to use my phone to communicate, to read, and to organize. Some people like to use their phone for the same purposes – at the wrong times. I would never condone anyone to text and drive, unless you have a hands-free way of doing so so that you can keep your eyes on the road at all times. The same goes for talking on the phone. Even just removing one hand from the wheel is risky enough to make me not want to drive and talk at the same time. I have a hands-free Bluetooth device that I had to purchase for my car so that I wouldn’t have to worry about not being focused.
So as it turns out, there’s ways that our phones can make us smarter, and ways we can be smarter with our phones.
So readers, what are some ways that your smartphone makes you smarter? Games, random trivia, or able to keep up on the news? Let me know how you use your phone in the comments!