Sometimes I often look down and think “well, this is weird, I have a mini computer in my hand with access to all of the information I could want, and I can talk to anyone anywhere in the world”. Sure, it’s great when I need to google quick answers or look up design agencies on the other side of the planet, but recently I’ve been thinking… maybe smart phones are doing more harm than good.
Look. I understand mistakes happen in day to day life. But seriously, a missile threat to Hawaii? How could this go so wrong?! How can one simple, human error of pressing a button accidentally lead to a whole state of over a million people running for cover in the fears that they would all be nuked? You would think a nuclear warning would take more than pressing a singular button. The cherry on top is that a correction email was sent out 18 minutes later, a whole 20 minutes before a follow-up text message was sent to the state apologising for the mistake. Only #governmentfolk would think the average person, who has approximately fifteen minutes before certain death, would be checking their emails instead of hugging loved ones and drinking alcohol.
The Reddit forum is a seriously worrying (but also kind of cool) conversation about what real people did with their supposed ‘last moments on Earth’. It’s also harming to know that many people were mentally affected by such a massive mistake.
Come to think of it, smartphone mistakes are becoming quite common. A classic example is the Irish band U2, who thought it would be a fabulous, ‘ground-breaking’ idea to automatically send their new album to all of the iPhones ever across the globe. WHY? Not only did they lose fans, nobody at all wanted to listen to their new album with the reason that they lost iPhone storage and couldn’t delete the music off their account. People questioned the safety and privacy of their devices. When asked about his thoughts on imposing his music on everyone, Bono simply replied:
“Oops, I’m sorry about that”
It was recently revealed that Apple include a kind of ‘degeneration bug’ in their iOS updates. Apple intentionally slows down older models of the iPhone as the devices’ batteries age. This means that instead of replacing old phone batteries to overcome the ‘slow phone’ issue, millions of people opted to purchase the new models of iPhones as nobody was aware of the intentional software damage. This was all nicely concealed by Apple, who are now facing multiple lawsuits for “fraudulently forcing iPhone owners to purchase the latest model offered by Apple”. Yikes.
You know that mini heart-attack you have when you can’t find your phone in your hand or your pockets? Why do we freak out so much about that? We have become so reliant on having devices in our grasp that the thought of leaving home without your smartphone is almost unbearable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of these people too. But now, more than ever, I begin to question the privacy, safety and necessity of these devices, as it appears more often that issues around our technology are coming to light. From hackers stealing intimate photos to corporations making us spend more on the latest upgrade, I’m starting to think that maybe our smart devices are not so smart for us as often as we like to think they are.