I have a question: “If smartphones are so smart, why do people act so, well, simply put, ‘dumb’ when they are using their smartphone?”

Since the advent of the smartphone, simple life tasks, like walking, talking, interacting, driving have all become more intractable and fraught with danger and difficulty.
It is uncomfortably common that when I am out, driving somewhere and I encounter a vehicle being driven in an erratic, unpredictable, inattentive, distracted manner – slower than other traffic, drifting one way or another, stopping at profoundly inappropriate places, it is most likely that they are engaged on a smartphone.

Recently I watched a video on Facebook whereby the driver of an intercity coach was engaged on a smartphone – regrettably not uncommon – but what stood out was the fact that he was looking something up on his second smartphone; all whilst charged with the safety of all souls on board as he ‘drove’ the coach down the motorway.

Even a mundane task such as walking down the pavement can be fraught with hitherto unknown challenges. You often encounter an individual who is walking slowly, apparently unaware of where they are, where they are going and yet they are not stationary but are walking – after a fashion. They are going somewhere, and they have a phone glued to their ear, or are head down, intently staring at the screen of their smartphone.

Motorcycles are used to move a vast array of things about. Sometimes they are over-loaded with goods or people. But, just to make things more, er, interesting, often the motorcycle operator will have pushed his smartphone up between his helmet and his head so he can engage in a conversation whilst driving his over-laden, motorcycle in traffic. This is the ‘positive scenario’.  You will also witness others who do not have the benefit of a helmet, holding the smartphone in place, so they have one less hand on the steering apparatus.

This is true for those who move about by bicycle as well.

Another phenomenon that is observed, again with great frequency, is the sight of two, three or more people, physically in the same room, be it a sitting room, a restaurant, anywhere basically, and each one, head down, intently transfixed on the small screen held possessively in their hands. Maybe they are ‘Messaging’ one another, or are Facebooking their exciting time to others on the web, or writing up a blog on their encounter with their friends – I do not know.

However, it seems self-evident that they could perform the same level of human interaction if they were in separate locales as much as being together.

Sad doesn’t begin to describe it, and yet, I, too, can succumb to the temptation to check my phone.

I find it rather ironic, bizarre, that the thing that routinely reduces mankind to a distracted, dangerous, wandering, discourteous, individual, behaving in a dumb state, is the use of the so-named ‘smartphone’.

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