The idea that smartphones are making us dumber is not a new one. With the increasing ubiquity of iPhones (AAPL), Androids (GOOG), and Samsung (SSNLF) Galaxies, much has been written about how an addiction to checking our smartphones can basically fry our brains.
There isn't any hard evidence that proves that smartphones are bad for our neurological functions, however. Rather, researchers argue that our need to be constantly checking our BlackBerry (BBRY) screens or updating Facebook (FB) during dinner is turning us into shallow thinkers and emotionless zombies. "Staring at screens constantly takes you away from people and gives you a passive outlet where you don't have to interact with the world," Cary Cooper, professor at Lancaster University in the UK, told The Sun. "Like television, the light draws you in and numbs your senses."
Now, as the "smart" trend expands to include machinery around the house and office, researchers have begun discussing a new fear about the technology's impact: its threat to our ability to make autonomous decisions.
Evgeny Morozov, a social scientist and author of the forthcoming To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism, argues that what's most worrisome about "smart" technology is that while it starts off with the intention of helping us improve our lives, it can end up taking over. In a recent essay for the Wall Street Journal, he highlighted the example of a "smart" kitchen where "tiny countertop robots inform us that, say, arugula doesn't go with boiled carrots." Such an invention, he argues, would basically kill culinary creativity.
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Disclosure: Minyanville has a business relationship with BlackBerry.
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