Cellphone and Other Technology Addictions: Martin Cooper Sure Is Laughing
I began my career just out of college as a copywriter at an electronics company. We thought we were pretty darn cutting edge since we sold some of the first available cellphones on the market. I remember hefting one of those bad boys up to my ear with awe. The receiver was so large and clunky, it was like talking into a brick, and the whole contraption came in a canvas bag that was roughly the size of carry-on luggage. I wrote catchy call-outs for items in the cellphone sales catalog like “Under 10 lbs.!” as if that was actually something to crow about. Little did I realize then how significantly portable phones would change our world.
Pictured below is a 1982 Nokia cellphone that weighed . . . wait for it . . . a light and lovely 22 lbs.
Photo courtesy of: smartphones.wonderhowto.com
This is the guy responsible for the whole cellphone craze, Martin Cooper, pictured with the granddaddy of mobile phones. He invented it while he worked at Motorola in the ’70s, a company that’s very familiar to us here in the Chicagoland area.
Just look at him. He’s grinning from ear to ear because he can’t get over how we’ve let his little experimental invention completely take over our lives. Think about it, some of us can’t get through a 15-minute grocery shopping trip without whipping out our phone to read a recipe, a grocery list, or talk with a friend to ease our boredom as we wheel down the aisles. On the road, folks are swerving over double yellow lines like techno drunks as they attempt to text and drive, and 95% of the burrito fans in the line I stood in at Chipotle the other night were staring at their little screens to save them from a fate worse than death: having to converse with the strange human being standing a foot away from them.
Back in the ’80s, salespeople were clamoring for these “high-tech” mobile phones so they could remain in contact with clients while on the road, rendering phone booths obsolete unless of course you happened to be Dr. Who, Superman, or perhaps Underdog.
We now have smartphones that fit in our back pocket, and take the place of all of these electronic gadgets below plus many more:
And that’s all fine and well but, sadly, because of our obsession with them, they also, many times, take the place of this:
We can also easily envision, in the not-so-distant future, watch phones like the iWatch below being the chosen communication mode of all of the cool kids on the block, meaning I’ll probably take a pass. Who can even see let-alone select the right tiny button? Dick Tracy can keep it. I don’t want it.
Yes, I realize I’m sounding like a crotchety techno-phobic geezer, but here’s the real problem as I see it. We’re living our lives glued to a screen, whether it’s a computer (raises her hand guiltily), TV, laptop, X-Box, D.S., iPad, iPod, iPhone, Kindle or other assorted “tech-tangles” (the made up word I use when I’m shouting to be heard over my family’s obsession with varied technical rectangles e.g., “Turn off your dang tech-tangles and listen to me!!!”), and in the process, we forget to participate in our own lives.
We often miss the most awesome experiences as we’re staring at a screen. . .
Photo courtesy of: @esmith_images/Instagram
. . . and are too busy documenting occurrences that we used to take in with thought or prayer or quiet reverence.
We’re also continually immortalizing views and actions that really have no business being captured in a photo for all eternity and shared with the masses.
Photo courtesy of: thechive.com
Photo courtesy of: lzismile.com
Let me just take a moment to say . . .
Here’s a fact that will hit home. Every two minutes we take as many photos as all of humanity took during the 1800s.* Just think about that for a second. Say it out loud and let it roll around on your tongue. What in the world is so all-fired important that we need to be snapping away like a newly poured bowl of Rice Krispies?
Not that much, in all honesty.
The photo on the left below shows “the first photograph ever taken (1826), View from the Window at Le Gras by French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. On the right is a cat who accidentally took a picture of itself (2013). It’s estimated that in 2014, humans will take 880 billion photos (not including cats). In fact, 10% of all the photos ever taken were taken in the past 12 months.”* And that statistic was from last year, folks! I can only imagine what the number is today.
Photo courtesy of: higherperspective.com*
THIS TECHNO ADDICTION HAS GOTTEN OUT OF CONTROL, PEEPS!!!
Pretty soon people will be taking photos under bathroom stalls, and playing games on their phones while out to dinner, and sending texts while in the theater – wait, never mind, unfortunately those already are things, aren’t they?
Here’s what I propose:
Instead of celebrating nonsensical national holidays like “National Beer Can Day” or “Poppyseed Bagle with a Schmear Day”, I’d love to participate in a day that has some merit: “Keep Your Blasted Tech-tangles Turned off All Day Day” (Just as soon as I finish this post, that is.)
Would you help me start a day like that?
Excellent! I’ll send you an email with a couple of days that work for me, we can text about which is the best for both of us, plug the final date into our e-calendars with a pc pop-up reminder and then share the news on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Instagram for all three of the other people in the entire universe who will actually agree to participate with us in such a harebrained scheme.
Sounds like a plan, Stan.
On second thought, without technology, whatever will we do with ourselves that whole, entire, endless, livelong day?
Call me on my cell and we’ll discuss . . .