8 Reasons Why Smartphones Control Us, Not We Are Smartphones

From the book of Adam Greenfield’s “Radical Technologies”, recognized by the Wall Street Journal as one of the 10 best non-fixtures of books in 2017. The book was transferred to the Russian charity fund “Systema” and the publishing house “Delo.”

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Adam Greenfield.

Smartphone – perhaps the most significant artifact of our era. Wherever we meet, they take more and more power over the social space, becoming not so much a continuation of our bodies, but rather a prosthesis transplanted directly to them, a kind of network organ. In any place where you see one of them, there is also a whole huge ramified planetary network that downloads the data, translates them into another form, and gives them back to be digested, used or completely ignored. With these devices, we are simultaneously here, and somewhere else, along with all the others, but at the same time, we are not completely present anywhere.

Such a networked individual is no longer an autonomous subject. Our personality turns out to be smeared over a global grid of nodes and connections.

Our tastes, preferences, abilities, desires, which, it seems to us, determine who we are – we are obliged to join this grid and to the individuals and remote resources with which it connects us.

How did he (and his developers) manage to get such power over our lives?

  • They are very convenient and allow you to replace a lot of things – from money to keys.
  • Interacting with them is very simple. Universal gestures are intuitive and almost not different from the model to the model.
  • The smartphone broadcasts information about each of our steps and actions to corporations and state structures, the full list of which we do not own. At the same time, we can consider many of these data very personal. There are a number of places-a collection of anonymous alcoholics, a club of fetishists, a sweepstakes, or a psychotherapist’s office-capable of giving grounds for our conclusions about our behavior, which we do not necessarily want to make available to the network.
  • The collection and transmission of this data is carried out by a large number of sensors and smartphone systems. In addition to the applications themselves, this can be a GPS, an accelerometer, a magnetometer or a barometer. How many can find and disable them all without losing the working capacity of the device?
  • The smartphone creates for everyone a personal, isolated from others world. They form our perception of the world with information that is provided to us on the basis of our behavior and interests. As a result of their work, another person, being in the same point of space, can see on the smartphone’s screen a completely different world.
  • Smartphones have created a new culture of self-presentation. It became impossible without Selfie and Svayp. Hello, Tinder!
  • The work of smartphones provides a huge infrastructure, which we can not affect in any way. For example, so that we can easily navigate the city with a map, we need not only a smartphone with a GPS chip inside, but also a constellation of satellites worth a quarter of a trillion dollars in orbit at an altitude of 20 million meters above the Earth
  • In addition to the giants who manufacture devices and startups developing most of the applications, we have admitted to the most secret spheres of our lives organizations that deal with technical standards, regulators of national and supranational levels and invisible hackers.

Thanks to the convenience of smartphones, our ability to competently perform everyday duties now depends on a variety of non-transparent factors – from the properties of the electromagnetic spectrum to our every-minute ability to connect to the network, the reliability of the software used and the current alliances between corporations.

The only way to hide from the influence of a smartphone on our lives is to disconnect from the network. And this is clearly not easy for us to do. Connection to the network now becomes a source of satisfaction for almost any need from the Maslow pyramid, and so much so that, according to media reports, refugees who have just arrived from the war zones are first of all asked to give them a smartphone, and only then everything else, including food and roof over your head.

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