LAST WEEK’S International Holocaust Remembrance Day got me thinking. Growing up in the 1950s, I was always fascinated hearing how my parents, a young married couple living in Brooklyn during the years of the Holocaust (1941-1945), first heard about it and didn’t believe it, so did nothing. Not that there was much they could do. I often asked my father to recount his skepticism over the tiny news stories tucked away on the back pages of the New York Times alleging evil doings in Germany and Austria. Eventually the stories got longer and moved closer to the front of the paper until they consumed the front pages of every newspaper in the world. By then it was too late—the deed was done!
I am reminded of that each time I come across a news story alerting us to the inherent dangers of our dependence on cell phones and how those habits will ultimately rain chaos down on us all, individually for sure and possibly all of Mankind. There’s one of those in a recent NY Times article, relating how Steve Jobs never intended that his invention overtake our lives, but rather enhance them.
This was perhaps the tenth such article I have read in the past couple of years, detailing how our relentless interaction with social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, in combination with texting, mapping our rides, taking selfies, checking our stock portfolios, looking at pornography, listening to podcasts, playing silly games and occasionally calling our moms, all the while rejecting face-to-face interaction with others, is slowly eroding the fabric of society, not to mention changing our posture from that of Homo erectus to Homo slumpoverus.
Isn’t it time to heed these no-longer-early warning sirens? I suggest we change our behavior now to avoid a horrific front page story with banner headline, “Smart Phones Finally Outsmart Humans!”—written by Siri and Alexa.
Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.