I am sitting here playing around on my “smart” phone, and fiddling around with the features and apps. I am thinking about the word “smart” and why these phones are considered smartphones. The definition of the word smart is as follows: having or showing a quick-witted intelligence; clever, bright . I'm thinking about each word in this definition and pondering how it actually applies to a non-human device.
Many say they are called smartphones because of the various functions they perform compared to old phones that only had calling and texting capabilities. As we all know, today's phones have calling, texting, GPS, web browsing, games, calendars, apps from Facebook, barcode scanning… the list goes on. These are all great features and we rely heavily on some of these. However, does this mean our phone is smart or just a great multitasker?
I want you to think of a friend, acquaintance, or colleague of yours. What if they locked up or went blank when you needed them most? What if they became extremely slow when you needed the most out of them? Would you consider these people unreliable? Lazy? Possibly a little dim-witted? Of course, perhaps they were able to take notes, drink a soda, and walk at the same time. Does that make them smart — or just a good multitasker?
What if we had a device that could help solve real world issues, solve engineering design problems, and help negotiate or advise on that next great deal? What if it helped decide what the best gift to buy your significant other was? What if it knew what would make them happy? These are all things that I am sure an app might try, but probably only human brain power can do. So, it's not too likely that you'll see working versions of these applications in the near future. And remember — “working” means “provides usable results.”
Should we change the name of smartphones to something like “the great multitasking assistants”? Or maybe smartphones are smart and we rely on them so much that they are draining our brains and making us less smart. What are your thoughts on this? If you're not sure, check with your phone.