What’s So Smart About a Smart Phone?



Before I got a smart phone, friends would tell me, “You’ll love it” or “You won’t know how you ever got along without it” or “It will change your life!” Now, such accomplishments would be a tall order for my soulmate, never mind a piece of technology. Still, I was getting tired of people making fun of my little flip phone. One friend, whom I’ll call Jen (because that’s her name!), upon seeing me pull out my phone, exclaimed incredulously, “What’s that? Is that a phone?”

So I dutifully signed on to two years of an expensive data plan and secured my first smart phone. Sure, it’s cute, slim and sleek with a bright green plastic cover and a smooth surface. And yes, it can even speak. Siri, can you spell “bandwagon”? Listening to Siri, however, only highlights the limitations of the so-called smart phone.

My daughter likes to amuse herself by asking Siri such questions as “How do I look?” or “Who’s a better singer – Rihanna or Beyonce?” Siri’s usual robotic answer is, “I don’t understand the question.” If the phone were really so smart, Siri would reply, “You look fabulous,” and “Rihanna, of course.”

I know, I know. You can check the weather, watch TV, send emails and perform Google searches with your smart phone. And when I’ve had a hard day, I do like to play Quizup against total strangers, doing serious battle over who has more useless trivia stuffed in our heads.

Despite the fact that I can watch an episode of “Game of Thrones” while waiting in the supermarket checkout line (“Dismemberment in aisle nine!”), I find that I primarily use my smart phone for those old fashioned operations, calling and texting.

A smart phone cannot think for itself, dream up a cool idea, or engage in a meaningful conversation. It is, after all, only a device, a tool for modern humans to make our lives a little easier.

The smart ones are the marketers who convinced me to buy one.