DX8 Topic 9 - Smart Phones Really Changed Us

Monday 26 October 2020, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Venue: POD1 - Cafe Brunelli, 187 Rundle St · Adelaide

About Focus Questions: a) Please read them before you come to the meetup. Think about them so you have more than "instant opinions" to offer. b) Feel free to add more focus questions. c) THE FOCUS QUESTIONS ARE JUST A MENU TO CHOOSE FROM. From this menu we can discuss whatever seems interesting. d) Focus questions are not intended to push one viewpoint! You can adopt any position you wish. We actually like friendly disagreement - it can lead to deeper understanding

Focus Questions

1. Can you remember life before smart phones? What has changed? [Hey, I can remember life in houses with no phones at all. We needed to make an expedition to a street corner pay phone].

2. Kids and adults, via smart phones, now have access to almost unlimited information (and misinformation) about anything. But what do they actually seek to learn from this unlimited access? Is it worth teaching 'information search sklls and literacy'?

3. When and where do you use a smart phone? How much of your time does it take up? What happens if you accidentally leave home without the thing?

4. What skills do you think generations after smart phones might lose, compared to generations before smart phones?

5. Do you prefer to use a smart phone rather than a laptop or desktop computer for most tasks? Why/why not?

6. Smart phones are revolutionizing education, health care and business in many 3rd World places, even amongst illiterate people. Check and see what you can find out about this.

7. If you had the programming skills, what is an app you would like to develop? Try to be as detailed as you can. Would you be driven purely by money-making potential, or something else?

8. Death and taxes used to be the most certain things in life. Now we have a new certainty : any private information about you on a phone/computer/the Internet will sooner or later no longer be private (no matter what the law says). It will be hacked and probably sold. How important is loss of privacy to you? What will you sacrifice to keep it?

9. Sales of smart phones have actually plateaued because almost everyone has one already. What new features would motivate you to buy a new phone?

10. A lot of people lease smart phones (as part of a telecom contract) in the same way that they lease a new car (usually by taking out a loan) or pay off a house mortgage. For them, "owning" phones, cars and houses just comes down to paying a monthly fee for the use of these things. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this kind of lifestyle, as opposed to only buying outright what you can afford. Which camp are you in?


Extra Links & Reading

Matthew Kitchen (Sept. 9, 2020" "Smartphones Transformed Everything. Now, There’s More Disruption to Come". Wall Street Journal @ https://www.wsj.com/articles/smartphones-transformed-everything-now-theres-more-disruption-to-come-11599681809  [Quote: "The advent of the smartphone marked the merging of man and machine. These devices might not be embedded into our forearms just yet, but they have so seismically changed how we operate and interact as humans over the past decade that we’re all effectively cyborgs now. We’re each wholly devoted to these tiny unknowable machines, rarely out of hand or at the very least rarely out of reach."]

Catherine Hiley (15 June 2020) "Future mobile phones: what's coming our way?" Uswitch blog @ https://www.uswitch.com/mobiles/guides/future-of-mobile-phones/ 

Yudhijit Bhattercharee (January 25 2019) "Smartphones revolutionize our lives—but at what cost? The computer in our hands can do astonishing things, but new studies show just how dramatically they’re distracting us". National Geographic @ https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/01/smartphones-revolutionize-our-lives-but-at-what-cost/ 

John Davidson (Dec 20, 2019) ""How the smartphone has changed our world (for better or worse) - In little more than a decade, the smartphone has become a ubiquitous presence in our lives in ways that were predictable, and in ways that nobody saw coming". Australian Financial Review @ https://www.afr.com/technology/how-the-smartphone-has-changed-our-world-for-better-or-worse-20191205-p53h51  [There are browser apps to allow reading AFR such as 'bypass paywalls" and "unpaywall"]

Robert Bolton (Mar 29, 2019) "Smartphones are making kids dumber - Mobile phones in the classroom are the only factor that can explain a global decline in school maths, science and reading since 2000, according to a leading international educator". Australian Financial Review @ https://www.afr.com/policy/health-and-education/smartphones-are-making-kids-dumber-20190328-p518ig 

=> Thor, comment: Ha, it seems that the number of women between 15 and 74 in Australia with whom I can have a really literate conversation is about 100,000 out of a female population of around 13 million. (I'm ignoring English as a second language issues here). Not great odds. Sign language for the rest. This deep conclusion projects from looking at OECD stats for adult functional literacy ( https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/education/programme-international-assessment-adult-competencies-australia/latest-release  ). Apparently Australia stacks up as the 3rd most functionally literate country. Before we get carried away with that, 43.7% of us are below what the OECD nerds think is necessary to fully function in a modern society. You'd have to look at the small print to really decide about that. They do let you do an online test to check ( http://www.oecd.org/skills/ESonline-assessment/takethetest/?  ). Anyway, for the numerate, it comes out like this: Around 3.7% (620,000) of Australians aged 15 to 74 years had LITERACY skills at Below Level 1, a further 10% (1.7 million) at Level 1, 30% (5.0 million) at Level 2, 38% (6.3 million) at Level 3, 14% (2.4 million) at Level 4, and 1.2% (200,000) at Level 5.... || 6.5% (1.1 million) of Australians had NUMERACY skills at Below Level 1, 15% (2.5 million) at Level 1, 32% (5.4 million) at Level 2, 31% (5.2 million) at Level 3 , 11% (1.8 million) at Level 4 and 1.4% (230,000) at Level 5. ... To add to the gloom, it seems that from PISA tests, child literacy has been dropping steadily worldwide for the last 10 years, especially after 2017. This correlates perfectly with the rise and rise of smart phones ( https://www.afr.com/policy/health-and-education/smartphones-are-making-kids-dumber-20190328-p518ig   [you might have to install a browser app like 'bypass paywalls" or "unpaywall" to read this last link]).



Index of past discussion topics & questions: http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/DiscussionTopics/DiscussionIndex.htm

Convenor : Thor May thormay@yahoo.com Personal website (legacy) http://thormay.net
Articles http://independent.academia.edu/thormay  (.. about 147 articles by Thor)


Smart Phones Really Changed Us (c) Thor May 2020 

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