COMMENTARY | I didn't need a study to point this out, but nonetheless, now I have scientific proof that we're carrying our brains in our pockets and/or purses.
According survey results from the Pew Internet & American Life Project report released on May 7, 86 percent of smartphone users take to our phones for "key activities," -- which Pew labels "just-in-time services" -- including looking up information, finding restaurants, tracking public transportation and contacting emergency assistance.
I hate to take the wind from your sails, Pew, but umm, well, no kidding.
As PC Magazine reported in March, drawing from an earlier round of Pew data, more Americans with cellphones have smartphones than don't. And why wouldn't we?
During my recent upgrade to a new smartphone, centuries away from my previous phone in techno-evolutionary years, I noted the price, before applying the shackles of the contract, was comparable to that of a laptop. The helpful electronics store employee smiled and said, "That's what you're basically getting."
And here you have it, my inner geek, out in all of her science-fiction glory. We are truly living in the future, and I have the rapturously thin, ridiculously intuitive slick rectangle of plastic to prove it. I don't have to remember a phone number. I don't have to make an effort to check my e-mail. The world of the internet is open to me anywhere, any time.
I am plugged into the Matrix, and it is so much better than they make it out to be in the movie.
Never again do we have to have a moment of "who was that person in whatever that was," because the answer is a phone away. Nor will we have to "agree to disagree" over who has the highest opening weekend box office gross ever, "Avatar" or "The Avengers." It's "The Avengers." How do I know?
My phone says so. And my phone knows everything.
The Pew study bears out this score-settling, according to the Raw Story. Thirty-one percent of men and 22 percent of women use their smartphones to settle things once and for all. The study doesn't explain the gender gap, so maybe men are faster on the draw?
According to Pew, 41 percent of cell phone users have coordinated meetings or get-togethers using their cells, which just makes sense. With a single device offering at least three modes of communication in the forms of texting, voice and e-mail, users can choose the way we exchange information depending on context. We can send e-mails and texts when we can't talk, for example, or when we know the other person isn't available.
Even better is the miraculous development that allows you to find people in any store, no matter how cavernous, so long as that person has his cell phone on and charged. Gone are the days of the endless laps, hoping against hope to catch a glimpse of your temporarily missing person. Again, as long as that person has her phone on and charged. You people know who you are.
As the Pew report says, cell phones change the way we interact with one another, and, importantly, they're reshaping our "relationships with information." I've always had a pretty greedy relationship with information: I want more and I want it now.
Well, the overlords of technology heard me and they have granted my wish. Looking at the results of the full report, it is clear I am not alone. I don't care if it makes me dumber, long live the smartphone.