How many phone reviews have you read where the first image on the page is a pic of someone throwing a Molotov cocktail? The article is part review of the latest Google phone (apparently it’s very good. If forced to go Android, I’d probably go with a Pixel) and part contemplation on what we are letting these glass slabs and their associated tech and apps do to the world now that we are all always head down and absorbed. The data collection, the privacy concerns, the reflexive where’s-my-phone anxiety—it’s all there.
You know there’s a problem when tech is building in features to protect you from itself. Apple will give you a screen usage report every week, including how much time and on which apps, so you can monitor your addiction. The Pixel will turn your phone’s screen grayscale and turn off notifications so you’re less tempted.
An excerpt from the article:
I wanted to share all of the information this phone captured about me during the long weekend I spent reviewing it. But there was simply too much of it, and in too much detail. Publishing it would put me in real financial and perhaps physical peril. And, besides, I’m not even sure if I am aware of it all, or if I even could capture it all. What’s out there? We have no idea.
We are reaching a point of no return, when it comes to information collection, if we have not already gone beyond it. Cameras and screens, microphones and speakers. Capture your face and your voice and your friends’ faces and voices and where you are and what’s in your email and where you were when you sent it and… What did you say? Click, here’s an ad. And where did you go? Click, here’s an ad. Who were you with? Here’s an ad. What did you read here’s an ad how do you feel here’s an ad are you lonely here’s an ad are you lonely here’s an ad are you lonely?
I found it powerful, thought-provoking writing. The changes to the world since Steve Jobs stood on a stage just over a decade ago and introduced the iPhone are staggering. When was the last time you looked at a paper map? When did you last carry a separate music device? Have you stopped buying cameras?
But I’m not exactly being original in saying it is not all good, and it’s not always obvious just how that not-good manifests.
Have a read. And then perhaps do what I did, and have a think. A long one.
Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of his article.