Smart Phones Malke Us Smarter, But Not Wiser

Do smart phones make you smarter? Now there's a good question.

My sense is, no.  I wrote recently that they may help us do many things but in the end, they may just dumb us down.

Now a study says modern techie devices can be helpful and make life easier, but there are serious drawbacks, says a Texas A&M University professor who studies technology, according to

Jonathan Coopersmith, professor of history at Texas A&M, says modern technological devices used to demand learning specific skills and acquiring the necessary resources to do them. "For example, if you wanted to make a film, you got a movie camera and the supporting technologies (film, lights, editing equipment), and then learned how to use them and hire a crew to handle all of the equipment. Next, you would shoot the movie, then develop and edit the film, and the final step would be to make copies and distribute them," the web site reports.

“But many of those steps are eliminated today,” Coopersmith explains.“Now all of those tasks are solved by technology. We need no longer learn the intricate details when the smartphone programmers do it for us. Technology has made us individually dumber and individually smarter. Technology has made us able to do more while understanding less about what we are doing, and has increased our dependence on others.”

Three things make this so.  The increasing pace of humans specializing in particular skills, the outsourcing of more skills to technological tools, like a movie-making app on a smartphone, that relieve us of the challenge of learning large amounts of technical knowledge, and finally, many more people have access to technology than in the past, allowing them to use these tools much more readily.

“Specialization enables us to become very good at some activities, but that investment in learning – for example, how to be an ER nurse or computer coder – comes at the expense of other skills like how to grow your own food or build your own shelter,” Coopersmith adds.

“As Adam Smith noted in his 1776 book Wealth of Nations, specialization enables people to become more efficient and productive at one set of tasks, but with a trade-off of increased dependence on others for additional needs. So in theory, everyone benefits," he points out.

A major downside of increased dependence on technologies is what happens when they break or even disappear, Coopersmith notes.

How do people survive and prosper in this world of increasing dependence and change?

“It’s impossible to be truly self-reliant, “ he says.  "But it is possible to learn more about the technologies we use, to learn basic skills of repairing and fixing them (hint: always check the connections and read the manual) and to find people who know more about particular topics. Thinking about what happens if something goes wrong can be a useful exercise in planning or a descent into obsessive worrying."

So which is it for you?  Have you thought about what you would do if your cell phone stopped working?  I recently had mine stolen out of my unlocked car (now who's the dumb one?), and it took me several days before I could stop wandering around like I had lost my bearings.

I'll let Coopersmith have the last word.  "Individually, we depend more on our technologies than ever before – but we can do more than ever before. Collectively, technology has made us smarter, more capable and more productive. What technology has not done is make us wiser.”


  1. yes i know that it makes us wiser not smarter, better check this wide variety of smartphones to choose from, check this link


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