The Power Of The Fingertips
The evolution of the telephone started with the creation of said device by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. There after, drastic changes have occurred. The phone started moving its location from the house in the hallway between the kitchen and the living room, to the denim pockets of today’s man and woman. Rotary phones to car phones, from briefcase phones to indestructible Nokia phones. From Nokia phones to the phones that today’s world currently uses, touch screen smartphones. How did the phone evolve so far since its birth? How has the new smartphone affected the lives of everyday people? The use of touch screens, or a multi-touch interfaces, has altered the way technology is being created.
New realms are opening and spilling over into reality. The technology that is seen today is mimicking the technology that has been portrayed in futuristic movies and television shows alike. The touch screen was introduced in 2007 with the release of the iPhone and the Microsoft Surface tablet (Citizendium 2013). Before this, phones had keyboards where the user would input a function so that the mobile device can perform the task that the user required it to complete. The multi-touch interface works relatively the same way; however, instead of a keyboard, the user applies slight pressure to a touch-sensitive screen that inputs similar functions to perform similar tasks. As the Citizendium says, “The screen surface detects touches and sends a signal to the controller, which filters noise and determines pressure, speed, and direction” (Citizendium 2015). This allows for better gaming, texting, and faster browsing compared to the analog way of pressing a button to scroll or type; rather all it takes is a swipe of the fingertips to complete the task at hand.
As the desire for one’s phone to do more has increased, so has cell phone usage. Studies show that people with smartphones tend to be on their phone longer than people without a smartphone (PLOS Nuero Community 2015). Anne-Dominique Gindrat and colleagues used EEG to stimulate the fingertips of smartphone and non-smartphone users. An EEG stands for electroencephalogram. This is a test that records the brain’s electrical activity and wave pattern. The reason an EEG test is used rather than other tests is because an EEG allows the tester to analyze the changes in behavior in the patient. In this instance the tester is looking to record the behavior and brain activity of the two different users. The results showed that smartphone users had elevated brain responses to the right thumb, index, and middle fingers (PLOS Nuero Community 2015). These are the same fingers that are most commonly used when operating a smartphone. The effects of smartphones are not drastic to the functions of the brain but just constantly stimulate the brain in certain areas.
Arguments against the advancement of technology state that it is ruining the human brain but the studies show there is no correlation between the two. What the results do show is that the people are more satisfied shoppers use mobile devices rather than a desktop; “reported higher satisfaction with the choice process itself ” (Cyberpsychology, behavior and social networking 2015). Because the user went through more tasks to reach satisfaction, the user feels gratified when the task is complete. The disadvantages of the touch screen are not durable enough and hard to replace is another argument that is met when discussing smartphones. It is also said to have caused cancer, but the studies are not consistent with a definitive answer of such accusations. The biggest one is the lack of privacy one starts to build as speculation and actual evidence shows that the government; more specifically, government agencies like the NSA and CIA are listening in on people’s conversations as well as reading text messages and searching browser history. People begin to feel violated as their most personal information is being infiltrated in the name of patriotism. The sociocultural effects that the older generation states is that smartphones are damaging communicative transfers within real life. People are becoming more antisocial and more active on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter where all interactions are beginning to occur. Whether this is actual fact or just the typical older generation criticism of the younger generation is still up for debate. However, to keep in mind when reading this report, the sources and studies discussed in this report are from 2011 and on. Keeping this in context, the major concerns about touch screens and smartphones as a whole have been dealt with. Touch screens have screen protectors, lifeproof phone cases, and many more gadgets to prolong the life of one phone. The only looming concerns are that of privacy and the sociocultural effects that smartphones and technology as a whole are having on society.
The increased smartphone usage elevates one’s sensory responses in our fingertips but does not affect the brain’s daily functions. The human brain is an adaptive muscle that continuously accounts for the stresses that are given to it throughout a 24-hour period. The implementation of the touch screen is just the beginning to what is in store for technology of today. In some of these articles, the thought of a touch screen desktop or laptop was unheard of, but years later, there are many being sold on the market by the leading brands in computer technology. The possibilities become endless as the technology begins to expand its wings and creativity. From push-button software to fingertip manipulation within just a few decades is certainly a jump towards the future. It might very well be the case that the world might be able to see pseudo-science come to life.
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