Columbia | SIPA
Intelligence in the Age of Smartphones

By Denise Wilson (MIA ‘13), featured on The Huffington Post

At a local IHOP family restaurant in Bloomfield, New Jersey, a 4-year-old cries after dropping his mother’s smartphone, interrupting his main source of amusement. His mother instinctively retrieves the phone from the ground, quickly returns it to him and resumes her conversation with his father. The crying immediately stops.

Whether a young child or an elderly person, technology has developed to have a much greater impact on our lives than previously imagined. Today, computer-based or assisted learning is much more common in the earliest stages of formal education. Employers recruit young adults who have a LinkedIn profile and boast proficiency in the latest Microsoft Office suite. In our private lives, we socialize through Facebook, share our immediate thoughts with the world through Twitter and use Blackberry Messenger to exercise freedom of assembly. Even the elderly have witnessed changes, notably additional healthcare solutions and innovative assisted-living technology developed in Japan. To be sure, we have benefited from adapting to and embracing technological progress, but we could also benefit from more research on the long-term effects of greater interaction and heightened dependency on technology.

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