Humanity is doomed. At least, that’s the meme we hear too often these days all thanks to technology gone amok and technologists preying on human weaknesses and tendencies toward addiction because dopamine.
Yes, Apple can be considered the cause of the smartphone revolution that has swept across humanity, and even company shareholders are asking the iPhone maker to do more to help the species. Alas, even Steve Jobs, who brought the iPhone addiction to mankind, would not have been able to save earthlings from themselves.
We are doomed. Or, are we really? Is Apple to blame?
Humankind seems to make adaptations where necessary and we see examples of such adjustments already. There are laws against texting or using smartphones while driving. Some states won’t let you use a smartphone while crossing the street in a crosswalk. Educational institutions limit smartphone usage.
Humans are easily addicted to certain kinds of behavior, often through the so-called dopamine feedback loop, easily evident with alerts for incoming text messages, Facebook posts and likes, and all the other ways our modern devices let us know something is going on, whether it is worthwhile or not.
Apple cannot save us from ourselves but the company could do a better job giving us the tools to help us fight our addictions. Remember Do Not Disturb? It’s built into every Mac, iPhone, iPad, and even Apple Watch. It doesn’t do much, it doesn’t do enough, but it’s a start and it’s time for Apple to expand how Do Not Disturb works with other tools and options to limit our iPhone usage.
As much as we may want Apple to do more to help humanity– and the company should use some of those hundreds of billions in profits to help– blame and responsibility for iPhone and smartphone addictions are not to be placed at the feet of Apple executives, but those tin-ear, bonus loving, Tesla-driving men should heed the calls from customers for more controls or face government action in the future. Action which could diminish Apple’s role as the de facto leader of technology gadgets.
Apple may not be able to save humanity from ourselves, but the company can do more to delay our impending doom a few generations. Such actions should include better Do Not Disturb options, improved Child Restrictions (perhaps with an iPhone setting managed only by parents), or even an option which inhibits usage in certain private areas– schools, office buildings, government offices, sports events, etc.).
Apple does much to help already. The App Store is curated, for example. Yet, there is a growing trend among researchers, academics, and even shareholders for Apple to take the lead to implement ways to reduce our addiction to smartphone usage.
It may be true that you can’t fix stupid, but crosswalks and speed limits are there for a good reason.