Nomophobia. The fear of being out of mobile contact is something that we all (while embarrassing) have experienced some time or another. According to the Psychology Today, it says on their website that the word is an abbreviation for “no-mobile-phone phobia”, a term that was coined during a 2010 study by the UK Post Office. The study found that 53 percent of mobile phone users in Britain felt worried or anxious when they lost their phones according to the study that sampled 2,163 people.
But let’s take it even further, what if humans started to become so dependent on our phones that we relied on it to do simple every day task. Task such as making to do list, setting up alarm’s or even using it to send a text message. A great example of this dependency would be the widely popular Siri.
Siri is as a type of technology (generally associated with the company Apple) that acts as a virtual personal assistant that responds to the human voice commands. Some of its features include making phone calls, browsing the web and even looking up the nearest pizza place in your city. The possibilities of the innovative technology are endless but many there have been many questions asking if we have become too dependent on the technology.
Siri was first developed at SRI (Stanford Research Institute) in the early 2000’s. According to the Stanford Research Institute’s website the technology was developed “through the SRI-led Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes (CALO) project within DARPAS’s Personalized Assistant that Learns (PAL) program”, the largest-known artificial intelligence project in American history. (Siri, 2015). In 2007, Siri, Inc. was introduced to the public and raised $24 million in two rounds of financing. Apple eventually acquired Siri in 2010 and later debuted the software on their iPhone 4S in 2014. An article on the HuffingPost says that the phone company Verizon was actually slated to sign a deal with Siri to make it apart of the Android phones in 2009, but Apple later bought Siri and “insisted on making the assistant exclusive to Apple devices.” (Bosker, 2013).
While Siri’s technology allows for users to automate simple task through its technology some are concerned with whether it may make humans too dependent on the technology.
Watch the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology talk about how are dependency on technology is affecting the way that we communicate.