Has Your Smartphone Become Smarter Than You?

Picture this scenario: You are walking down a crowded San Francisco street during lunch hour. Everyone is on her/his smartphone, going about their daily business, when all of a sudden you hear the crash of glass and plastic hit the rock hard pavement at full force.

Gasps of pain can be heard all around you, almost as if someone had just fallen off their bike in the middle of the street. However, in this instance, no one fell (or was even physically hurt for that matter) - someone had actually just dropped their unprotected iPhone on the street - ouch!

Now, what's so painful about someone dropping an iPhone? Does it have to do with the cost to replace the phone? Or is it more about losing all of your phone's precious data? While both of these thoughts seem to be logical, I think that a broken iPhone today means more than just lost data and money. Being without an iPhone in 2015 means that people actually have to think for themselves. Remembering phone numbers, email addresses, directions, etc. can now only be done through sheer memory - now that's painful.

Is Your iPhone Thinking For You?

I recently downloaded the iOS 9 upgrade for my iPhone. I immediately noticed that my phone worked a lot faster than before, and that new applications had automatically been added.

"This is great," I thought. "Now I can use the new 'Find Friends' app to stalk my friends when I'm not with them!"

Another cool feature I noticed was the new 'Phone Number Lookup'. With iOS 9, your iPhone can pull data from the native Mail app to suggest who might be calling when you receive a call from an unknown number. For example, I had a call scheduled in my Google Calendar with someone who is not one of my contacts. When her call rang in, it came from an unknown number. At the bottom of the number, however, I noticed that it said "Maybe (person's name)" underneath the phone number on the screen.

"The phone apparently knows it all now," I thought.

Curious to find out more about the new iOS 9 features, I went online and did a Google search. I found out that the upgrade offers a variety of enhancements aimed to lighten the load of my daily thinking.

For instance, I'm a big picture taker and I'll admit that I love a good selfie every now and then. Luckily for me (and other selfie lovers), iOS 9 has automatically arranged all of my selfies within one album under my photos.

"Wow, now I can send selfies to all my friends without having to go through ALL my photos to find them!"

I also noticed the new mixed-case keyboard that appears when sending a text message, email, etc. At first, I thought this was annoying. But I quickly found out that my iPhone actually knows when I need to use a capital letter and when I need to use a lower-case letter (at least most of the time) - Genius!

Has My iPhone Become Smarter Than Me?

As I learned more about the new iOS 9 features, I began thinking that my iPhone was becoming a bit too smart. From organizing my selfies, to suggesting who might be calling from unknown numbers, my iPhone has started to demonstrate new capabilities that go beyond the human mind.

I did further research on the possibility of smartphones becoming smarter than humans. During my search, I came across a press released issues by Gartner on November 12, 2013, entitled: "Garter Says by 2017 Your Smartphone Will Be Smarter Than You" - uh-oh, we only have 2 years left!

Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner at the time even stated in the press release, "Smartphones are becoming smarter, and will be smarter than you by 2017. If there is heavy traffic, it will wake you up early for a meeting with your boss, or simply send an apology if it is a meeting with your colleague. The smartphone will gather contextual information from its calendar, its sensors, the user's location and personal data."

While 2017 hasn't yet arrived, it seems as if Carolina Milanesi's prediction is spot on. After all, the iOS 9 upgrade has added new features that are certainly headed in this direction.

But... Your iPhone Can't Do It All

It's true, technology is advancing rapidly, and smartphones will only continue to get 'smarter'. Yet there are still human elements that will never be able to be achieved through technology. Falling in love, cooking, learning how to dance - all of these things require that human touch that technology simply can't provide. Sure, we are now able to connect our smartphones to our appliances so we can turn on/off an oven, for example, yet this technological advancement only acts as a "helper" - it won't actually cook the meal for you.

That being said, the next you see someone drop their iPhone, ask yourself, "Is a broken iPhone really that painful?" For some, yes, but for others (like myself), being without a smartphone for a few days could actually result in something positive - we might be able to think for ourselves for a change. Now how painful is that?