When conjuring up the perfect road trip -- windows down, sun shining, hair blowing in the breeze -- chances are, you don't picture yourself clutching your smartphone the entire time. But that's exactly what happens in a 2012 "Designed by Apple in California" ad campaign, which unintentionally paints a sobering portrait of a life distracted, one in which we're connected to our devices but disconnected from the people and experiences right in front of us.
The ad, which presents a seemingly idyllic vision of a couple's road trip to sunny Santa Cruz, might strike some viewers instead as a warning about the consequences of our all-too-real (and often unhealthy) dependence on technology -- which can even lead to the bodily pain and discomfort that Charles Wang, M.D., co-founder of LUMO BodyTech, dubs "Silicon Valley Syndrome" in an article for Fast Company.
In the ad, the couple ignores each other in favor of talking into their iPhones, asking Siri where to go and what to do. Although the clip is clearly intended to be lighthearted, it points to some disturbing truths about the way screens are altering our experiences and interactions with others.
Unfortunately, many of us do spend our vacations staring at phone screens rather than enjoying the unfiltered view of what's around us. And at a time when one survey shows nearly seven in 10 people are afraid to lose or be separated from their cell phones and the average mobile user checks their device every six and a half minutes (adding up to 150 times a day), what most of us need is a vacation from our devices, not with them. (Even on vacation, 61 percent of Americans continue checking their work email.)
It also hints at one particularly troubling toll that gadgets are taking on our relationships: Technology has been shown to reduce eye contact in social interactions, which can result in decreased emotional connection.
"All too often we're like cornered animals with our eyes darting from device to human and back to device," Daniel Sieberg, author of The Digital Diet: The Four-Step Plan To Break Your Tech Addiction And Regain Balance In Your Life, recently told The Huffington Post. "Eye contact can be especially meaningful in today's world of constant partial attention and it conveys a sentiment that the person you're with matters."
Watch the full clip of the ad above.
[H/t Fast Company]
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that the ad is new, when in fact it is from 2012. The story has been updated.