Alan Dee: We’re walking into this with our eyes closed...
So, here’s the proof, if any were needed: mobile phones are making us dimmer by the day, and it won’t be long before they take over the world.
The tipping point for me came when I was reading about a sharp rise in pedestrian injuries caused, it would seem, by people so attached to their hand-held communication devices that they’re just not looking where they are going.
They might be texting, they might be surfing the net, they might be engaged in a game or a conversation, but whichever way you look at it those are not practices which should be pursued when you are propelling yourself along a crowded pavement.
All it needs is for you to encounter some other distracted phone addict coming the other way and you’ve got an accident on your hands.
You could call it the modern equivalent of walking into a lamp post or slipping on a banana skin but let’s face it, there are very few banana skins littering our thoroughfares these days and lamp posts and other items of street furniture, while undoubtedly not the sort of thing you want to come into contact with at speed, at least play the game and don’t jump out at you.
With mobile phones, the clue is in the name – everyone’s got one, and everyone’s on the move.
Cue cracked heads, fall injuries and all sorts down at your local A&E.
Now here’s where the human race, with a decent track record in modifying its behaviour when it results in pain, is faced with two courses of action.
Option 1: If I walk around glued to my phone, there’s a chance I could get hurt. Therefore I will keep my phone in my pocket and pay attention to where I am going.
No, that’s far too simple – and, crucially, it might cause a modicum of inconvenience.
Option 2: Get the mobile phone which is causing the problem in the first place to offer a solution. Yes, boffins are already hard at work on a crash alert system which can be fitted to a mobile phone, and which will sound an alarm if it looks like you’re about to collide with something.
The high-tech option will, of course, mean that before too long our High Streets will be resounding with buzzes and bleeps as blinkered walkers, headphones in place and eyes glued to their screens, manoeuvre their way through the crowds like so many reversing dustcarts.
The same sort of system is about to be employed in cars, too. We are promised that collisions on the roads will soon be a thing of the past.
That may all seem very well to you, but ask yourself this: What happens when the mobiles develop their own intelligence, and no longer want to ensure that you don’t end up under a bus? You’ll walk right into it, and their master plan will be achieved overnight, you mark my words.