Look around. What do you see? Growing generations of human beings hunkered over and staring like zombies into various handheld computer devices. Apple’s iPhone has brought forth a generation of zombies.
Wait? Zombies? Living dead? Well, they’re living, yes, but smartphone users these days are dead to the world around them. Some municipalities have laws against walking across the street while staring into smartphones. Why? Zombies don’t pay much attention to traffic, and neither do smartphone users.
The Living Dead
My first zombie movie was George Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead which established the modern day genre. Zombies stumble around, seemingly dead but somehow living; their objective was human flesh. Likewise, today’s iPhone and smartphone user seems to stumble around, much like a zombie, their objective to maintain constant eye contact with the device’s screen so as to catch the latest tweet, Facebook post, Instagram photo, or email; fully oblivious to the world around them.
See? Zombies. Living dead. Zombie generation.
I live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan so I know how to manage the subway crowds, and these days most of them are hunkered down– sitting, standing, or walking– over their iPhones or Android phones, chewing on the flesh of Facebook or the brains of Instagram photos or various body parts in the form of email or photo calls. These walking dead are everywhere and it’s Apple’s fault.
For zombies, an aspiring intellect isn’t an aspiration. Brains? Maybe.
I fear the iPhone generation may also have an issue with intelligence. Or, put another way, diminishing intelligence. My father is an engineer and knows how to use a slide rule. Yes, that slide rule. The one that did calculations before calculators.
The slide rule, also known colloquially in the United States as a slipstick, is a mechanical analog computer. The slide rule is used primarily for multiplication and division, and also for functions such as exponents, roots, logarithms and trigonometry, but typically not for addition or subtraction.
Who today knows how to use a slide rule? For all intents and purposes, the iPhone has killed off math, calculations, and conversions. Some in my generation can arrive at a math problem the old fashioned way, but the iPhone calculator is far easier and more convenient than pencil or paper. The same goes for conversions. There’s an app for that. The analog ways are dying and replaced with a digital version, an app that can be used without any understanding of the underlying concepts or rules to achieve a result.
We’re about to experience the same thing in photography. Remember SLRs, film, processing, and prints? That entire segment of the photography industry has be destroyed thanks to the iPhone because the photos are instant, free, easily shared and stored. Gone are the days of exposure and composition. Autofocus and autoexposure produce excellent photos with a click (not even a real click). Toss in a little machine learning and future iPhone photography will make every shot a masterpiece. Photoshop with a click.
Thanks to the iPhone, photographers and videographers need not know anything about their craft. All they need to do is point and shoot. Isn’t that what you would expect from a zombie photographer?
The zombie generation is here and it’s all Apple’s fault.