Op-Ed

Smart phone is your brain’s new frontal lobe

There’s very little dumb about a smart phone.

They have become a new brain appliance, not unlike a hearing aid but much broader in its scope.

Frankly, a smart phone is a robot, and it’s not a one-trick pony like a hearing aid. A smart phone will accurately answer almost all the questions you will ask, whether you used to know the answers or not.

Ironically, we senior citizens are the people most likely to need a smart phone, but seniors are also the people most likely to be intimidated by a complex device that knows more than I do.

(The pinheads who create smart phones are not smart enough themselves to learn that ordinary people — the customers — don’t all have nerdy electronic degrees or any grasp of computer jargon.)

A smart phone is a miracle helper for older people. As we grow older, it is common for words and some knowledge to drop out of our vocabularies. (For instance, who was the vice president under Ronald Reagan? For that matter, what is a vice president?)

Out of all the questions a person of any age might need to know, all we have to do is to ask the smart phone. You can ask it by voice, talking into a little picture of a microphone, or you can type the question into the phone on a keyboard stupidly built for baby fingers.

Far more often than not, the phone answers in a human-sounding voice. I say to the phone almost every day, “Seattle Mariners game.”

A female voice answers “The Seattle Mariners lost 3-1 to the New York Yankees.”

The device actually says cruel things like that when asked.

And even if the phone doesn’t answer questions with a human voice, it will bring up an encyclopedia entry giving you the details. For instance, I asked the smart phone, “Who was Grace Kelly?”

The female voice replied, “Grace Patricia Kelly was an American actress who, after marrying Prince Rainier III, became the Princess of Monaco.”

When I wonder how old a presidential candidate is, the phone will display the candidate’s biography, complete with birth date.

That brand new opportunity to learn almost anything any time is a manmade device nearly attached to your brain. In effect, we now have a third frontal lobe for our brains.

The answers are so reliable and quick that it takes your breath away. For instance, the other day, I had a slight pain in my side and was trying to remember a word I had forgotten from my childhood. The word was pleurisy. If you have a pain in your side, it may be a lung, rubbing without sufficient lubrication, against the inside of your body cavity.

I picked up the smart phone and asked what I thought was a difficult question, even for an artificial frontal lobe. “What is the word for a pain caused by a lung rubbing against the body cavity?” I asked.

The smart phone answered within seconds. It said the word is pleurisy.

As a test, if you have a smart phone handy, try that one yourself.

This is not a device that is only occasionally correct. You will be amazed at how often it finds the answer that had you stumped.

Many people today are already plugged into a few physical and medical improvements. Hearing aids, for instance.

And then there are heart pacemakers, a gadget attached to the human body keeping the patient’s heart on a correct and groovy beat.

For that matter, we have a former vice president who was on an artificial heart before finding a donor for a heart transplant.

What is that vice president’s name?

Ask your smart phone.

Contact Bill Hall at wilberth@cableone.net or at 1012 Prospect Ave., Lewiston, ID 83501.

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