Nice try by technology, but I doubt it'll work

Posted 11/1/17

If you have updated your iPhone’s operating system, you then got a message from Apple notifying you with the following message, “Do not disturb while driving. Your iPhone can silence incoming …

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Nice try by technology, but I doubt it'll work


If you have updated your iPhone’s operating system, you then got a message from Apple notifying you with the following message, “Do not disturb while driving. Your iPhone can silence incoming notifications whenever you appear to be driving.”

It is kind of cool but how ironic, isn’t it? It seems that a group of technology gurus have just attempted to use technology to “cure” the massive technology addiction problem that they have created in the first place, for the sake of innovation diffusion.

On the surface, this is great news for some. Insurance agents are probably loving this new iPhone feature. 

 Agents are probably saying, “Hey, you can now control your life and avoid a car accident! You can now choose whether to accept text messages while you are driving, or not.”

Wow! See? Technology is wonderful.

Let me help you save some money because of that. Well, this new “do not disturb while driving” function on the iPhone is good. It serves a small purpose, but in the grand scheme of things its relevance is dismal.

I can just hear someone near Ocoee Street screaming, “What are you talking about Dr. A?! This new technology is going to stop us from overusing technology! It has just cured the problem it created with technology.” 

By now, you know me. I am skeptical about this new development. Let me explain.

 This whole idea that technology can “cure” technological problems is overrated, because most of our problems are human problems caused in large part by this new technology.

What if I told you that this technology will do very little, if anything, to help you with your life pursuits, unless you work in the insurance business? If you do, then you probably will profit a bit from it.

Managers now expect you to work more and be on call. You now are used to hearing from your family on the way back from work. Your teenage daughter now communicates with you via text message.

Anyway, do you really think people will actually activate this function?

 Our society, along with the smartphone, have created the modern-day superhero worker. Most companies today put a premium on these superhuman-like people in the modern world who put in an average of 60-plus hours a week of work, who are able to accept a wide variety of extra responsibilities for little compensation, who perform their job tasks all the time and accept incoming calls from a client or a fellow co-worker while on vacation — all for the advancement of the enterprise.

Do you really think that the Captain Americas of the new era will engage in self-sacrifice and stop using their devices (not receiving texts while driving) at the price of losing face with their overworked supervisors? I doubt they will.

In the grand scheme of things, all of this fuss about technology stopping text messages coming to our phones while we drive will prove to be quite irrelevant to the majority of us. It is undeniably a great tool for insurance agencies as driving while distracted costs them millions of dollars each year in car accidents.

What is there for you is nothing more than a function added to your smartphone, and maybe a reminder that you should be looking at the road and not at your smartphone.

Do you really need a tech tool to take your eyes off the road? You may, but do you really?

This is what I think. People need to realize that whenever a new technology is infused in any system, change will inevitably occur in that system.

When the smartphone went mainstream back in 2007, it didn’t just serve as a new gadget on the market in isolation. In practice, smartphone technology has changed the way we operate in society in a number of respects.

I honestly don’t think that a computer blocking text messages going to your phone will change your machine habits, much in the same way that aspirin will never cure headaches, and will only temporarily alleviate their symptoms.

Technology has changed our world, because it has redesigned our living systems. This new smartphone function won’t do much for you or me.


(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book, “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at


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