I Don’t Care. I Love My Phone.

Sure, electronic eyes are spying. But look at everything this pocket computer can do!

Comments: 209

  1. These tech love stories are kind of creepy and seem forced.

  2. @Neildsmith- No, we just appreciate tech. The people who say we are weird are the same ones who binge-watch a season or two of shows on TV or are sports addicts and can't miss a game of overpaid guys fighting over a ball or puck.

  3. @S.L. "Ignorance is bliss" is apparently not just an old cliche.

  4. @Neildsmith I think the opposite - people talk like privacy is important, screens are evil - but you look at what people do, and it's clear that this is all talk. There is no mark of the beast nor totalitarian gov't forcing us to watch advertising - we choose what we want to do, and the fact is - we're choosing the convenience and making some reasonable compromises on privacy where it benefits us.

  5. Great article. Fun to read. It's refreshing not to read about the paranoia of owning a smartphone. I spend less than an hour on my phone a day, tops, and I never use it to purchase anything or look at ads. I also think of all the convenience of owning my iPhone and not whether I'm being tracked.

  6. @Flo I totally get what you're saying. We're using it. There's no turning back. Might as well just swipe away free of paranoia.

  7. @Helina 100% agree. I love how practical, easy & fun life is using my Smart Phone to the max. Sure more privacy would be nice, but hey "why sweat the small stuff". There is no going back now, Google, Apple & Amazon are my friends & believe this, the writers above probably do share plenty of info on their home computers. Really only scared by the fact that I'm staring down 70 and, at some quickly approaching point, the phone tricks I know now won't be current and I might be unable to learn the new ones.

  8. @Flo It seems you didn't really get the irony of the whole piece.

  9. My brother bought me my first iPhone in 2009. The woman at the Apple store asked me if I was excited. "No." Then I fell in love with it. I love having information available `24/7. I am annoyed when someone disturbs what I am doing by calling or texting. I have over 200 apps on the phone, all free, but no social media. Many are seasonal like travel apps but I frequently have 35-50 open at once. I don't worry about what doctors think phones are doing to our brains. History has shown that humans are adaptable. The telephone, electric lights and moving pictures didn't destroy us, TV did not turn us into Zombies, and phones will be shown to be harmless. I put my newest $1150 "computer" into a protective case, back and front, before I even started it. My phone keeps track of my exercise and sends challenges to improve my fitness. It plays music when I exercise or lets me watch TV. I see no downside to owning sometime that gives us access to the world. It is not the phone's fault that people have forgotten their manners and spend their time staring at their phones while interacting with people. Just don't expound on a subject with shaky facts. Everyone has a fact checker in their pockets. BTW- If you want to enhance your iPhone experience get an Apple watch. It lets you answer phone calls or check your messages with your phone out of reach and it reminds you to exercise which is always a good thing.

  10. @S.L. you need a watch to remind you to exercise? doesn't your body [or mind] remind you? maybe the stuff won't harm us. but it uses & wastes TREMENDOUS amounts of energy AND resources! maybe we don't need to care too much about that because it will soon be too late for anything anyway.

  11. @S.L. " I put my newest $1150 "computer" into a protective case, back and front, before I even started it." I put my $1150 in an envelope with a mortgage stub.

  12. @S.L. "TV did not turn us into Zombies" are you *really* sure about that one?

  13. Basically, the restaurant argument is that the author and friends put down their phones to have actual conversations about things that are, what for it, accessible on the tiny computer...and that's ... ironic somehow? Totally not getting that point as an argument.

  14. Sorry, Ms. Irby, but I do not consider this a laughing matter. The very idea that every move we make, technologically, and everything we read/say is tracked by BIG tech should scare the wits out of 99.9% of us because it's all about who will control OUR lives. This comment will not see the light of day because Google is in charge and I block ads and do not use their browser. That infuriates me.

  15. @njglea But it's here! I don't know how you think blocking ads and using an alternate browser would block your comment... I'm an avid consumer of Ms. Samantha Irby, and appreciate her tongue in cheek humor.

  16. @njglea Joke's on you. Your comment did see the light of day.

  17. @Molly. No. The joke's on all of us. We can all say & post when and what we want, subject to the usual norms. But the joke is "they" don't care. Because they have us where and when they want, doing what they want us to do. We've taken the Kool Aid and don't even care. (When I say us, I mean y'all, because I'm outa here).

  18. I was one of the first to have a high-powered Zombie phone, as part of a research project. I have not owned one since. However, I go out of my way to ask people for good reasons to own one. Invariably, the reasons are as weak as the ones given in this article. Meanwhile, I enjoy having a reasonably small data footprint, and I look everyone in the eye in public as I go about, relying on my still-working sense of direction.

  19. I totally agree. Every time a friend says phones are so expensive I remind them they’re not expensive, they are a computer and a phone! And, for all the above stated so well reasons I love mine too.

  20. It’s like how it was all the rage in the ‘90’s to be afraid of humans being labeled with barcodes, but now we pay a monthly subscription, and use convenience as a justification for the fact that our souls have been sold to a small handful of telecommunications companies. At least now we don’t need to ever actually know what direction we’re headed in, though. Seems like it all balances out in the end.

  21. I should have a choice. Period. And if I choose to pay for privacy then I should get it.

  22. The problem isn't the phone. If you have a meaningful life, phone addiction is never an issue. That meaningful life is however getting surprisingly harder to achieve, now that life is ordered around media consumption and status games. Feeling like a truly necessary part of society is reserved to only a handful of professions and callings. Most of us are in a tertiary sector job where we aren't sure how useful we are to the company and how useful the company's output and the sum total of our working hours is to society. We have comfort and safety but it came at a price that will only get steeper as more jobs get automated.

  23. Pretty interesting observation. I think you’re onto something bigger.

  24. @Virgil T. "If you have a meaningful life, phone addiction is never an issue." Do you have any evidence to support your contention ? There were and are individuals with meaningful lives who became & become addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, gambling ,caffeine, etc, as well as to smartphones.

  25. I too love Big Brother.

  26. How's this for Dinosaur ? I don't "spend" any time on my phone. Why ? I send an occasional text to communicate to my Wife /my Kids - Period. Its a PHONE. Nothing more. Why on earth would I be stupid enough to ever put banking info on it ? Or conduct Banking on it ? Convince yourself and lie to yourself all you want - it is not secure. I could go on but why ? You'll do it anyway, cause you wanna be "Hip". You wanna "Young". You don't want anyone to think you haven't got Money or you aren't the age you are. Well - they all know, so just keep it up with that little device burned into your Paw.

  27. @Dheep' Actually it's not a phone. It's a tracking device that can make calls and run apps. It's primary function, this is important - pay attention - is to track you.

  28. Do you really think your PC is anymore secure than you phone? Or for that matter the banks website? I have been in the systems and network security sense 300 baud modems were state of the art. Yes phones are attacked a lot more, but less successfully. Social engineering is much more effective. That said, I hat to find a smart phone that is even close to what my Motorola Timeport was as a phone. I kept that until a battery was more expensive than a treo. As for privacy, I honestly gave up on that a long time ago. At this point, if I can keep my bedroom private, I consider it a win.

  29. YES! Thank you! I'm always arguing with my parents about this, both own smartphones (one an iPhone & the other an Android). My mom refuses to setup a fingerprint on her iPhone for fear someone steals it and my dad refuses to do any type of banking on his phone but instead uses an old laptop with spyware & malware.

  30. Might as well go down swinging, right? The end is near. No turning back now.

  31. @Helina, I hear that about politics too, from people on the left these days. They've hardly fought, we're not dead or dying at the moment, there are resources, options, organizing, choices we do have. In this, too, and people seem to prefer to pronounce their own dooms instead. Easier? It is that. But considering how far humans have come, and through what plagues, wars, and devastations, we can fight and should, and must. The passive "we can't!" is a choice, too. You don't need to make that choice. Things are not good, but they've been bad before. The very hurry people seem in to give up is the most appalling aspect of the current scene to me.

  32. @Helina The end is only as near as you choose to make it. We have our votes, we choose what we buy even if advertisers have better ideas of what we want, you have as much privacy as you want in your home - but if you do something stupid in public, you don't get to deny it later. And you can give up, and be lazy, and call it cynicism and pretend it's being smart all you like.

  33. @SusanStoHelit Try buying a dumb TV today - virtually impossible, I found. They say "you can do this" and "do that" to protect your privacy, but I think we need to just accept the fact that capitalism and state interests have us. It's become increasingly clear to me that Orwell was just not a great *independent* thinker, but also a prophet.

  34. I have a desktop computer and a landline phone with an answering machine. Why would I need a smart phone? The messages will be there when I feel like checking on them. Some days I won't bother and I never do on vacations. Heaven forbid that I would need to know about every message and respond to them all day every day, which sounds like addiction of the worst kind.

  35. @DB Unless you are away from home all day as I am and making contact immediately with people makes or breaks deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  36. @Draw Man Your job obviously requires a smart phone. Good for you. I am retired. When I was working I didn't need to be in contact with people as you do.

  37. Your phone, computer, etc are tools. Nothing more. Some people need different tools based on their occupation, social situation, how nimble they want to be. Glad you have figured out what you need or don’t need. Most of us require a little more connectivity to meet our social and occupational requirements in 2019. Sometimes it is good to feel needed by other people.

  38. This reminds me of the friend who said he was divorcing his wife. 'Now she is free to marry her phone,' he said.

  39. Yes! I, too, have given up. We've already lost the war against the ancestors to our future AI overlords--like, why waste so much time worrying about it? sigh

  40. But seriously, as the comic likes to say. My students don't actually live much now. They tend not to know how to play a musical instrument, they seldom read a book (and it does show, unfortunately), they do not engage much in face-to-face social interactions (and have a certain lack of affect now that I think comes from not reading faces or being read by others). When then cross campus in the spring, the new red buds and pear flowers are lost on them; they don't know the names of trees or birds, mostly. They seldom talk with parents, who are also peering into phones for their own favorite entertainments or addictions, and have largely lost the word stocks and proverbs and other homey wisdom that family at one time passed down. We are changing, and being changed, in the hands of very smart people working for very rich people--but beyond that, not really living life in a genuine, connected, or aware way at this time. And that's no joke.

  41. @jb Teachers and professors are all observing the same very alarming lack of normal and important human behaviors in students at virtually every level, K to 20. Disinterest, lack of curiosity, and knowledge gaps that are frightening. The affects described by jb are spot on, the negative consequences will be felt very deeply on many levels. Here is the bigger problem: "They seldom talk with parents, who are also peering into phones for their own favorite entertainments or addictions, . . ." Maybe you are loving your phones too much and loving your kids too little.

  42. @jb That’s one way to look at it, but here’s another. About eight years ago, I traveled to Alaska and stayed at a supposed hostel (ie., crummy room) where I met a young German woman who was on the last leg of an around the world tour. Even though I am older than her mother, we became fast friends and kept in touch via email after the trip. She continued to travel, as did I, and we shared many photos and stories via email. Eventually she met Mr. Right and a last year they had a son. I traveled to Germany for the first time and spent a month with them and seeing a chunk of Europe. Finding rooms, train schedules and keeping in touch was all made easy with my phone. Now I’m back and we text regularly. It is always the highlight of my day when I get a new video of my new “grandchild” taking his first steps or kissing himself in the newly discovered full-length mirror. I love my phone, I use it a lot, but don’t feel at all enslaved to it. It’s like food or drink, moderation is the key. I still read books, I still use maps sometimes and I don’t have a TV. Go figure.

  43. @Pundette There is a big difference between adults who grew up in the pre-internet era and the children, adolescents, and young adults that jb and I are referring to. We are not seeing the balance in their lives that you are describing. That IS the problem. There is no moderation.

  44. When I was in high school, I had a Commodore Vic-20, a small personal computer you hooked up to the tv, 4000 bytes of RAM, programs were saved on cassette tapes. I spent hours at it writing programs in the basement den of our home. During an alumni interview as part of the college application process, I was asked whether I loved my computer. I immediately said 'No', I love MD (the girl who sat next to me in English class). Being asked the question helped put a lot of things in perspective.

  45. Well, each to his/her own....at about twice the age of the author, I reluctantly bought a "smart" phone to text with my daughter. No aps, no emails. But I do think I'm clever to be able to take a few photos now and then and send them to her and to friends. Oh, and phone calls. That's it.

  46. Slippery slope. Pretty soon you will be checking weather. Be careful. Texting is a gateway app to many, many other apps. Enjoy the ride....

  47. Brilliant piece. I couldn't tell whether this was satire on not.

  48. @Michael Because it's both!

  49. Sadly, this describes my relationship with my phone too. However, the biggest difference would be I've always been into the newest technology & I'm pretty tech savvy. At 13 I was spending numerous days/weeks downloading mp3s on Napster at 2am on an AOL dialup connection to burn CD's that would be replaced in a month when a new hot song came out. As soon as Android came out with the first smartphone the Motorola Droid I immediately upgraded my phone. Now I'm a Samsung Note junkie (yes, I also had the Note 7 & refused to return it until the Note 8 came out despite Samsung's attempts to render the phone useless & claims the phone would explode). I try to be mindful of the apps I share data with and what information I keep on my phone but as the author said I too receive plenty of creepy ads tied to my earlier searches despite using ad blockers. I look at it as you've gotta pick your poison.

  50. I like my phone too, but I resist adding too much data to the cloud bank. I never allow any computer to remember my passwords, I am not on Facebook or any other like group, I avoid apps that are not discrete with invasive ads, I do not sign up compulsively for whatever looks interesting, and I keep my personal data online to a minimum. I hope this helps keep me out of trouble. I also have taken to carrying some cash to keep my credit card use away from gas stations, quick stops and the like, and restaurants I have doubts about. I hope this helps prevent invasion, good luck with your credit security, too.

  51. Are you suggesting that smart phone users' judgements are clouded?

  52. A healthy human being is able to love other people. Healthier humans can also extend love to other sentient beings, to the animals in their lives, and other lifeforms. Irby professes love for a lifeless machine. How pathological is it to focus the most sublime & intimate of human emotions on a machine? This love of machines and the devaluation of living beings is leading us to oblivion. Because many humans love machines more than life, the planet is burning & polluted and life is under grave threat. But hey, the addicts are entertained. Those who are too boring & bored to create can, zombie-like, consume endless mindless entertainment. Irby talks about her phone in the same breathless affectionate reverie that addicts talk about heroin or methamphetamine highs. How can addiction to a machine be healthy? Yet this culture has normalized machine addiction to our detriment, because profit is more important than children's hearts, minds & brains. Autism disorders, in which most relate better to machines than people, are on the rise. Research shows that empathy has decreased 40% in college students since 2000. Marriages & families fall apart over addictions to iphones & ubiquitous Internet pornography. Teen depression, anxiety & suicide is up off the charts and linked to social media addiction. Research shows teen phone addicts develop abnormal brain chemistry in the brain reward circuits of the brain, particularly in the ratio of GABA to other neurotransmitters.

  53. @Earthling, @WD, and lots of others: Why is it that so many people in this comments section don't get that she's a comedy writer?! It's printed right there in black and white under her byline.

  54. @Earthling She's a comedian. It's a comedy piece.

  55. @Jade Read the comments. Many people cannot tell if this piece was serious or not. Social media has erased the lines between real and fake. People no longer have a clue how to discern the truth.

  56. This article is satire at its best: hilariously written even as it takes aim at the insidious way smart phones have become necessary devices in many people's lives.

  57. @Margaret If a smart phone is "necessary device" in one's life there is, in my opinion, something seriously amiss is one's life. In fact, I question if owning a smart phone should be a part of anyone's life at all.

  58. "Apple put a screen-time feature on the iPhone that’s supposed to shame me into putting down the drug it won’t stop selling me." Yup. It's a drug. But is it caffeine, a powerful but for the most part useful drug? Or heroin, a powerful but ultimately destructive drug? Or both? All I know is, I'm glad I didn't have to raise my children in this drug-riddled society. They're addicted NOW, but their brains matured in the halcyon days before smartphones. Whew.

  59. Halcyon days ... brought to you by Halcyon ... for tranqiul times.

  60. my battery life determines my life.

  61. I hope that your charge accounts are robust.

  62. I feel sorry for you people.

  63. Ms. Irby, you're being satirical, right? Um, right?

  64. Ms. Irby, you're too besotted to understand this but it's true: You don't own your phone; it owns you.

  65. @Bridgman: You do realize that she's a comedy writer, right? It says so right there at the top.

  66. My cat owns me, too, but that fact doesn’t diminish the pleasure he brings me.

  67. @Jade Of course I know she's a comedy writer, and it's clear in her style here; satirical overstatement. But it's also clear that her feelings about her phone are genuine and that her description of her use of it is accurate.

  68. Yeah, people are getting a little nuts on privacy. If you're doing it in public, it's not private. If you're telling Amazon something - expect Amazon to remember it. If they're learning from subtle patterns how best to advertise to you - what - you prefer erectile medication or tampon ads to something you are actually interested in? We never had privacy, computers mean that companies can take the info they already have and do more with it. To expect your public activities to be private, to expect privacy to mean the police cannot read your mail, listen to your calls, with an appropriately founded warrant - I think that is a bad thing. And I'm glad that recordings taken of teachers screaming at kids, recordings of a bigot mistreating minorities, streaming video of a police officer shooting someone in the back - all kinds of situations where normally the powerful can deny what they did, and rely on people believing their word over the less powerful person - and now, because of phone cameras and less privacy, the powerful are afraid of being caught. That's a good thing.

  69. @SusanStoHelit You think that loss of privacy is going to hold the powerful more accountable? I think that is very naïve. I think there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for you to believe that your now public information will be used for the overall betterment of mankind. At best it will be used to manipulate you. At worst it will be used to control you.

  70. @SusanStoHelit I am in absolute agreement that privacy always has been an illusion where technology is concerned. We do have to keep up our illusions, though -- about everything from our parents, to our partners, to our kids-- in order to maintain some semblance of sanity. Fear of being caught on the part of the powerful is a good thing. Now, if they only had to pay consequences for their actions... .

  71. @Charles alexander All of those work too. I could work to list every possible beneficial use - but I think that would get boring quickly. Privacy is all too often used to mean that someone can get away with lying about what happened - whether it's the police officer shooting someone he claims was shooting back - or the criminal claiming police brutality - both of these can be properly debunked with video. It's protection for those doing the right thing, whoever they may be. Privacy is often protection for the best liars.

  72. Has anyone noticed that the author of this piece is a comedy writer, and that it is, clearly and intentionally, very funny?

  73. @William A. Loeb Just goes to show that modern life leaves no place for satire.

  74. . . . and then there's the porn, let's not forget that.

  75. sick. not a joke.

  76. Ridiculous!! Waste of time and energy!! Go grab your life...

  77. Maybe this is satire (I hope for Ms. Irby's sake it is), but what she describes is very serious. We are undertaking a massive experiment in human communication without really knowing the risks involved. Human beings seem to be getting more and more clever and less and less wise, I cannot think of anything accelerating that trend more than cell phones. What are we giving up for distraction and convenience? If we give it up voluntarily, are we sure we can get it back again if we change our minds?

  78. @Jim P Yes, Jim, you're right, there's a difference between 'knowledge' and 'wisdom'. With that said, at the end of the day I'll always value 'looking into someone's eyes' than 'gazing into an e-screen'.

  79. I'm thankful thatMs. Irby is a comedy writer, so I can assume this does not reflect her actual state of mind. I can only feel sadness for anyone who is out to dinner and feels the NEED to check their phone. call me old-fashioned, but when I go out to dinner I leave mine home. Neither do I check my emails via phone except on rare occasions, or get notifications for any app. I much prefer the here and now.

  80. @Kim Hanson You may be not be in a high powered job, many of us don’t have the option to simply leave the phone at home for dinner. Nor would we want to.

  81. @Kim Hanson People who say they cannot stop using the 'crack' machine are liars. Even work cannot indenture you to your phone. It proves the mindlessness of the average person who cannot keep the new 'crack' away from their hands.

  82. @There "Nor would we want to ." You have given no thought to your dinner companions ,who suffer as the result of your phone use when you are dining with them.

  83. The way things go with new technologies and machines is: First it is a luxury, which later becomes a convenience, and ultimately becomes a necessity. That is how the techno and corporate overlords keep the masses enthralled and addicted to the machine, how they take your money and with it your independence and humanity. They likely will not stop until humans are replaced by androids and we are all total servants of the machine.

  84. Ms. Irby's dinner party reminds me of an incident a few weeks ago. I'm retiring to a Atlantic coastal village in France and spend a good part of my time here now. I had a guest from the USA and we had dinner at a lovely little restaurant overlooking the beach. It has about 15 tables and only 1 seating each evening. About half the people were locals and half were visitors from other parts of France. This is not a well known tourist destination. (Thank heavens.) Most of the diners were 40+ After my guest and I had gotten well into our meal I asked her if she noticed anything different about the place... Not a single mobile phone was anywhere in sight! Not just weren't people distractedly tapping away, not only where they not placed face down on the table. It was as if we were in a world where they did not exist. In fact, we were in a world of exquisitely delicious food and quiet, relaxed conversation. Wild horses can't tear me away from this place. Though I must admit, I do enjoy reading a bit of the NY Times each day.

  85. @J Jencks Hey J Jencks, welcome to France ! And enjoy your retirement here in this lovely country ! Alan

  86. I have never had any phone other than a basic flip-phone that I use only to make and receive phone calls. Never have I felt that I was out of touch with anything that actually mattered in life. But I have always felt gratitude for escaping a debilitating addiction.

  87. @Lou Candell I have a smartphone because my flip-phone happened to have conked out when I needed it most, which was when I was trapped after Sandy . I replaced it with a Razor Maxx HD, because after I was rescued, I read that the Razor Maxx HD had the longest lasting battery life of any cell phone on the market, which was the most important feature to a traumatized natural disaster victim. I am not suffering from a debilitating addiction as a result of having a smartphone , which I used to make phone calls. and to respond to text messages that people insist on sending in response to my phone calls. I have carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis in my fingers. Texting on my flip phone was painful and left my hands numb, as it required pressing buttons multiple times, and hitting keys triggered the pain and numbness. I can dictate texts into my smartphone, or "touch type " them, which is not painful. I have a debilitating medical condition, not a "debilitating addiction ", and am grateful for the smartphone that has eased the pain, numbness and tingling.

  88. Every time I wait behind someone at a green light who is talking (possibly to you!) on her phone (and blocking everyone behind her), I'll give a blessing that, you love your phone so very very much. Or every time I see friends at a restaurant table, all engrossed separately in their phones. Or...or...or....

  89. @NZFilmProf My Subaru dings to tell me the car in front is moving. Surprised me at first but it’s a very nice feature that helps not just when I’m talking but just looking around outside or day dreaming. NIce technology!

  90. I was never interested in traveling phones until 9/11. People facing the end were able to communicate with loved ones and the realization of that opened my mind to the plus sides of new technologies. Just recently my mother died and though i was alone at the time and it was 2 am when i got the call my wife came with me in my pocket as it were and she shared the moments with me before and after on the trip home, i was grateful for a devise that could bring me comfort and allow my wife to communicate with me her feelings and memories as well.

  91. @Arthur Grupp That's one way to look at it. The other being a life lived being loved & loving others should be enough.....even if a giant meteor crushes us before we hit send on that final text.

  92. Are all these comments written by people who are reading NYT on newsprint and had to fire up the old Commodore 64 to comment? Come on! I love my phone too! 1. I can do face time between my kids and their grandparents in other states. 2. The data speed is faster than my office pc and I use it all the time while waiting for my computer to do something else. 3. The internet is very encouraging for people who are not mainstream in some way to know they are not alone. I find a lot of satisfaction in interacting with people like me who are far flung. 4. I am very busy in “real life” and my phone lets me catch up while on the train, waiting in line, etc. Phones may need to be used responsibly but they are awesome.

  93. @Holly T I agree 100%! I have made wonderful friends from different parts of the world who share my interests. First we met online and then we met in person. I even have a very good group of friends in my area who I met through a Facebook group and then we become friends "in real life".

  94. @Holly T lool exactly! How are all these naysayers commenting if they hate screen time so much. My phone is my remote control to almost everything I need to get done, its a great tool. Social media is the real culprit here, not the phone itself....which personally is why I got rid of Facebook, but still on the fence about Instagram and Twitter.

  95. This is the best article on the topic I have read in a long time. We can't fight the coming together of human/iPhone to create the new, improved, iMan and iWoman. Resistance if futile.

  96. I love my smartphone too. I use it mostly as a very convenient tool to read articles. Before it, I had to go through countless reams of paper and toner cartridges to print the articles I carried around with me.

  97. I love my smartphone too. I use it mostly as a very convenient tool to read articles. Before it, I had to go through countless reams of paper and toner cartridges to print the articles I carried around with me.

  98. My son, as a teen, never took care of anything, and lost everything, except for his phone! He got his first phone in his junior year. My husband and I got our first phones in 2002 when his mother was terminally ill. Personally, I am glad that we did not parent our children during the age of smart phones. I also love my phone, and I fear that I might have been one of the parents pushing the stroller down the street while reading something on their phone, or who hands the phone to their unruly child to appease them rather than give them personal attention that they want. One of the best things about a smart phone is that you no longer have to "wonder" about something...if you want information, google it for immediate results.

  99. @PK It was hard enough to tear my kids away from the computer(desktop) years ago. I am so glad smartphones didn’t exist then.

  100. @PK' One of the best things about a smart phone is that you no longer have to "wonder" about something...if you want information, google it for immediate results.' Yeah, now all you have to wonder about is whether it's true, or whether it's what the algorithm has selected as most-viewed by the "super-users" of the AltRight, or whether it's a hoax, or part of the hype of an party of influence... I recently tried to look up information on the toxic levels of aluminum and the effects of exceeding them, and I found myself immersed in anti-vax sites and an scientific-appearing page put out by an organization which sold body "cleansers", and made aluminum sound worse than Plutonium.

  101. I love my phone too! The convenience of access to information world is simply astounding. It's where I go to become informed about the world. But the smartphone becomes a risk once I start sacrificing my more human qualities for that of a screen slave. At home, my family can no longer have a proper meal without our attention being captivated by Netflix, Facebook, Instagram, some random shopping site, etc. It's sad to think that this lack of real, meaningful interaction amongst ourselves is a reflection of what our society is slowly becoming: isolated, secretly depressed, and less empathetic. How can anyone answer honestly to, "How are you?" when the questioner and responder are caught up in their artificial worlds?

  102. "I don't care," says the not very funny comedy writer who claims to "have a real memory of how inconvenient life used to be." Sure, it's all clever tongue-in-cheek irony, which makes it all the more facile in the end. "I don't care." And to paraphrase the writer later in the essay, "I want what I want even if I know in advance its what Apple or Google tells me to want." "I don't care . . . I want what I want." Sounds like a lot of spoiled bourgeois ten-year-olds. True colors.

  103. I am totally over my iPhone. When my new Xr (if that's the right name) dies exactly on schedule, I'm going for a Jitterbug. Why do I need a computer in my purse? Why do I need to instantly find out the weather in Istanbul? Why do I need to have moment-to-moment coverage of this atrocious government? I can't read a map on my iPhone any better than I can on paper, which is pretty bad. I'm not a Luddite. I was an early adapter for everything. But that doesn't mean I have to be married to all this technology for life. The thing is, I have a (very expensive) laptop at home and I can't think of a single thing in the last few months, or maybe ever, that couldn't wait to consult it when I got home. And, if there happened to be something that couldn't wait, like the downfall of this government, everyone around me will have their phones and give me all the update I need. The fall of the government would no doubt continue until I get home and follow it on MSNBC. I don't judge. I just say that it's a mystery to me why people sit together at a table, paying more attention to their phones than to each other. It's a mystery to me why people take photos of great art in a museum, art that isn't going anyplace for the next so many years. And why would I ever need a flash-flood warning? There may be things I would miss, but I can't think what they are and I'm sure as heck that I'm not going to ask Siri.

  104. Not judging and yet judging.

  105. @joan 1009. Why would you ever need a flash flood warning? Seriously?

  106. Imagine you are from the past, say the 1950s through 1970s and you were suddenly transported to our time. Seeing people zombified and locked to their phones, oblivious to everyone and everything around them, would (and does) look utterly ridiculous. Look closer and see what most are doing (nothing productive) and it is truly dystopian. This was not the promise of technology most envisioned. We are not empowered. Phones are not "bicycles for the mind." We are all little rats walking around with our own hand held Skinner boxes.

  107. "I don't own a smartphone" is the new "I don't own a tv/have cable".

  108. I don't have a smart phone. I'm not anti-technology. I work all day on a computer and I code. I see value in computers. That said, I don't love your phones. I don't love that people have to use their phones in the changeroom at the gym while I'm changing, right in front of the signs that say "no cellphone" use. I hate seeing all the people driving while using them, putting me and others at risk. I think cell phones have become a net-negative on society. Just a counter-opinion

  109. Very funny stuff... I like leaving the phone at home now....going out without it is the new form of streaking.

  110. And don't forget the sweet vibrations.

  111. Having been censored on WeChat in China and walked among the persecuted Muslim population in the markets of Xinjiang, I chafe at Ms. Irby’s throwaway jest about her lack of control of how much personal information “being leaked to...” “...whatever Chinese intelligence agency controls the barrage of ads...” Data from our phones are already being harnessed to control thoughts and minds around the globe and poses an existential threat to millions.

  112. I hate my phone. 90% of all incoming calls are junk, because our legislative lapdogs of the rich don’t dare regulate this technology, which (like email) could have been useful and cool, but as usual, capitalism destroys everything it touches.

  113. @Íris Lee - download the app Robokiller. Boom, no more junk calls. Works great for me.

  114. I see that the author is a comedy writer but her column isn't particularly humorous nor is it obviously satirical. Perhaps the satire is too subtle and nuanced for me to appreciate. But I think she's giving a mostly accurate portrayal of her attitudes about privacy. And those attitudes aren't funny, they're laughable.

  115. Maybe the author could have titled this article, “How I learned to stop worrying and love my phone” after the old Dr. Strangelove film!

  116. You want your kids not to be addicted to screens? Send them to sleepaway camp for seven weeks. Most camps do not allow them. Back to nature!

  117. Best line I’ve read in a long time....”idea of fun is to correct your pronunciation of nicoise “ (which my iPad autocorrect hates. Naturally). Thank you for this most enjoyable piece. Commenters here need to really lighten up.

  118. Pathetic proof that late "bloomers" (or late addicts) to the hyper-digital world, in their 40's-50's and above, are much more naive and ill-informed about the dangers and drawbacks of their addiction than any millenium. The only hope is that, Ms Irby being a comedy writer, this column is supposed to be her next skit. Not the funniest on Earth...but that's my own private opinion that I don't want to share.

  119. @Jacques 5646 I disagree completely. The author makes brilliant observations. Millenials and especially those even younger are so habituated to their devices and have so few years on this planet that they cannot compare the before and after.

  120. If we lose the 'grid', Ms. Irby, at the end of the day you will only have what's left in your head, what lingers in your mind. Your 'phone' is about as relative to your notion of what love is as an automobile is to a car-lover.

  121. We have become a weak and sad lot. Read a book or formulate an original thought once in a while. .

  122. These are not mutually exclusive activities. I quite enjoy writing or reading while I stream music from my phone to my stereo.

  123. Are we suppose to cheer Ms. Irby for recognizing and writing for public consumption about her voluntary surrender of her very self to a thing the size of her hand?

  124. If this wasn't composed with the writer's tongue super-glued to her cheek, this woman is in serious need of an intervention.

  125. Agreed. Anyone who wants to listen to me talk wine with my boss, me speak to my wife about my day is more than welcome to. It’s not a very exciting way to spend your time but whatever floats your boat. The whole NYT privacy thing (7 sep articles) is a bit overblown. We all get it. It is what it is. Unless you’re trading nuclear secrets with the Chinese, who cares who’s listening.

  126. @There I remember when we used to point at that kind of surveillance as a reason why the Soviet Union was so messed up. Well, that and they'd make you disappear if they didn't like what you said. I guess they were just ahead of the game and needed to pair their surveillance with pictures of pancakes and the ability to find out which house of hogwarts you're in.

  127. @Sean The problem wasn't the lack of privacy for things people did in public - it was making people disappear for what they said in private.

  128. Or, Susan, for what they said in public. In the Reich, or purges elsewhere, people were taken for letters to the editor, for fliers, for speeches, and more. They didn't expect it when they spoke or wrote, but the bad days came and they were on record already. The capability now, of course, to keep and retrieve utterances (here on the NYT, for example) is orders of magnitude greater. But we would never fall into the hands of an autocrat or party that would accuse us of treason, would we?

  129. My phone knows nothing. Other than how to call or text. It's a 9+ year old Samsung Juke. No APS. No GPS. It does have a 2mg pixel camera. My vintage (a word an Apple Store employee used for it) computer has for many years black tape covering the camera. No, I'm not too much of a dinasaur. My passion is traveling the world. And reading. Books, the kind made from paper. My wife on the other hand is addicted. It's too late for her. Almost daily she tells me about the exploits of this or that friend, not one of whom she's ever met for real.

  130. @Roman I too travel the world. My phone was useful in so many ways in Southeast Asia recently. I could google “restaurants near me” on an island in the Mekong River and find more up to date recommendations than in my guidebook. I could borrow ebooks from my library and read them on my travels (like you I prefer actual books at home). I could stay in touch with my family and send pictures through WhatsApp for free. I could download maps (I am directionally impaired) for wherever I wanted to go. I could stay in touch with my travel companion when we were doing separate activities. I’m not on Facebook or instagram and am not addicted to my phone, but I do appreciate the convenience it provides when traveling the world.

  131. @Roman You mean like pen pals? A friendship can be made in person or by writing.

  132. If you use What's App, you use Facebook.

  133. I'm sure there are lots of people who say "I don't care, I love heroin" too. Doesn't make it a good thing.

  134. Some days I do miss going to AAA to get a highlighted map and hand written directions, drive it twice and I could get there no problem. Now I turn on the GPS for a five mile trip, because not only am I too lazy to look at a map, no one can give directions anymore.

  135. @Kate: a very convincing argument. thank you. i think it was the german poet berthold brecht who said, things are at their worst, once you begin to love your chains.

  136. @Jim I use a Garmin GPS rather than allow Google to track me. They're maps and directions are better, but I get where I'm going.

  137. I am very sad to see that rather than putting her phone away and actually interacting with her friends, she chose the phone. My phone is frequently on silent. It is for my use, not your convenience. OTOH, it has Waze on it and for a person who literally can't walk around the block without getting lost, Waze and Google maps are a blessing. It is a useful tool for me, nothing more. If you text me while I am enjoying dinner with friends, I'll get back to you when dinner is finished and I am at home and it is now convenient for me to return your text. I won't even know because my phone will be in my purse and on silent. I'm not friends with a phone.

  138. I rarely answer my phone. No I don't want to "sell my house" for a low cash offer, so you can listen to my recording that unless I recognize the number, I don't answer. I do like the auto reject button. I did like my mother being able to reach me on one number anywhere I happened to be. And it is useful information to know that I was on hold for 31 minutes, 21 seconds waiting for customer service that "values me as a customer". I like the app that tells me which bus is coming when. 2 minutes means the San Francisco bus is coming in 5or 6 and I can make it. I don't need the latest phone. My trusty Galaxy 5 takes OK pics for my old eyes. And it is comforting that if I lose my way, my phone can direct me home.

  139. Love my phone, the technology and everything in this article. All the luddites please look away.

  140. @Dr R, that doesn't matter, does it? You won't see us looking anyway...

  141. I love my phone, too. But I'm not addicted to having it by my side 24/7. Heck, I even turn it off ALL night. How do I survive?

  142. Samantha, there's this thing called a watch that you can wear on your wrist. Believe it or not, it can tell you the time without having to deal with your phone!

  143. I am an elderly woman confined to a wheel chair. I love my phone, my computer, Google, Amazon, the book section, (seconds after selected book it is on my computer,) NYTimes, the comments, and my Bose head phones that seem to blast me out of my chair and into out space! Talk about landing in some ancient cathederal in Europe where somebody is playing Bach and there i am, part of the audience. Thank you, Tech Gods. Thank you.

  144. @Nightwood, You are the commenter I identify with most, being 80 and decrepit with bad lungs and knee. I have a landline I prefer, just let the machine answer, unless I hear a voice I know respond. But I like my phone to guide me to addresses I dont know, and I love to read the paper on my tablet. No ink on my hands and clothes, and fewer dead trees! But when it comes to books, I want a real one, and tho I text people I think are busy, I like to talk on the landline. I adore Google! I used to make notes to take to the library to look up things I wanted to know about. Now I find out about books on Amazon, order them from the library, and pick them up when they notify me! I got FB when my grands went off to college and a friend who travels all over puts up pix I enjoy, but other than that, Z can keep his nose out of my life!

  145. @caharper The best to you caharper. There are a few times when i don't have the books i order from Amazon sent to my computer. I want them in my house to have and to hold, i suppose. I quit FB for reasons i no longer remember.

  146. @Nightwood I want to add Track me all you want. I have ad blocker and i don't see a single one of your silly ads.

  147. My happiest days are when I forget my phone at home and not a slave to it, but, conversely, the blowback of that act is always unpleasant later. Our addiction to instant information and access is illuminating and frightening all at once.

  148. I got my first smart phone, under duress, this past Christmas as a gift from the spouse - my old flip phone (no camera, no web) finally died after about 15 years. He set up several aps on the new device, none of which I plan on using (my Garmin still works for directions, and see no need access to the web while away from my desk). I've covered over the camera lenses with sticky paper, and plan on using the phone only for calling and texting. If only I could turn off the GPS capability, I'd be a happy woman. Is this attitude a bit crazy? Maybe, but it helps my comfort level in an increasingly non-private world.

  149. The fact that it's so difficult to discern whether the column is satirical or sincere (though I presume the former) tells us all we need to know about the current cultural moment where we've collectively taken up residence in a space of suspended irony in which we recognize completely that the hyper-consumerist, permanently juvenile lifestyle advanced by electronic paraphernalia is unsustainable, and yet we're all, "whatevs..." And no, virtue-signalling by proudly Luddite flip-phone users does not address the problem.

  150. @RER, "virtue signaling" is generally merely a sneer at people who actually mean what they've said, intended to silence them. And "Luddite" another gibe. Nor do I think such people are saying they've solved the problem but are sharing their own experience as they, like us iPhone users, have every right to do.

  151. I’m with Samantha 100%. My mobile phone is the operating system for my life. If the price I have to pay is some targeted ads, I’ll struggle to endure it.

  152. I don't own a smartphone. At times it makes me feel like an alien. Like I'm the only one in the Matrix without a cord plugged into the back of my head.

  153. First let's recognize the writer is a comedian; everything here may be tongue-in-cheek. As another article today points out, women are especially vulnerable online. Trading privacy for convenience is dangerous. But it doesn't have to be this way. Regulation can force these behemoths to -- by default -- give you full privacy, and specifically ask for your information if you want to give it. As many people will anyway, these companies will continue to be very profitable, and provide these services. But the ordinary person must have the simple ability to protect their privacy, if they want.

  154. I've loved Samantha Irby's essays for several years now. She has a fresh voice speaking her generation's truth coupled with a genuine gift for turning darkness into hilarity. So glad to see her in the Times.

  155. All of the information that is harvested about us, everything that is known about us as a result of our digital activities is stored as data on computers. A computer can't be said to actually "know", so why do people feel that if information they hold is private and do not want the public to know is stored on a set of computers constitutes an invasion of their privacy. This is in addition to the fact that people's most private information, things they hold should be secret such as the most sensitive medical, financial and court records are all stored and "known' by computers. In fact we all accept that people we do not know, such as those who work in the medical and financial fields, at privy to information that we would not want anyone to know about because they do not know us, and to them we are just a name. So it is difficult to see why a person would be bothered by a set of computers knowing private information about them when they have no problem with actual people having access to and reading their most private records.

  156. Ms. Irby, you are already in your fortieth year, as your thirty-ninth birthday has passed.

  157. The people who keep calling my phone must love it too. But I don't know them. And for some reason they find it necessary to disguise their identities. But it's all in fun, right?

  158. Dear Prue I do love my iPad but I confess I don't love my iPhone. It seems so small and well, useless. I don't want to ring people and I don't want them to ring me. In fact, I only keep my iPhone charged for emergencies. And often I forget to do even that. Am I being unfair; or worse, is there something wrong with me?

  159. This is one of the worst things I have read in print in a pretty long time. Is it opposite day? I abhor this thought process. It is part of the decline of western civilization.

  160. I am not addicted to my phone, while I just realized that I am addicted to writing comments (using a MacBook Pro, not a smart phone. )

  161. This is my personal horror, the Zombie cult of screen-starers unable to look away from the filtered world they have created like goblins mesmerized by fire. It's also why I have a flip phone. No internet, no apps, just phone, text, a bad camera and that very satisfying snap when it closes down and I am free.

  162. ... and all of those relationships you are ignoring (except the other addicts you dine with), what about them? "Treat your parents well. Some day you are going to look-up from your cellphone and they are not going to be there." (unknown)

  163. A sad addition to The Privacy Project. This opinion is void of any substance, relevance or thought-provoking ideas. To resign to the notion that you need to give up your privacy for entertainment is absurdly misguided and contributes nothing to the privacy debate. A better approach would have been discussing the best ways to retain as much anonymity as possible while using your favorite applications.

  164. Yeah, and don't forget the lethal glioblastoma (average survival is 403 days post-diagnosis from this malignant brain tumor), under-performing sperm from the dad who carried his phone in his pocket, and the opportunity to cripple your child's fetal brain development (maternal use of a cell phone during pregnancy is reported to cause both cognitive impairments and behavior problems by the time the child is in elementary school).

  165. Well, its a new thing. Digital lives is just a new thing. But people are organic. They will return to living more organic lives and then they'll have more balance to their lives. It's like every other generation rediscovers Shakespeare or the Beatles, or the sounds of birds, or the wonders of nature and so on. Proof of that? The writing of this piece is evidence of that.

  166. To those advocating for a “phone free lifestyle”, nothing is stopping you from doing that. But the “holier than thou” attitude puts you in the same camp as crossfitters, atheists, and vegans who feel compelled to tell everyone else that they are doing it wrong. I love having access to information when I want it. I have zero desire to change, and as you ironically share across social media how awesome it is to not be beholden to your phone, please know that I am laughing at your hypocrisy.

  167. Your phone is the new Giga-pet.

  168. I can't tell if this is satire or not....

  169. @CD And what's more, I can't bring myself to care. It's puerile.

  170. You have used the wrong analogy. Your phone is not your girlfriend. It is a notorious polygamist, married to the system manufacturer (Apple or Googlre), also to Facebook, Uber, Yelp and any other app manufacturer. You are a mere dalliance. He will take you for all your riches (personal data) and string g you along until the device wears out. Then you'll be victimized by a newer, younger model. Enjoy it. After all, you are his special one.

  171. Ms. Irby writes: "Is it even possible for me, a regular person who cannot figure out how to program the television remote?" Is this a good forum to ask a question? Does anybody out there know how to program a television remote? Thanks in advance!

  172. Why should we bother responding to you? Could you put your phone on the line? ;-)

  173. "My phone is my favorite possession" Says it all right there. Out of so many people, places, and things in your life... it is your phone you crave most. Looks more to me like you are possessed by your phone, not the other way around. :)

  174. @Chuck Nobody in their right mind thinks of having possession of people.

  175. I love my phone, it is not the core of my existence but I have no idea what I did for the previous 65 years of life. Waze ,Text (hate letter writing and finding a mail box), google, privacy ( my life is not that interesting). At least when I get get adds they are targeted, I love fishing its great. No more mail boxes full of crap, now it can be easily deleted. Banking on line , no trying to find one open and waiting in line. Got a question ask google, no old encyclopaedias covered in dust in the basement. Friends and Family facebook, keep up with the grandkids. Always concerns but the past is the past.

  176. It's a nice pocket computer. How much or how little it runs your life is up to you. If you are a Twit-er person, sharing the details of your lunch and have 1000's of friends on FB, those are choices you make. For many others, it's a tool. Hell, I even wear...a watch. I check communications text and e-mail infrequently, but it does serve as a nice e-book while waiting at the doctor's office. As a source of information, I honestly find it clunky but workable in a pinch. It does the navigation thing better than the unit in my Jeep. It's a pocket computer, that's all. It even makes phone calls.

  177. The Times focus on privacy and the internet is simply decades too late. Where was the Times years ago, when it was clear where the internet love affair (a.k.a. corporations hiring ad agencies to convince people the internet was an inherent force for good and progress) would lead, at least to any non-self-serving (i.e. tech corporation) interest and any non-addicted individual? As with all addictions, getting the monkey off your back is very hard. I expect it will take something major, such as a large chunk of our electric grid going down or China commandeering an F-35 through embedded code in all the chips we depend on them for, before we, as a society, even begin to take the issue of the internet's inherent insecurity seriously. While people scream about the government's limited data collection, they happily give up much more information to corporations, which have absolutely no accountability to our people. Recently Best Buy wanted my fingerprint to buy a printer. I said, "Not if you want my money!" Wells Fargo wanted prints to cash a check. I said, you want me picketing? Say no! And mean it, even at a price!! Recently the Times ran a column from one of their people who claimed she was proud of her gadget addiction. To quote our Entertainer-In-Chief, "Sad!" None of the Presidential candidates is taking the underlying issue seriously, a few going as "far" as merely suggesting "laws" that are effectively unenforceable or which can be subsumed as a cost of doing business.

  178. IRBY! I love you! Happy to see you in the NYTimes! xxoo

  179. Sigh. I guess thank you for reinforcing all the reasons I won't join you. The air was full of missed opportunity? When you are on your deathbed, you will not remember a single scroll, but if you have had intense connecting conversations, you will remember those. What a waste. Its a tool, not a life.

  180. @Jana Weldon How do you know what a person will remember on their deathbed?

  181. The sky is always falling for all you people who insist technology is ruining the world. Give me a break.

  182. @Erik Olson I happened on an ancient Superman cartoon once. Electricity was the villian, it was creating earthquakes. Whatever is new is a great boogeyman. The printing press, and people (gasp!) reading novels all over was also considered to be a horrible corruption and ruining society, when that made mass market books possible. You can go back as far as there is history and read the fear and doomsaying of every single generation for the new generation's new technology.

  183. I hope you don't have to spend much time with the nicoise and still water crowd, Ms. Irby. Was the meal a mandatory formation, or did you just say 'I don't care' about my sanity when asked to be in the company of people you'd really prefer not to have to endure? As a late-adapter to the smart phone -- some might even say neo-Luddite -- I understand the hold that it potentially can have. What has saved me from that fear of losing myself in a piece of technology is that I continue to primarily use it for texts and chats, along with the occasional photo. I am about 5 or 6 iterations behind the hottest new iPhone, and only recently put a banking app on it in. Guess I'm still in that cave after all. Like you, I don't care.

  184. I briefly had a smart phone and I don't remember any possession I ever had that I hated more than that god-awful smart phone. All I needed it for was to call Lyft as I am home-bound. Instead I was bombarded with ads, Emails and other unwanted crap. I don't want to read the NY Times on a telephone! Without the smart phone I must now depend on Yellow Cabs to get around but, at least, I am no longer annoyed by a contraption that consistantly intruded into my life and which I never could figure out how to use. Some modern "conveniences" are less than convenient.

  185. I don't know what's funnier, this column or all the people in the comments section who don't understand that Irby is a comedy writer.

  186. They give toys & treats to zoo animals too. I'm sure you think it's worth it for them too.

  187. I thought there was a chance this was satire/sarcasm. Too bad. Your phone may be your lover but it doesn't love you.

  188. I have so far refused social media, and pushed back at friends who insist I "stay in touch" via fb, etc. I keep telling them that if we indeed care for each other, maybe we can pick the phone the old way and hear our voices? Or (gasp!) meet up in person? Result: People who are not really interested in me filtered themselves out. A few close ones stayed ho I cherish. One life. I want to spend out with my children, spouse, few family, colleagues and friends, who find it worthwhile to make old-fashioned closeness work. My husband and I are both computer nerds, but we limit screen time for ourselves and our kids outside work. It forces everyone to notice, love and deal with each other.

  189. @illinoisgirlgeek I so agree. I am a filmmaker and a writer, and not a Luddite. I spend a lot of time on my desktop, but zero time on social media or a cell phone. The interesting thing about NOT having a cell phone is that when I tell people I don't have one, most people are very jealous. Curiously, people are also often jealous when I say I am not on Facebook. There was a fascinating piece in the NYT about screen time and how LESS screen time is now associated with class and privilege, and vice versa. Interesting to see it contextalized this way: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/26/style/digital-divide-screens-schools.html

  190. "Breathless pursuit" the operative words for what is wrong with today's society.

  191. Seems like you would enjoy living in China. Only the "bad people" have to worry. Yet how does it feel that the government knows where you go, what you do, what you eat, where you seek medical care and what that care is.........Everyone has something to hide something in their lives they would like to keep private. Or maybe just the joy that no one should be tracking you would be sufficient to enjoy life on the front porch without any prying eyes. This is the road to subservience, it really is.

  192. I agree with the writer. Smartphones are an amazing invention that simplify information and bring it into one place. I've been on the Internet since 1987, so I'm sure it knows all about me. Granted, I'm not a spy or political dissident. Tor and encryption exists for those who want it. But the personal information I've given up is a price I'm willing to pay for the greatest development since the Gutenberg press. (And in my lifetimes) Sure, maybe they know I'm a such-and-such member of some political party and I like Springsteen, Chomsky, hiking and peanut butter cups. I have several social media accounts, but don't think I'm interesting enough to share much that's personal. I click on a targeted ad now and then, and maybe even buy what's being advertised. But I'm pretty good about tuning out what I don't want in my life. I gave up television in 2008, which was a great move for me. Now I stream what I want, no commercials, live a quieter life and read a lot more. I don't like that Customs wants to go through some of our iPhones, but to me the benefits are too great to give it all up for the sake of perfect privacy. If I wanted that I'd in a hut in the woods.

  193. Terrific essay. Made me a little queasy.

  194. If you appreciate the humor of this essay, you should get Samantha Irby's books. The funniest books I read last year. Samantha Irby is all of us.

  195. You have an absolute right to surrender your privacy. Go for it Samantha. Here's the problem: I walk down the street and I'm the only person actually there. I ride the bus and only I know what's happening outside the window. Do you know what "wool gathering" means? It's dreaming while awake - you have to let your thoughts come from inside yourself. (Now you won't have to Google it.)

  196. There are some who throw the net. Most are simply caught in the net. Unless you swim with the wireshark then you should know which you are.

  197. Me. Irby, you are not alone. There are millions of people like you and that is not a bad thing. Smartphones have mostly changed the lives for better. Rock on!

  198. Totally agree! How else am I going to transfer my consciousness into the digital realm? Climate Change you say? Well honey, if you think that you and all you friends, including the Russians and the Chinese, are doing something to save it, you should cut-back on the heroin. We can't all move our sloppy wetware into a digitized reality at once either. There are only so many avatars available at any given nano-second, minutes are so 2010. Personally I can't wait until they come up with a vaccine for it. A quick little pinch and off I go into the wide digital yonder. Never to worry about how hot it is or where my snacks are or how much I'm drinking or laundry (eeeyu!). I won't have a body anymore, well I will but it's not really a body just looks like one, and OH so awesome a body too. I got it with my Prime subscription. Next week? virtual time travel for some of that Wild West shoot'n holler'n. I can be or do anything I want. Thanks Google, Amazon, Apple et.al. See you in cyberspace.

  199. I dearly hate my I-Phone. I refer to it as my 'stupid phone'. It's not even a very good phone. Yes, it does a lot, but none of it well. Still butt dials for godsake. And forget about catching that moment on film; By the time you dig through the password, menu etc. the picture is gone. A point and shoot single purpose camera is superior in every way. I have one, yes, to survive the modern world but we only need them because we all (almost) have them. In the past, news was heard, business was conducted, messages communicated, emergencies handled. Perhaps more slowly, but perhaps better, with some thought involved with a small sliver of time to consider what to say think, or do. And we didn't have Donald Trump and the AltRight destroying us with twitter either!

  200. You can access the camera from the lock screen by swiping to the right, just so you know

  201. @Chris Morris your phone is what you make it to be. Don't blame it on an inanimate object. And, for heaven's sake, avoid twitter.

  202. My wife and I share a phone. It can make calls and do something called "texting." We have a plan where we pay by the call/text. We hate it. Our phone is a nuisance, a bother. A way for doctors and dentists to pester us about not forgetting our upcoming appointments (neither of us have missed one in our lifetimes, but there is always a first, I guess). A way to get bothered by robocalls. What we do love is our bikes, both our road bikes and our tandem (15,000 miles in the past 7 years). We love our new Toyota 4Runner which can get us to extremely remote desert destinations where we can hike. Did I mention we love hiking? 3500 miles in the past 7 years. We love our slide-in pickup camper (55,000 miles all over our country in the past 7 years). We love our local swimming pool in our retirement village, where we swim every day we can. We love our ping pong table. We love our music player because our favorite activity is ballroom dancing. What do all of the "things" we love have in common? Answer: They are "things" that my wife and I can use together. Phones? We've been on dinner cruises where both members of the couple, instead of looking at the beautiful sunset or dancing with each other, are staring at their phones. Some date. Phones are designed for people to do alone--staring at the palms of their hands. We wish they had never been invented.

  203. @Dan You obviously love your wife very much.

  204. @Dan Ping Pong rocks. You should see my serve.

  205. I agree and can't wait to retire (like you?) so I never have to look at my phone again. Retirement to me is leaving the cellphone - and laptop - behind.

  206. Too snarky. Seems juvenile.

  207. The rest of the world does not love your phone, so please just keep it to yourself.

  208. I am so lost. I gave a 28 year old human being a paper map of Los Angeles the other day, one from AAA , American Automobile Association. The human was stunned as the human had never seen a paper road map before. WE ARE SO LOST.

  209. @Peter M I NEVER get lost. Not now nor anytime in my 65 years. I broke up with a woman over this issue.