Phones Untied Have Become Dangerous

Jim Mason
2 min readApr 3

We have helped them become symbiotic and even parasitic to our minds and bodies

Photo by Eirik Solheim on Unsplash

Time was when telephones were unintelligent devices attached by cords to our walls. I joke that phones should be kept tied up like they used to be, because of the dangerous animals that they are.

But, slowly at first and then very rapidly we enabled them to become mobile, portable, and much more capable in their sensory, communication, and decision-making capacities. Today, calling them “phones” is an anachronism.

They are just one prominent example of how changes in our technologies have changed and continue to change our lives as a species, for better and for worse. Our domestication of fire improved our ability to survive in cold conditions, changed our diet, and enabled us to extract metals from rocks. The invention of the wheel, or more accurately the lubricated axle, enabled us to increase our mobility and our ability to transport heavy objects. The invention of the printing press with removable type enabled widespread use of written language. Our learning to control electricity and the invention of electrical devices has led to radical changes in our human lives, as has the invention of the internal combustion engine and the automobile.

In each case we have become so dependent on our new technologies that we find it almost impossible to do without them. In each case, also, the radical changes in our lives that they initiated were not immediately apparent.

But the small, powerful computing devices that many of us now carry with us seem likely to relieve and replace so many of the mental functions that our brains were formerly required to perform that most of our grandchildren will become unable to survive without them. We are evolving into cyborgs, both physically and mentally.

Jim Mason

I study language, cognition, and humans as social animals. You can support me by joining Medium at