I was having lunch with my wife at a restaurant yesterday and we noticed that despite the presence of many people there, we could hardly hear any chit-chatting at all. Suddenly we felt awkward to talk about anything personal, fearing that even a hiccup would sound like a loud sneeze. My wife, ever the curious one, wondered and looked around. She nearly burst out laughing.
I had to turn around and see what was so funny. It seemed that everybody were busy with their handphones or ipad, etc. Some were on FB or Twitter; others were probably chatting or playing games. Some tables had at least three people around it, but nobody looked at each other at all. Even the little ones were engrossed with a tablet. It was so eerie. Suddenly, I had a vision of the future.
Will it get any worse than this? Imagine – living without the need for verbal interaction. People gather around, yet everyone’s mind and soul are focussed on their gadgets. Almost a zombie land.
With hand phone getting smarter these days (that’s why they are called ‘smartphones’), people will be more hooked to their phones than ever. I don’t know the statistic here in Malaysia but in the US (according to Mobile Mindset Study) - 58% of smartphone users cannot live without checking their phone for an hour. The study also stated that 73% of them feel panic, and even men get EMO People check their phones everywhere: in bed, in the bathroom, during meals, while driving, and some even check their phone during church on Sunday. The percentages are especially high in the 18 to 34 age group.
As we continue with our lunch, I couldn’t help thinking that maybe someday people will come to your house for ‘Hari Raya Open House’ or ‘Birthday Party’, eat and then leave without a single meaningful conversation. Maybe just a simple “Selamat Hari Raya” greeting or “Happy Birthday” wishes and then everybody will resume their relationship with their handphones. I certainly see such future upon us. Well, that future is SILENT!
- The Silent Future