The increasing ubiquitousness of 3G and smartphones that give people constant access to Facebook, Twitter, email and Wikipedia is starting to backfire, according to a thoughtful piece in Sunday’s New York Times.
“The future of travel, I’m reliably told, lies in ‘black-hole resorts,’ which charge high prices precisely because you can’t get online in their rooms,” writes author Pico Iyer, who also invokes internet rescue camps in Asia and Freedom, the software that forcibly disconnects you from the internet. Overconnectedness seems to be a pet topic of the Times’s–“For people of a certain technological proclivity, this has become the new multitasking: to live simultaneously in the physical world and in their smartphones,” the paper wrote in a trendy piece about young Brooklynites called “Out on the town, always on.”
But Sunday’s story struck a chord; it’s being rapidly passed around with approving comments on Facebook and Twitter, natch. It is the no. 1 most-emailed item on the NYT’s website. Betabeat has already seen it twice this morning.
The average American spends 8 1/2 hours in front of a screen, the story says, thanks to computers, smartphones and the 24-7 television news cycle. The story ends with the writer holing up in a Benedictine monastery; sounds nice. But ubiquitous computing is only in its nascent stages. Even the anarchist-leaning Burning Man arts and music festival in the middle of the Nevada desert recently got WiFi; just wait until New York City is blanketed with it.