Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Smarten up and get new phone that talks back

How did we live before smartphones? Some of you, I know, don't have them. I've seen you staggering around the streets looking bewildered. It's a shame for you. Sometimes, wide-eyed and foaming at the mouth, you grab decent citizens by the lapels and beg: "Please help me!"

But there's nothing we can do. You didn't keep up with the latest trends in gadgetry, and now you're paying the price.

You've become a technological peasant, and you cannot check your emails while out shopping, like normal people do.

On the other hand, perhaps you're the last free men and women, refusing to chain yourselves to what is effectively a tag that allows others to know where you are at any given time and keeps you connected to a world that tries relentlessly to con and ensnare you.

Presumably too, you don't face the dilemma of whether to have sex or keep your smartphone.

To be fair to normal people, they don't have that dilemma either, unless they are asked it in a daft survey.

The survey had something to do with Vodafone.

It claimed that a third of British persons would give up sex to keep their smartphones.

Even more disturbingly, 63% said they would give up chocolate, which is incredible.

And 70% said they'd give up booze - for a week. After a fortnight, one imagines the smartphone would be surrendered with gusto.

The prominence the smartphone takes in our lives was further emphasised when research, by the University of Head -amp; Shoulders, found that men have swapped newspapers for smartphones when visiting the latrine to sit down.

Personally, I've never understood this long sit down on the loo malarkey. As you might imagine, I keep books of poetry near the pot, but am lucky if I get through one stanza before my breeks are back up, handies washed, and I'm skipping back into the non-lavatorial world singing "Powder your nose with sunshine!". But, hey, maybe that's just me.

And still the research pours forth. In Americashire, they found that whole colonies of bacteria lounge around on your smartphone including, for some strange reason, a group associated with diseases in fish.

I couldn't follow the rest of the narrative, though my eye was drawn to a throwaway line about bugs that cause gonorrhea living in your pocket. Sheesh!

However, before you throw away your pockets, these bad boys are outnumbered by good bacteria, who wage war on our behalf. Little heroes.

If they weren't so teeny, I'd pin a medal on each and every one of them.

I won't be pinning medals, however, on the makers of Evi, a new personal assistant for smartphones that's supposed to answer your questions, even when not posed in Hollywood American or Home Counties English.

I tried "What age is the prime minister?", which it heard as "What date is the prime minister?", and directed me to an Australian website.

When I said "Please help me", it advised me to ask a question like "convert 80 grams into ounces". What the hell am I going to ask that for? Eighty grams, my eye!

Still, at least I have the option, unlike these poor schmucks without smartphones, who have no way of knowing the date of the Australian prime minister.

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