Roundup: Should we ditch smartphones?

Read to the end for Ridley Scott not doing a George Lucas

Roundup: Should we ditch smartphones?
Photo: Unsplash/camilo jimenez

For the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about a piece by Joanna Nelius in The Verge. For the past year, she’s been using the Light Phone 2, one of those barebones smartphones that has no app store and very limited functionality. Sure, it took some getting used to, but she described a motivation I think a lot of people can relate to.

If I felt anxious or bored, reaching for my smartphone was an automatic reaction, to the point where I sometimes didn’t realize my phone was in my hand until I was 10 cat videos deep on Instagram. I’m the kind of person who likes to retain control over my faculties, so that terrified me. By making the Light Phone my primary phone, I hoped to separate myself from easy access to social media and change my relationship with how and when I accessed the internet.

I don’t know about you, but I have a similar tendency that I don’t particularly like. I’ve been intrigued by the Light Phone and similar concepts for a while, but always avoided taking the plunge because of a feeling I simply need a smartphone because of my job, the travel I do for it, and how smartphone ownership increasingly feels like a necessity in our societies.

Nelius’ piece makes me reflect on whether it’s time to try it. She writes that she still keeps a smartphone in her bag, and can connect it to data through a hotspot from the Light Phone if she ever needs it in a pinch. That’s a potential workaround. I’m already in the process of making my way through my watch lists and cancelling most of my streaming services. So maybe that’s the next step.

Anyway, this week in the roundup there are all your usual recommended reads, labor updates, and other news you might have missed. There are some pieces in there about notable tech company quarterly earnings this past week (like Tesla and Meta), as well as some interesting stuff on how Europe is taking a slightly different approach to China than the US.

Over on Tech Won’t Save Us, I interviewed Meghan O’Gieblyn about the roots of transhumanism and how it secularized a lot of ideas that were initially taken from Christian theology. Instead of achieving the resurrection through spiritual means, transhumanists see it as a project of science and technology.

Also, just a head’s up that I’ll be speaking at AMRO in Linz, Austria on May 8 and at re:publica in Berlin on May 27. I should have some more events to announce in the coming weeks.

Have a great week!