A former Fox News and The View host ponders the ramifications of cellphones and other technology in her personal life.
It’s hard to conceive, but there was a time when cellphones, tablets, and other electronic devices were not an integral part of every waking moment, a time when people looked each other in the eye while having a conversation and didn’t respond immediately to every ping and buzz they heard. Bila (Outnumbered: Chronicles of a Manhattan Conservative, 2011) remembers those simpler days, and she set out to recapture them by eliminating her Pavlovian response to her cellphone and its constant notifications that somebody or something demanded her attention at that very moment. “While I know we can’t go backward,” she writes, “I’d sure like to move forward in a better way.” To that end, she shares stories of her phone and social media addiction and how this insatiable need to respond affected her deeply, many times negatively, as she missed out on sunsets and countless other real-world experiences. The author branches out beyond cellphones to discuss the implications for online gamers whose virtual lives interfere with their real ones, how Facebook “memories” can be harmful, and how robots have been integrated into so many aspects of life, including areas where they can make life-or-death decisions. Since nearly all of us use our phones constantly, Bila’s tale will appeal to a wide variety of readers. Though she doesn’t provide any groundbreaking research that hasn’t already been covered in other books, the narrative is a good reminder that in many cases, what we take in is trivial information while the important stuff continues all around us—and we often miss it.
A well-intentioned, personal presentation of how to find our way back from “the thickets of the tech jungle.”