Discussion-Can less technology make you feel more human?

We discuss mindful tech use a lot on this forum, We also discuss how technology has upended the human experience on our blog.
Recently, someone sent me this article & I found it very interesting. I know for many community members here, it’s nothing new, but we do have some newer members who are brand new to the mindful tech world, so I thought I would share this.

For those of you who use feature phones/dumb phones as a daily driver- what’s the first thing you noticed when you switched?

For those who are still pivoting between smartphones & feature phones, what’s keeps you going back to the smartphone?

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My daily driver is the Sunbeam Wireless F1 Orchid, which runs on what Sunbeam calls BasicOS – Sunbeam’s Google-apps-free version on of Android.

  • If “smartphone” means that I can install more apps, then the F1 Orchid is not a smartphone.

  • If “smartphone” means that it runs on iOS or on any flavor of Android, then the F1 Orchid is a smartphone.

The first thing that I noticed when I switched from a Google Android phone to the F1 Orchid is how I kept catching myself looking at the Orchid for a source of distraction. The Orchid’s only source of distraction for me is its weather functionality, but checking weather on the Orchid consumes only a minute or two of my time, and only once or twice a day.

I subsequently bought a “like-new” Google Pixel 4a and immediately de-Googled it with LineageOS. It has no SIM card, and moving the SIM card from the Orchid to the Pixel is do-able but tedious. So, I find that I pivot to the Pixel, which is connected to the Internet via WiFi, for only three goals: (1) Session messenger (used with one friend); (2) AntennaPod (for podcasts); (3) Aegis (for 2FA).

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Thank you for sharing a link to that article, @urszula! I enjoyed the writing. What the author calls “the Wonder Killer” is the same as what I like to call “the Conversation Killer” – the act of looking up something on a smartphone to address something in a conversation, as if that HELPS to keep the conversation moving but in reality KILLS the conversation. Many of my friends and I now will point out aloud when someone kills a conversation by doing this.

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@kirkmahoneyphd I wrote about the lost art of conversation for our blog:

This past Saturday, I attended a “Coronation” luncheon at a friend’s house where we watched the Coronation of Charles III and Camilla. Someone mentioned abdication and we discussed the abdication of King Edward VIII, so that he could marry Wallis Simpson. No one could agree as to the dates & whether or not he was ACTUALLY King or he just gave his place up to his brother. And guess what, many people pulled up their smartphones & started looking up the specifics (which didn’t really matter in the conversation) and once those phones were out that pretty much killed the conversation.

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Your anecdote perfectly illustrates the “Conversation Killer” concept.

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@kirkmahoneyphd The thing that I wonder about most often is if people do this because we REALLY care about the specific details which they are looking up or is it just an excuse to get on their smartphone. I mean, the fact that we couldn’t decide if he abdicated in Jan 1936 or December 1936, didn’t really matter in the conversation. The discussion was about giving up the THRONE for the woman you love.

^ Brilliant. I vote for this reason!


@kirkmahoneyphd That’s addiction.


I personally believe that, like with everything, balance is key. It’s no doubt that overindulging in the use of technology has negative consequences on our well-being and leads us to loose our human connection with each other.

On the other hand, technological advancement is not really something we can (and should) stray from. There are countless benefits to the use of technology, such as information becoming more readily available to all, including people from less fortunate countries, giving them access to the same kind of knowledge as everyone else.

So where is the silver lining? Technology is a tool for us to use, and like with every other tool, over-reliance on it in the long run, will lead us to impair our human faculties (can you imagine an individual not being able to read a map for instance, having used digital navigation all their life?).

All in all, it really comes down to the responsible and mindful use of technology - using it when we really need it (to call our parents on the weekend?) and finding ways to balance technology use, with other more natural forms of entertainment such as taking a walk in the park or spending time with the people/pets we love.

One final though that came to my mind in terms of responsible technology use: I think a great practice would be for each one of us to give ourselves a window of time each day, when we allow ourselves to interact with our phone/computer. For instance: set an alarm clock that will notify you when you have used your phone for 15 minutes. Allow yourself four 15-minute blocks of time when you interact with your phone and go enjoy your life outside these windows of time! :slight_smile:


I’m (again) gravitating towards a two-phone model.

I find that on the smartphone it’s just too easy to end up in the loop of checking instant messages on various apps and looping through news apps to check if something important happened since the last time I checked (7 minutes ago or so).

Then again, smartphones are really nifty for many things like finding public transport routes, multifactor authentication to banks, and even being able to take the occasional work call (on a video call platform) on-the-go is liberating.

I don’t really need a smartphone for e.g.

  • while walking our dog, checking for messages while waiting for her to return from a ditch she’s investigating
  • checking news headlines while waiting for the burger at a lunch restaurant

Let’s see how this goes this time, but I envision possibilities like being reachable on the dumbphone while the smartphone could be in another room, left at home, or if I take it with me, it could remain off until I actually need it.

(Alternatives to this two-phone setup could include options like a dumbphone with a tablet, or a dumbphone that can be tethered to a laptop. You wouldn’t pull out a laptop while walking a dog, would you?)


I work on the two- phone model & I have to say, it’s been working out quite well.

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That is a brilliant rhetorical question!

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I do think less technology makes me feel more human.
I am still going back to a smartphone for the occasional group text related to school, and one of my kids’ activities require class booking on a smartphone app. No workaround for both. WhatsApp and checking the weather, which I used to do all the time, are now on my computer.
Nowadays when I’m out on short errands or with my entire family, I don’t bring a phone anymore. It is very nice to not have anything to check while waiting around. Just sit and be present. So I have concluded that most of the time a phone on me is unnecessary.


On one hand, I think we are, now, increasingly more dependent on technological devices to guide us. We’re basically handing over a lot of the “thinking” stuff to technology. You know, the thinking, remembering, and analyzing part of human existence. Those are the things keep us sharp & make us human. However relying too much on technology is kinda dumbing us down (just my opinion).

However, just like many people mentioned- technology does make things easier. From keeping in touch with people who live all over the world, to maps & translations. I just came back from Georgia (where very few people speak English) & without Google Translate I would have sat down on the curb & cried. LOL

This is an interesting video on this topic:

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Conversely, if you become less human, some intelligent people will ensure you continue out of this world.

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Look at what I’ve come across: Opinion | My A.I. Lover - The New York Times
Chilling. :cold_face:

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@aleksander Have you heard about Replika AI?

That’s kind of what the link I posted is about :stuck_out_tongue:

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I know, but Replika has been around for some time. I’ve been bothered by it for awhile and I was actually wondering WHY would anyone want to connect with something like this. After reading the article, I’m convinced that we are in an epidemic of loneliness, like I wrote about it in my blog: