Observing the relationship we have with our smartphones is what got me interested in my next project, Alone Together. The more I researched the subject, the more the epidemic became apparent; professionals, within the technology industry, had seen a direct correlation between our relationships with our devices and how we behave with others.
Recent documentaries have had ex-silicone valley employees explain how social media companies, 'Suck as much time out of your life as possible, then sell that attention to advertisers'. They achieve this by tracking our usage on smartphones, which is then analyzed in real-time. Artificial Intelligence then uses that to adapt what we see on our screen to keep us coming back for more.
Companies such as Facebook, who also owns Instagram, create 'short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops' that can be associated to the science behind gambling, you keep coming back in the hope of winning as dopamine seems not to be signalling pleasure but indicating how close you get to the reward and encouraging another attempt, which in the smartphone world could be a new notification.
Today we have a smartphone to attend the constant cycle of notifications, which can delude our common-sense and dignity. In Chongqing, China, they have opened cell phone only lanes for pedestrians so they don't bump into people who might be swiping right as they walk along the sidewalk.
This disconnection of reality isn't limited to any one place; I started on the streets of my hometown Manchester, which quickly spread further afield. I realized this wasn't a localized phenomenon but a global one, and as time passed, the realisation the extremes people were going to creating 'content' drove the use of smartphones even further.