As our meeting places fall silent, save for tapping on screens, it seems we have mistaken ubiquitous connection for the real thing.
I first noticed it in a restaurant. The place was strangely quiet, and at one table a group seemed deep in prayer. Their heads were bowed, their eyes hooded and their hands in their laps. I then realised that every one, young and old, was gazing at a handheld phone. People strolled the street outside likewise, with arms crooked at right angles, necks bent and heads in potentially crippling postures. Mothers with babies were doing it. Students in groups were doing it. They were like zombies on call. There was no conversation.
Illustration by Satoshi KambayashSimon Jenkins