While progress in improving human literacy rates has stalled since 2000, leaving 758 million adults worldwide illiterate, a new report predicts that technological advances will soon enable over 2 billion smartphones to read and write at a higher standard than humans within the next ten years.
It is anticipated by the report that the current rate of technological progress will see the literacy level of one in seven American adults overtaken within the next ten years.
The report highlights a trend in which humans are resorting more and more into dependence upon their mobile phones.
Smartphone addiction has become a new phenomenon as phones govern increasing areas of an individual’s life.
Reported symptoms of smartphone dependence include loneliness and depression, anxiety, attention issues, problems with creative problem solving and sleep disturbance.
In their report, ‘2027: Human vs. Machine Literacy’ the global campaign Project Literacy and Professor Brendan O’Connor, University of Massachusetts Amherst, called for society to commit to upgrading its people at the same rate as upgrading its technology.
Machine literacy already exceeds the literacy abilities of 3% of the US population who are non-literate.
“‘Machine reading’ is not close to mastering the full nuances of human language and intelligence, despite this idea capturing the imagination of popular culture in movies such as ‘Her’. However advances in technology mean that it is likely ‘machines’ will achieve literacy abilities exceeding those of one in seven Americans within the next decade” said Professor O’Connor.
“I was interested in exploring this topic as while there has been a lot of discussion around machine learning and machine reading, directly comparing machine literacy with human literacy really highlights the dichotomy between the two.”
Tips for combating smartphone overuse include planning more social events without a phone present, planning parts of the day when it is okay and not okay to use a phone and discovering the triggers for compulsive phone use.