We are quickly approaching a world where boredom may become a thing of the past.
Smartphones give us near limitless access to computer games, funny videos, and an ocean of conversation partners. In other words, what we understand as boredom might seem strange or downright silly to future generations.
The idea of having "nothing to do" may be an antiquated concept. Indeed, a Pew poll released last week finds that nearly all 18-to-29-year-olds use a smartphone to avoid boredom.
"Younger users stand out especially prominently when it comes to using their phones for two purposes in particular: avoiding boredom, and avoiding people around them," the report concludes. "Fully 93% of 18 - 29 year old smartphone owners used their phone at least once to avoid being bored, with respondents in this age group reporting doing so during the previous hour in an average of 5.4 surveys over the one-week study period."
That last sentence is especially striking. The likelihood of encountering a person doing anything at a given time, even common actions like eating or meeting with another person, is actually quite slim. For instance, I only eat once or twice a day; I have meetings for about an hour or so throughout my day. So, on balance, if a survey asks if I "ate something" or "met with a person" in the last hour, the chances of the answer being "no" are higher than it being "yes."