In 2011, Marc Andreesen, one of the world’s top tech investors, penned a piece in the the WSJ titled “Why Software Is Eating The World”. The thesis is that cheap computing, combined with massive connectivity, and billions holding a powerful pocket-size computer, will change how business is done in almost every industry. Business and government will spend billions of dollars trying to connect with us on our smart phones on a regular basis.
Most of us have already been effected by this change as we check our emails, texts and social messages many times a day. And as I recently told my Rav, it will only get worse as more and more of our daily and business lives with require the use of our smartphones.
One specific area of concern is smartphone use in Shuls. Although most people in my neighborhood successfully silence their smartphones during the silent Shomoneh Esrai, it’s very tempting to sneak a peak to see if a notification of interest has arrived during davening down times. An increase in this seemingly harmless activity leads to more distraction in our extremely difficult task of focused davening.
In our troubled times we need tefillah to keep connected to Hashem, to strengthen our emunah and to request help for our troubles. Increasing our distractability is not the direction that makes sense. I think we need a set of sensible guidelines to prevent software from eating davening. Stay tuned.