Many of us have had the experience of arriving in an unfamiliar city and needing to get to a specific destination — whether it’s checking in at a hotel, meeting a friend at a local brewery, or navigating to a meeting on time.
With a few clicks of the smartphone, the destination is inputted into a navigational app, with customized route preferences to avoid traffic, tolls and, in cities like San Francisco, even inclines. Anxiety abated, one drives to one’s destination via voice prompts and the occasional illicit glance at the constantly updating map.
But, after having arrived safely, there is the vague awareness that we don’t know how we got there. We can’t remember the landmarks along the way, and, without our handheld device, certainly couldn’t get back to our origin point. That raises the larger question: Are the navigational capacities of our smartphones making us worse navigators?