Culture

Ashton Kutcher tries to prove people can't live without their phones

Technically Incorrect: In a new Motorola ad, Kutcher tests how long people can go without touching their phones. It's all in the service of, well, selling you a phone of course.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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A clever experiment? Or not very?

Motorola/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It's like picking your nose, but maybe worse.

It's a compulsion, something that you do unconsciously. It's something that you need to do. Could it actually be a love thing?

I'm talking, of course, about checking your phone and touching it. And one phone manufacturer clearly has sympathy with your plight. Motorola co-opted great investor and occasional actor Ashton Kutcher to show how obsessed people are with their phones.

In a new ad, the Lenovo ambassador (Motorola is now a part of Lenovo) asks real human beings to participate in an experiment. He asks them to place their hands in marked areas on a table and keep them there. Their cell phones are placed between their hands, seemingly for no reason.

This is all based on Motorola's theory that people are actually in love with their phones.

The whole shtick here is that the guinea piglets believe there's some sort of fancy experiment going on. In fact, they're all being tested only on how long they can go without touching their phones.

You can imagine the results. However, is it much of an experiment? These people are stuck there with nothing to do and then Kutcher and his friend text them and call them. Is it any surprise they end up wanting to see who's calling?

We know that cell phone obsession has reached clinical levels. Why, 20 percent of Americans claim they use their phones in church.

But none of us who twitch every time we hear a vibration or a puny piano tune that informs us of contact believes we can do much about it. We accept that this is our world. Why else would the Apple Watch exist, even if it makes us look frightfully silly when we answer a call on it?

But what remedy is Motorola offering? A phone. Its Moto X Pure Edition is hands-free. What a breakthrough. You won't have to touch your phone.

Does this mean you'll be slightly less or even more in love with it?

For Kutcher, listening to your phone signifies a better relationship that touching it.

I implore psychologists everywhere to express their views.