This cartoonist is critical of smartphones, but thinks about having one ‘all the time’

liam walsh cartoonist

Our growing obsession with smartphones, and technology in general, has been negatively highlighted in different forms of media for a while. Sometimes it’s comedic, like showing someone behaving badly wearing Google Glass, or more serious like this popular short film, where smartphone users are chastised for not paying attention to the world around them.

New Yorker cartoonist Liam Francis Walsh is also concerned about our relationship with smartphones, and has made it the subject of several cartoons that have attracted considerable attention.

Liam Walsh Cartoon New YorkerYou can see an example of his work above. The cartoon depicts a man wearing a cone usually reserved for a dog that just left the vet. It’s designed to stop it from licking its stitches following an operation, but here it’s being used to stop the man from looking at his phone. Another cartoon shows everyone with a smartphone in one hand, and a cane usually found in the hands of the blind in the other. It’s clever stuff, and a little too true.

It’s all about consideration

Liam Walsh Cartoon 2 New YorkerWe spoke with Walsh, who describes himself as a late adopter of tech. Wondering if he sees our app-filled culture as the decay of civilization? He doesn’t.

“People said the same things about how the novel would kill poetry, and TV would kill reading,” said Walsh, and neither of which came true, obviously. “It’s an ongoing challenge for us, and we need to figure out how to embrace change and make sure we use technology in a responsible way.”

It was a pragmatic response, but in our conversation he did warn about the dangers of concentrating on our phones, echoing another cartoon showing people looking at the pictures they’d taken of a landmark, instead of the landmark itself. And he compared checking social networks, or shopping online, while having a conversation over Skype to “pulling out a book and reading it while your best friend is pouring his heart out over a beer.”

Walsh doesn’t hate tech, but recognizes it has both good and bad sides.

“It’s about consideration,” said Walsh, who wouldn’t be caught dead texting while driving or messing around with his phone at dinner, but does think phones are great “for posting pictures of your kids, and for telling me where’s good to hang out in your city, too.” Just, again, don’t look at them during a meeting or while you’re friend is telling you he’s getting a divorce.

It probably won’t come as a surprise to learn Walsh doesn’t own a smartphone, but he admits he thinks about getting one all the time, saying it’s, “an exercise in impulse control and self discipline!”

Though he spends his time pointing out the shortcomings of society’s smartphone obsession, Walsh sounds like the best qualified to actually own one.

(Photo: Dunn County News)

Smart Home

Restaurants may soon have chefs who know all about you before you walk in the door

At Seattle’s Addo, chef Eric Rivera gives pop-up-style restaurants a permanent home, and he leverages everything from Instagram to a ticketing service to bring in customers.
Mobile

Updating to Apple’s iOS 12 will make your iPhone a whole lot smarter

iOS 12, the latest version of Apple’s iOS, is officially here. We took it for a spin to check out its new noteworthy features, and if it truly changes our smartphone habits for the better.
Mobile

Find out how Apple's new iPhones measure up to the most bezel-less designs

As the smartphone industry marches toward a bezel-less future, we compare the shrinking bezels on the latest and greatest devices. Find out which manufacturers have the smallest bezels on their smartphone as we measure them side by side.
Home Theater

In surprise announcement, OnePlus says it’s going to make a smart TV

Smartphone manufacturer OnePlus says it will release a smart TV. CEO Pete Lau will head up a new division of the company, and has hinted the TV will be simple to use, and will feature artificial intelligence.
Photography

Joby’s tiny tripods double as selfie sticks and hide four different modes

The Joby TelePod models are more than just compact tripods -- they also double as hand grips, selfie sticks, and tabletop tripods. Designed to accommodate smaller gear like smartphones and lightweight mirrorless, the tripods use a unique…
Wearables

WatchOS 5 comes with tons of new features -- here are our favorites

Months after Apple announced its latest software at WWDC, you can now download WatchOS for the Apple Watch. WatchOS 5 brings a number of new features including new watch faces and improved health tracking.
Social Media

Instagram could separate hashtags for less annoying posts

Just what features will Instagram add next? One enthusiast reverse engineered the app to uncover several potential features the app could be testing, including a dedicated spot for hashtags and geofencing.
Photography

To post or not to post? Here's when you should put up a picture on the 'Gram

Let's be honest, the majority of us care about the popularity of our Instagram posts. There is a sweet spot, however, if you're looking to boost the number of likes and comments you receive. Here's what you need to know.
Mobile

Our favorite tips and tricks to help you master your Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Apple's not the only game in town when it comes to productivity tablets. Samsung's Galaxy Tab S4 has all the features you'll need to get work done. Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4.
Computing

Smart Reply not smart enough? Desktop Gmail users can soon opt out

Google will soon give desktop Gmail users the ability to opt out of Smart Reply. If you'd prefer to compose a short email the old-fashioned way, you can do so without seeing the auto-generated suggestions in the future.
Social Media

Instagram feature that lets you reshare others’ posts may be on its way

Despite constant calls from many of its billion-plus users, Instagram has always refused to offer an option that lets Instagrammers reshare others' posts that appear on their feed. New reports suggest this could be about to change.
Mobile

The iPhone XS and XS Max are now available -- here's how to get them

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally taken the wraps off of the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now that the phones are out, you might be wondering how you can get them for yourself.
Mobile

The Apple Watch Series 4 is now available -- here's where to buy it

The new Apple Watch Series 4 is here. Besides the Apple store, the company's next-generation smartwatch is be available for purchase through all four major carriers. Here's where you can get yours.
Mobile

Huawei is not-so-subtly trolling Friday’s iPhone launch

Apple launches the iPhone XS range to the public on Friday, but Huawei is out in force to remind the public what they could be missing out on (Hint: It's the Mate 20 Pro) by choosing Apple's latest smartphone.