She stared at the crowd in front of her. Everyone, every single one of them was on their phone. And she stood on the stage, also on her phone. But she aimed to change this situation before the end of this session. She opened the TedText app on her phone.
"Fourteen years ago" She typed, "I was born. Now, that might be a normal occasion for the most of you, I mean, everyone else here was born sometime ago too right?"
She paused, as she waited for the audience to read the first text, and looked at the spectators for their reaction. There was none. After a while, she went on.
"But, this birth would change the face of humanity. You see, I was born without a voice box, or a Larynx. Quick science lesson, a voice box is where sound comes from, like when you fall, the sobbing sound comes from your voice box. Anyways, back to this, I don't have one. I can't make any sound."
"But, this wasn't a birth defect, because otherwise, I was perfectly healthy. No, this was something else entirely. This was the start of the phase of human evolution."
She opened the slideshow option, and put on the first slide of her presentation, a slide with 'Evolution' written on top, and the phases on the bottom. At the end, she inserted a photo of her empty pharynx.
"Now, why do I hate this so much? I mean, everyone knows all you need to communicate is a cellphone, and that is the standard gift anyone gets on their second birthday. Why do I want a voice so badly? It's not like anyone uses it any more."
"Well, that's the whole problem. No one uses their voice, and now that mine's gone, now that I haven't got the chance to experience what it feels like to scream into my pillow when I'm angry, or what it feels like to laugh when you see a clown, I miss it. I miss having a voice, I miss something I never materially had."
"You might not miss being able to talk, in fact, you might not even know what a few of the words I'm typing right now mean, because for most of you, you've never done it, while the rest of you have just grown accustomed to this new age we're living in."
She turned the slideshow to the next slide, where she had pasted thumbnails of various documentaries on the concerns regarding technology, most filmed before the Evolution.
"This photos on your screen are thumbnails of many documentaries filmed in the 2000's. It was about the negative side of social media, effects that we all think are positive today. I watched a few of the documentaries, and then further went to watch something called a 'TedTalk' given by one of the documentary's focuses, Tristan Harris. Did you know what a TedTalk is? It's the original form of a TedText, where the Texter, or who I am now is actually a speaker, and they talk to an audience who are not on their phones, and who are instead looking to the stage, at the presentation played."
She turned the presentation to her next slide.
"We live in 2160, and humans have been around for far more years than that. In 2020, when the social dilemna was released, people dreamed of having AI and technology as a part of their lives. They believed it would change everything. And, it did. Just not in the way they expected."
"In 2020, they were in awe of everything AI could do. They could find organ donors, reconnect families, find missing children, do so much through it. They thought the world would become perfect. But, at the same time, there were already problems during their time. Suicide rates in teens and pre-teens surged, and plastic surgery due to snapchat filters was an actual disorder. Yes, that might sound like a common happening today, I mean the only plastic surgeries that happen are those done by Snapbots. But, at that time, it was a sincere concern. Yet, they tried their best. And then, the Evolution happened. No one spoke after COVID, and no one has ever since. People started communicating only through their phones, using text and emoji's, and there was no use of speaking anymore"
"But we need our voices. We depend on it. I read a quote, by an person who lived many years ago. They put it very simply "If you don't speak up, don't expect to be heard."
"Pretty soon, another poor child is going to be born with supersight, or longer fingers, because humans evolve. Humans evolve to adapt. That's how God created us. And that's an inevitable happening. But humans shouldn't be evolving like this, not in such a way that will result in our ultimate demise!"
"Now, after you read this, turn off your phones, and look around. Notice the colour of your girlfriend's hair. Count your breaths. Step away from the gadget."
She hoped someone would stop, someone would read the message and switch off their phones. But, no one did. She sighed in her head and typed in what she dreaded.
"Thank you for your time. I hope you learnt something valuable from this TedText. And if any of you were wondering, my name is Clara."
With that, she switched off her phone, automatically closing her presentation. The audience, still on their phones, got up and moved out, bumping into each other, but paying no attention. It was a social norm now, to bump into someone else. And no one cared about it anymore. Their eyes were only for their phones.