History may be classified differently in the future.

That period to come may be forever changed because of the now-ubiquitous smartphone. Until then, man had been born intelligent (pre-phone). Then he got his hands on that dastardly invention and everything changed (post-phone).

The new timelines might not apply in India, however, because it might confuse its people. India’s the only place in the world where you can bring forward an event (prepone) instead of putting it off till later (postpone).

Got it?

Although IBM is credited with the invention of the first smartphone in 1984, the erosion of human intelligence only really began with the creation of the IPhone circa 2007pp.

And we Malaysians feature prominently in the intelligence stakes.

A recent global study on smartphone addiction by Canada’s McGill University had young people in China hooked the most, followed respectively, by Saudi Arabia and, well-well, Malaysia.

In China right now, it’s the news about Winter Olympics’ gold medalist Eileen Gu that’s keeping her fellow citizens riveted to their mobiles, although it might well be news about President Xi’s latest Dictum for the Day tomorrow.

Although details of the latest executions in Saudi Arabia used to be ghoulishly fashionable to SMS around, things may have changed. It appears that the recent opening of selected public beaches to mixed bathing has attracted more smartphone toting crowds than Michael Buble ever achieved in his dreams.

Malaysia’s case might be a little more complicated. The citizenry generally use their smartphones for the usual necessities like where to get the best nasi lemak (Kampung Baru) or which roads to avoid on a Friday evening (all of them).

But it’s fake news that’s mostly being created and spread over smartphones these days. Ever since Donald Trump invented the phrase circa 2016pp and became its biggest purveyor – “Wind farms cause cancer” – Malaysians have taken to the phenomenon with the enthusiasm ducks normally reserve for water.

I got one yesterday. Someone sent me a news item that claimed that the Barisan Nasional had chosen the country’s First Felon aka Najib “the Fib” Razak as its Premier-in-Waiting should it win the next general election.

Why wouldn’t I believe it?

The current premier had invited him to the office and fawned over him. So had the various BN component parties while Umno leaders who should have known better – Khairy J or Mohd Hassan, for instance – prudently maintained a deafening silence. And all this in the face of hero-worshipping crowds who insisted the Jibman was “the Boss who needn’t feel shame.”

Then I remembered he’d been found guilty of monumental fraud by four judges, fined RM210 million and had only an appeal left. And I thought: even the BN can’t be that stupid, can it?

It was a good and pertinent question. Even so, I checked, and it wasn’t anywhere else so the answer to my question had to be, no.

Still, the obsession with smartphones is becoming ridiculous. It’s so bad that it’s getting more important than many things we hold dear including, well, holding Dear herself!

Standout statistic: in a recent US/Europe survey, 61% of respondents indicated that Wifi was impossible to give up, even more than for sex (58%).