I observed applications coming around when facebook app came in. We kept waiting eagerly for the red notification blip around the top right blue world icon. Understanding what an app provides us for free, might cost us our focus. It might cost us our attention that could have been used for the good things to change the world. These perptual noises of apps notifications, bombarding us with their features, social commentary, and who is doing what.
Point of Distraction
Every app comes in with their own package of services, and most of them provide it for free, for the exchange of our data and behavior trackability. They usually use it to customise and serve the ads to us, keeping it more relevant to our needs, and sometimes not, if you are not using the app actively. Whenever we install an app, it comes with a default option of providing notifications on our phone, and we do have the opportunity to disable them, but we usually don’t, the notifications keeps coming in, and it keeps disturbing our conscious brain.
Intention v/s Impact
Honestly, we asked for this kind of seamlessness — everything on a metal phone, just a single click away. The power of convenience have taken over the management of the human effort. I have taken illustrations from my daily apps that I use on a routine basis.
Convenience: An app for providing directions to any of your desired destinations, with live tracking telling exactly where you are.
Affect: Have started to forget simple directions as the app contingency has increased.
Swiggy and Zomato
Convenience: Apps for delivering food from restaurants close to your place. Also, provides more details about a restaurant’s menu, rating, ambiance, and advance booking options.
Affect: I am getting more addicted to ordering food (unhealthy) anytime I crave something or looking for dopamine.
Convenience: Any product delivered to your home.
Affect: When amazon is there, why should I go out to retail shops, leading me to become a lazy person.
Uber and Ola
Convenience: Apps for nondisruptive cab services on demand so we can reach anywhere we want to.
Affect: Again, I seem to forget basic directions, or maybe this is just me because I am bad at remembering directions.
Convenience: A collection of Apps for socially interacting with your friends, to be aware what they are doing and how their day is going on. Another smart tool for marketers to target their consumers for advertisements and create content.
Affect: I am used to getting compared and being socially validated, whether from my peers or any other stranger.
Convenience: An app that cures and simultaneously teaches you english within seconds, whether you are a writing professional, writing down emails or putting up random statuses on Facebook.
Affect: I tend to forget a lot of complex words and their spellings as dependency increased over the autocorrect feature.
In this era, the smart ones suggest to take a digital detox or take a time out or stop using social media for mental peace. But isn’t digital era something that we asked for? When this digital world was non-existential, we dreamt about it, talked about its future, and how amazing it will be. But somehow, it backlashed on us. We did accept and incorporated it into our lives as humans are habitual. If we do something consistently, we become used to it. That consistency converts into our needs. Example: Smartphones.
What I think is that balance can resolve everything. Acknowledging a proper balance between using the human body and using the apps with stability gives us more power to put our foot on both sides of the bridge. The digital revolution indeed came in for help and has been transformational for all of us, but how it can impact human behavior and how we predispose and percept things for others is just mind-boggling.
Giving more power to things like AI and machine learning can reduce human effort, but they will be a tendency to take over humanity and rule. I am aware that it looks delusional but just look around you. Half of the apps are doing your work for you, and half of them are already listening and gathering data about you in order to thrive better.
Find a balance between humanity and technology, and there you will find your pinnacle of life.