Apps – Taking Over Our Lives?

This weekend a friend of mine told me about this app that I had to download where you can take a picture and “fatify” yourself. Pretty stupid, I know. However, it got me thinking, there are a LOT of apps floating around. Most of them are pretty pointless, like the app my friend told me about, but others can really make your life very productive. However, are we relying on apps too much?

In this era where everything is mobile and everyone is on the go, having apps can really make your life easier, but where do we draw the line from freeing up space for our brain to not using our brain at all?

Almost anything you can think of, there will be an app that.  Want to find out where the cheapest gas is? There is an app for that. Need to coin to make a decision but don’t have one? There is an app for that. Want to find out where the nearest, McDonalds, ATM, Bathroom, Wi-Fi is? Yup, there’s an app for that too.

Have we gotten to the point where everything we do is relied on the use of an app?

Nicholas Carr, is the Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. In his book, Carr writes, “The Web provides a convenient and compelling supplement to personal memory – but when we start using the Web as a substitute for personal memory, by bypassing the inner processes of consolidation, we risk emptying our minds of their riches….The Net is making us smarter, in other words, only if we define intelligence by the Net’s own standards.” In this day and age intelligence is no longer defined as how much information we can retain in our minds but how resourceful we are in obtaining the necessary information. For example, the use of calculating simple arithmetic in our head has been deduced to the calculator app on our phone.

However, Barry Wellman, a professor of sociology at the University of Toronto, says, “We’re more connected with others because of our apps. For example, it’s easier to find their houses or to keep track of our dates when we’re going to meet.”

Wellman’s research indicates that on a 5:1 basis Canadians feel technology helps families stay more connected. He notes, “The evidence shows that integrating apps into our lives extends our relationships and activities, rather than making them more shallow.”

There are good and bad things about apps. Today they’re just apps, but tomorrow they can be our virtual assistants. Soon instead of just making us more productive at work, they’ll actually be doing the work for us.

I think it’s great that apps help us in our everyday lives and connect us to events and people around us. However, I think there should be a line differentiating those apps that enhance our lives and those apps that are emptying our “minds of their riches”.


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