The Flip-side of Instructional Apps

Posted by Aditi Kumar
August 28, 2017

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Once you get a new phone, with a good internal and expandable memory, the very first thing you start doing is the downloading of “new” and “helpful” apps. I consider myself too technologically challenged, to download the fancy apps, and hence find myself downloading “mind-enhancing” games.

It is on one of those fateful evenings, where I had spent more than a few hours downloading and deleting apps, did I come across “Nothing”. The application had a very simple description- Nothing. Intrigued, I read reviews and came across many which hailed the App as providing happiness, in times of distress.

The next step was a bit obvious, sheep mentality and a new icon added to my home-screen. Now, when you open this app, you are exposed to a brilliant white screen, with ‘Nothing’ written, right in the middle of the screen. The font is black and, the font-size not too over or under-whelming. You wait impatiently for something else to happen, and that is when it hits you, this app sort of tells you “there’s NOTHING in your phone, that you can’t avoid, for some time,” it inhibits you from opening anything else on your phone, not even the clock is visible.

Brilliant! It’s minimal in its design and instructions, something we millennial connect to and are a fan of. Now, if someone not of the “millinneal-generation” reads this, a huge loud “ppppffffft” is coming up. ‘You need an app to tell you to do nothing’?

And that’s where I bring in the rising problem to an apparent “solution”. Since when does an application become an important way to remind us to, or rather instruct us to start living our lives which is beyond the technology? Why are there developers, developing apps to inhibit a certain behaviour that is unhealthy- which, by the way, was caused by some other application that was downloaded, earlier?

A few months back, I was called in to attend a workshop as a stake-holder, to help come up with solutions to the increasing problems of “Killings caused due to Selfies”. And yes, the most popular solution was to build an application, which inhibits you from taking Selfies, in dangerous areas. Since when has our common sense started allowing the idea that an application is smarter than you? Similarly, why do we need these instructional applications, to remind us to live a life?

The human will, is something, on which great stories have been written, some inspirational, some to teach a lesson. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”- This idiom speaks volumes of what humans are capable of, and how to live our life, constructively. We cannot live without our smart phones, and our growing technology, which is further changing the way we live. But when a 10 MB file starts telling you on how to take a break from your bright home screens, that’s when you know, things are spiraling out of control.

Before we start developing applications like: “Look around.” “Enjoy.” “Breathe” “Smile”, and “Where there is an App, There is a way” becomes the sad future defining us, let’s stop and exercise that one thing we have in abundance- Our will.

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