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“There is an app for this.” This phrase has been used at times, in some cases, at times ridiculously. Over the past few decades, app development has skyrocketed to unprecedented heights, and it hasn’t slowed down.
Since the launch of Android Market (now Google Play) in 2008, the number of available apps has grown to about 3.48 million. With about 2.22 million apps, Apple’s App Store is not far behind. These apps range from games to all kinds of business and self-help apps that cover almost every area of human endeavor.
Some time ago, I found myself fighting a serious case of app dependency. It wasn’t worse for me than for anyone else of my generation, I was annoyed about the long-term effects of relying on an app for everything from buying food to building relationships.
As an app enthusiast, I started a web app as my first startup and I was the first to know the value that apps bring to their users. As a writer, I also know the value that apps like Grammarly bring me. However, this coin has two aspects.
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Some time ago, I was apprehensive about my reliance on AI-editing tools, grammar, when I noticed that the more I write, the more the suggested editing increases. I stopped myself one day when I saw a wonderful 200 editing suggestions on a 5000-word project. It was even worse when I saw the proposed amendments; Basic error! I was upset.
At that point it became clear to me that I was getting lazy and paying less attention to my writing because of the presence of an app আমাকে I had to pay less to renew an app. This experience is not common to every writer, but it is certainly common.
To counteract this, I began to be more deliberate and diligent in my writing. I recently finished a 6000-word project for a client that had 0 errors, and I celebrated as if it were my birthday.
This experience led me to my habit of X-rays, revealing a worrying trend of app-dependence. Would I download a new app rather than devote my creativity or analytical skills? Unfortunately, I have answered this question in the affirmative, and it has made me more concerned about the long-term effects of this app-dependence on the whole generation.
App-induced laziness and addiction
When I got my first calculator at school, I lost the urge to solve a math problem without it, probably because I didn’t like math. To this day, I still find myself relying heavily on calculators. This mental laziness worries me the most about our current app-dependent culture.
Chamath Palihapatia, a former VP of Facebook’s user growth, admits that the short-term dopamine-driven response loop that Facebook has created is destroying society’s work. The addictive effects of social apps and how they use the same neural circuitry used by slot machines and cocaine to drive user engagement are well documented, but the scope to include non-social apps can be expanded.
App developers subscribe to the Entrepreneur Founder Policy; Find a problem and fix it. Solving a problem will almost certainly create a profitable business, but the question we need to ask is, “Does every problem need an app-driven solution?” More importantly, is each problem worse?
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Financial and personal consequences
Apps are companies, and companies often charge money to access their apps; This has become particularly easy with the SaaS business model. Practically, this means that in some cases, we now have to pay for something that we can do with a little mental or physical exertion. This puts regular users at a disadvantage and entrepreneurs at a heavy advantage.
Also, the type of personal data we should disclose varies from app to app, and the future effects of this type of exposure are alarming. Just think of the potential impact of a successful hack; Exploitation of our personal information, blackmail and merchandising.
Much has already been said about Industry 5.0 and how the mix of humans and machines will revolutionize production for the next generation. However, using AI and technology at every turn on a personal level increases productivity and discourages those who rely on it.
Can we stop the spread of apps and AI technology for personal use? No! This is probably the way of the future, and this is why the only solution is to come from a place of personal responsibility.
Ways to get out of personal responsibility
My interest in reducing the number of grammatical suggestions in my work has made me a better writer than ever. Instead of trying to learn from the suggestions and embrace laziness, I chose to improve myself with the app and let the app lift heavily.
Taking personal responsibility and challenging ourselves to develop to a point where we don’t need constant help to do very humane things would be a great approach to this problem. This personal responsibility extends to our choice of apps that make us strong and not weak.
For example, I love traveling and new languages. Imagine my excitement when I discovered apps that teach language in an easy-to-understand way. Since discovering these apps, I’ve also discovered apps that have translated my speech into other languages to help with communication. We can see the value of both apps in different situations, but I would definitely prefer the hard learning option over the easy translation option.
I mean, what if I travel to a new country and lose the phone where the translation app is installed? That loss could not be a better thing than the inability to cope with the fear of losing a phone.
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The future of evolution may be man evolving with the help of machines, but the big technology companies are the biggest winners in that scenario. Humanity should always try to improve itself with the most insignificant reliance on external factors.