Home Opinion and Features The planet of the apps

The planet of the apps


Who needs a memory when you can hold your brain in your hand, with an impressive, curved LCD screen nogal!

File image: Independent UK.

There’s an app for that. If you’re wondering “an app for what”, the answer is simply “everything!”

In a few short years mankind has gone from being beings who struggle to figure things out and who wrestle with problems, to tech-slaves who are bound to their devices.

At one time the world was a wonderful place with so many things to see and experience. Photographs would feature incredible architecture, wide beaches or sweeping panoramas of hills, valleys and mountains; but these days, these “selfie-days” pictures feature our faces filling the frame, and an incredible landmark squeezed off to the side or way off in the background.

At last we have learned to love ourselves.

In this very newspaper a few weeks ago, columnist Murray Swart expressed his utter amazement that people would watch a full-blown military parade through a cellphone screen, simply because they “had to” record it.

Look, these days you don’t have to meticulously plan a trip, all you need is a navigation app. You don’t need a pencil and scrap of paper to make a quick calculation, there’s an app for that.

There’s no need to try and remember all the films John Wayne featured in, the answer is on your device.

Who needs a memory when you can hold your brain in your hand, with an impressive, curved LCD screen nogal!

No wonder people NEED to walk the streets staring at their new handheld brains. No wonder people NEED to see themselves happy – and this is what selfies often depict!

I was walking behind a young man one day. His headphones were in his ears, his attention was on his screen and he was deep in thought – sombre, serious, disengaged from the world.

And then he looked up, saw a world famous landmark and snapped a selfie with him sporting the widest grin you can imagine.

He then replaced his headphones, his countenance fell, and he continued his trudge down the path staring at his device’s screen.

He was completely disinterested in what was going on around him, but his Instagram post would show him having the time of his life!

Want to hear something else that is pretty interesting? This paragraph was typed without me touching the keyboard, as all I had to do was activate Google Docs’ voice recorder and speak into the microphone. (The software did the rest. All I had to do was add punctuation.)

This could be a blessing for someone with a disability, but it’s terrible invention otherwise seeing as inactivity is one of our greatest dangers these days.

Recently I read that reduced levels of physical activity, a rise in sedentary behaviour and doing less exercise all play a significant role in age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia.

I imagine that the same can be said for the lack of application when using our minds to work through problems and our memories to remember those things that are on the tip of our tongues.

The 1968 film, Planet of the Apes, written by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling (based on the novel Monkey Planet by Pierre Boulle) has turned into a popular franchise.

The sequels and prequels depict one species on the decline and the rise of another, simply because (and this is simply my interpretation of a complex plot) humanity had become too proud, self-assured and complacent.

What scares me is that the species on the decline is the fit, healthy, energetic people who we once knew; and the species on the rise may be a sedentary, lazy device-bound people.

This cannot be good for the species.