You have a genie in your pocket, technology offering to make your dreams a reality. Simply rub open your phone and tap away:
Need something? … Amazon
Directions? … Maps
Questions? … Google, DuckDuckGo
News? … 𝕏
Entertainment? … TikTok, YouTube, Netflix, Instagram
Work? … Email, Slack
For whatever you’d want to do, there’s an app for that.
But there’s a catch. Every gift from an app comes with a hidden cost.
The cost is buying products you don’t need.
The cost is bewilderment about places.
The cost is naive belief in search results.
The cost is distorted facts as news.
The cost is losing common experiences.
The cost is bullshit work that never ends.
The benefit is clear. The cost is not. And the cost is still more than you think.
Apps bind you.
They determine how you can interact.
They deem what can be important—and what can’t.
They set what you can see and what you can’t.
They control who you can communicate with and how.
Apps constrain the possibilities, and by constraining, they change your capabilities. They change how you think. They set the table for what you can even think about.
Apps frame our existence today.
And everyone complies by simply opening them. We extend our hands and put the shackles on ourselves, the handcuffs so obvious that we are blind to them.
But there’s hope.
The reign of apps exists only as long as you accept the bind. Realize the costs and constraints and throw off the chains.
Wake up. Wake up your family and your friends.
The technological trinkets and quick fixes are junk that’s not worth the cost.
Usual frame: There’s an app for that.
Reframe: Apps are traps.
Inspired by Scott Adam’s Reframe Your Brain.