A con­nected dis­con­nect

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Last month, I touched on smart liv­ing, where ev­ery­thing is con­nected so we’re bet­ter in­formed and in con­trol. This month, I’d like to pon­der the side ef­fect of be­ing so con­nected as it seemed a tting topic as we went about pro­duc­ing our an­nual Apps fea­ture.

In the past, we’ve fo­cused on and wrote in length about the con­ve­niences of an app-en­abled world, es­pe­cially the dawn of concierge and ser­vice apps that do ev­ery­thing from trans­port to gro­cery shop­ping.

How­ever, like the stereo­typ­i­cal spoiled rich brats in a Hol­ly­wood movie, we are in dan­ger of los­ing out on prac­ti­cal life skills be­cause we no longer prac­tice them. How many years will it take be­fore the term ‘there’s an app for it’ be­comes an every­day ex­cuse for the lack of real world knowl­edge? But, if we’re fol­low­ing the usual Hol­ly­wood script, the spoiled rich kid even­tu­ally earns his come­up­pance, learns some hard truths and turns a new leaf. So in tech­nol­ogy, there is also hope.

The world has sud­denly found it­self en­thralled with Poké­mon Go, which has amaz­ingly got­ten peo­ple out to walk, jog, hike, bike and ex­plore places they’d never have gone oth­er­wise. It has bro­ken down so­cial bar­ri­ers—I’ve never had so many strangers start gen­uinely an­i­mated con­ver­sa­tions with me. Peo­ple seem more char­i­ta­ble, as play­ers of­ten help oth­ers by shar­ing lo­ca­tion in­for­ma­tion, short cut routes and even catch­ing Poké­mon for those vis­i­bly strug­gling. Even fam­i­lies, young and old, are spend­ing more time to­gether. Now, Poké­mon Go has its fair share of prob­lems with reck­less be­hav­ior, tres­pass­ing and crowds gen­er­ally be­ing a nui­sance, but I’ve never seen any one app get­ting so many peo­ple out, about and work­ing to­gether. And that’s a start.

Apps, there may be a bet­ter fu­ture after all. Zachary Chan Ed­i­tor

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