Steve Jobs had said there is an app for everything, and with as many as they have in the app store, that’s believable. And now there is even discussion that apps can replace some medications of all things. But is this thought of Steve Jobs’ taking it too far? We asked some of our writers, “Do you think apps can really replace everything?”
Trevor agrees that there are apps for just about everything, but he notes they are usually just for a service or certain action. But “when they talk about replacing chemical deficiencies or overloads, I am pretty skeptical.” Although he did have a funny name for a medication app: “apps-spirin.”
He agrees that sound and light therapy can be used, but he thinks there are still some limitations. Certain things can’t be replaced by an app, such as being near someone. While video and audio can help, it’s different for a real person to actually be there. “What we gain with apps is immediacy,” and “this breeds the need to have instant solutions.”
Alex feels that saying ” ‘an app could replace everything’ is reductive, but our phones are probably capable of more than we expect!” He thinks to comment on the “immense computing power” that we carry in our pockets is nearly a cliché, but we also “make poor use of it when it comes to bettering our lives.” He believes our phones could become similar to Star Trek tricorders, “scanning patients and generating diagnostics.”
Miguel states right off that bat that “apps cannot cure syphilis.” He explains that “a software application can do everything within the confines of the hardware it is installed in,” meaning they can’t be all-inclusive. “I cannot imagine a world where an app would be more efficient than hydrocortisone.” He figures if someone would make such a claim, “There’d better be a thoroughly-executed double-blind study with a sample size of at least a few thousand participants backing it up.”
Ada agrees with Miguel that apps can’t replace everything. “Faith in software is one thing – realism is another.” She stresses that it “can be dangerous to force apps to be a replacement for medications, therapy, etc.” There would be no one to blame if something went wrong. She also notes an elderly neighbor nearly died recently because of “a very expensive, brand new blood pressure monitor” that measured her blood pressure wrong many times before she figured out that the fault was with the device. “For vital purposes when a human life is at stake, I won’t trust an app for sure.”
Miguel chimed back in to say it isn’t necessarily so much about trust as it is about the limitations of software. “Some of us put an excessive amount of faith in software and technology, and we’ve abandoned the principle of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ “ He wonders if maybe all this is because we rely on our powerful mobile devices so much and want them to do everything even when they can’t.
I admit, I’m one of those people who wants my mobile device to do everything. I’m also a person who is willing to abandon many things with the hope that an app can take over. But I also know apps are far from perfect. However, people aren’t perfect either. I don’t think either is omnipotent. Using both where they could cover for each other is probably the best all-around solution.
We’ve thrown a lot at you here, but you’re bound to have your own opinions on apps taking over the world. Are you leery of apps taking over? Do you have a story of when apps didn’t work out when you really needed them to? Do you think apps can really replace everything? Join us in the comments below and let us know!