Opinion

Apps Are Indulging Our Misanthropy, and I Love Them for It

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Apps Are Indulging Our Misanthropy, and I Love Them for It
To quote the fictional Ron Swanson, "I once worked with a guy for three years and never learned his name. Best friend I ever had. We still never talk sometimes."

Fortunately - or unfortunately - I'm not quite as socially detached as Swanson, but there are some aspects of the lifestyle that appeal to me. Namely, I avoid unnecessary conversations like the plague. I've gone entire days without hearing a voice or opening my mouth to speak once, and those have been some of the best days of my life.

All of this time, I've had to talk to people to get by in life. I have to call someone and have at least a five-minute conversation to get things like food, taxis, and movie tickets. This is particularly annoying because the person on the other end very often cannot understand a thing I'm saying or has my details wrong.

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But now, things are changing. With a few simple taps on my phone, I have eliminated the need to talk to a person! Apps such as Zomato Order, Food Panda, Uber, Ola, and BookMyShow are taking tasks that once involved talking to an actual, often annoying human being, and making them free of all pointless human interaction. A few taps of my smartphone screen and I'm done. It's beautiful.

Before, if I wanted to book a cab that wasn't a regular city taxi, I'd have to call a radio taxi service. I'd be placed on hold for 10-15 minutes, and then have to explain my address and destination to an operator who was likely from another city so had no idea about local areas and landmarks. An hour before the designated time, the taxi driver would call and I'd have to explain how to get to my house. Finally, I'd have to pay him cash at the end of the trip. Now, I pinpoint my address on a map within Uber or Olacabs app about 30-45 minutes before I need it, the driver uses GPS to get to my location easily, and the charges are deducted from my online wallet.

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Let's take another example. Earlier, I either had to go to the box office and buy movie tickets in advance, or book online and pick up my tickets from the online booking counter. Now, I receive an m-ticket through BookMyShow which simply needs to be scanned at the entrance of the movie theatre by a machine. Human interaction has been minimised and none of my time has been wasted.

Previously, I had to call my local pizza place and explain my order and often spell out my address letter by letter. Now, I choose my food off a menu online, my address has been saved on the app, and I can even pay in advance if I choose to. The delivery boy places the package in my hand and leaves, with no more than basic pleasantries exchanged.

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Even for the less asocial among us, the advantages are clear. Using apps to handle these simple tasks saves time, promotes efficiency, and makes it possible to have less money on you when you go out, which will make getting mugged a much more pleasant experience, if it does happen. Even if you show up late for the movie, you'll still have time for a quick run to the restroom or to buy a tub of popcorn. Even if you've forgotten to take a trip to the ATM, you don't have to go to bed hungry. Even if you're in the middle of nowhere and have no idea how you got there, the cab will still show up to whisk you away.

Therefore, I tip my hat to you, dear app-based services. You have made it possible for me to sit at home and stare at the wall blankly with a sandwich in my hand. You indulge my misanthropy, and I love you for it.

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Ali Pardiwala

Ali has over eight years of experience in the technology space, specialising in writing about all kinds of audio gear and TVs. He’s reviewed all kinds of headphones, speakers, audio gear, and televisions over the years, and is the in-house expert on all gadgets with screens and audio drivers. He is of the firm belief that truly wireless earphones are the future, and will always recommend a 4K TV, but not necessarily a smart TV. In his spare time, Ali likes to watch TV shows and movies ...More

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