The Tipping Point … Living in an App Store

Over the past few days, I’ve had the opportunity to spend 24/7 with a high technology company and one of its leaders.   Even though I’m a literate computer person and I write programs all the time in different languages, it was still a shock to me.  To see an entire family and a company interacting on a global basis magnified what I already thought I knew.

The company is an industry giant with world-wide impact.   That was understood by me. This company not only supplies technology, it eats it for lunch by acquiring smaller companies in billion dollar bites.

I went to visit just one of their research campuses. It was eye opening. The workers have full time massage therapists on site at all times, full time barbers along with 5-star food and the exercise facilities are better than any I’ve seen in the ‘real world’.   The campus has vistas to greenery and water, but that’s not all.  Full size indoor basketball courts, Soccer fields and Baseball diamonds all are there in perfect order and upkeep.

I’ve been staying with one of the leaders of this juggernaut.   Yes, living in his dwelling for a few days is at best confusing.   It’s not just the size of the house balanced on the side of a mountain, it is much more.

What rocked me was the overall impact of technology on all the lives.   The entire dwelling is of course reachable by WIFI and wired too.   TVs in all rooms can be manipulated from a smart phone or voice commands.   The usual security systems are all there too and linked to the humans who carry smart phones everywhere.  The house has an elevator to speed movement. Movement is tracked. The family of this person is spread all over the globe, but they work and live as though they were geographically close.  Pictures and videos are everywhere flashing across the screen of multiple devices.

To change a channel on a TV can be done by voice.  There are no handy knobs to change volume and channels.   Another house in the family is under ‘control’ too.  The owner can turn on and off and change channels from TVs and cameras located thousands of miles apart.

I don’t know how they stand living in an App Store, but they seem to do just fine.   Questions and answers are shared from afar with assists from YouTube and of course Google.

They have Apps for hundreds of things.  To go out to dinner with them is an adventure.   They make instant choices … again by some App.  They travel by Apps.

Because of the owners travel history, he and I as his guest move around airports with a driver supplied by the Airline company.  Again an App moves us out on the Tarmac with impunity and effective security too.  Some App has us listed and tracked.

None of this is unusual in and of itself.   It’s the sheer volume and power that this Cloud based family embodies. They truly live in an App Store.  What will the next decade bring?  Right now there are glitches, but they will go and more Apps will come.

I think in just ten years we will live in a world that is hard to outrun with any chance of solitude.  The App store wins.  We might well lose.  The tipping point is upon us.

I’m reading a 1979 book by Freeman Dyson, the great scientist/mathematician.  In the introduction he brings to our attention the Faustian bargain that we face.  Everything is rushing toward a decision that cannot be avoided making it no decision at all.   We are part of a techno culture.  We are in a world in which observations can and are razor sharp.  We are in a world where humanity and technology are fast merging and are not distinct at all.  The humans and technology have no distinct bounds..