Apps and humanity’s productivity

Today Kyra mentioned to me that she’s having a friendly competition with her friend Hannah to see who can score the highest in the Hot New App called “Don’t Touch the White Tiles”. Yeah, this game is all the rage, and the name pretty much sums up the entire premise. The screen has a set of four squares horizontally, one of which is black, and they scroll slowly upward. You have to tap the black one, and then the next row appears. It gets faster as you go along, and eventually the black and white tiles are just flying past. Truly this is a test of mental and physical dexterity.


I commented to Kyra that if all of the people who have spent hours playing apps like this would, instead, focus on something productive, it’s likely that humanity would have accomplished so much more by now. I suspect hundreds of millions of hours of productivity are lost every day to things like Don’t Touch the White Tiles, or Flappy Bird, or Farmville, or whatever else is the latest rage. If we’d channel that mental energy for good, we’d probably have flying cars and be living on Mars by now.