The Point

An App for Loneliness?

02/25/20

John Stonestreet

Roberto Rivera

As former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy wrote in the Harvard Business Review, “we live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s.”  We are, he claims, in the midst of a loneliness epidemic.

So, what do people from the “most technologically connected age” in history do about it? Create an app, of course.

Specifically, an app called Ikaria, which is being pitched as an “anti-loneliness” app. Its developers claim that it promotes “vulnerability, presence, self-disclosure and reciprocity.” How it will do all of that isn’t clear.

TechCrunch has called Ikaria “cagey.” I call it just another app.

You can’t solve a problem rooted in an addiction to glowing rectangles by sending people back to looking at their glowing rectangles.

Here’s a better idea: Put down the glowing rectangle. Look people in the eyes! Actually listen to them talk.

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Resources:

Work and the Loneliness Epidemic 

Vivek Murthy | Harvard Business Review

Secret’s founder returns with anti-loneliness app Ikaria

Josh Constine | Tech Crunch | February 18, 2020

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