Relationships are time-consuming. Phones make them even more so.
Gone are the days of blissful, uninterrupted bro time. Significant others expect hourly updates of where you are and what you’re doing. But bros, fear no more! The BroApp has come to rescue the day. This nifty little wingman sends out automated text messages to your S.O. so you don’t have to be bothered while you’re hanging with your dudes (Molloy, 2014).
Or at least that’s what the creators of BroApp say. The app allows users to program No Bro Zones so the messages don’t send while he is in the company of his S.O. It even comes with a “girl friend lock down mode” which “directs “inquisitive” girlfriends to a list of gifts that her boyfriend was ‘planning to buy’ her, rather than the automated messages, the Independent reported. Finally, the annoying aspects of relationships can be programmed away.
In an op-ed piece on WIRED, Evan Selinger takes issue with the BroApp. He explains that technology that advances and improves is good. BroApp, however, is technology that demoralizes and debases (Selinger, 2014).
Founders Tom and James (they provided no last names) believe that their app is a relationship enhancer. They see it as a way to keep their girlfriends happy while continue to focus on the other aspects of their lives. But that’s the problem, isn’t it?
Human relationships are founded on trust. Two people in a relationship have agreed that they will make time for each other. There’s mutual respect and investment by both parties that creates a sense of equality in the relationship. The BroApp undermines that. As Selinger said:
Ultimately, the reason technologies like BroApp are problematic is that they’re deceptive. They take situations where people make commitments to be honest and sincere, but treat those underlying moral values as irrelevant — or, worse, as obstacles to be overcome. If they weren’t, BroApp’s press document wouldn’t contain cautions like: “Understandably, a girl who discovers their guy using BroApp won’t be happy” (2014).
Services like Skype, Whatsapp? and other free communication tools have allowed loved ones to talk across continents. In many ways, changing technology has aided relationship building. But the use of technology to deceive undermines the foundation of a relationship. Using the BroApp, while seemingly considerate, is sending the message that your partner isn’t worth your time.
According to Selinger, Tom and James argued that new technologies are often met with adversity (2014). Humans find change uncomfortable at first. But some tech changes don’t take root. When something offends on a moral level, the majority will often shun it. Things that intentionally violate our privacy and trust leave a bad taste is our mouths, as we’ve seen with the NSA revelations.
BroApp will have its proponents, and its uses won’t be limited to scumbag players. There is, however, little need to fear that we’ll see fully automated relationships developing over the next few years. For those who make real, honest commitments, the desire to engage in a conversation with his or her S.O. will trump the convenience of an auto-text. We live in a digital age, but we all still desire human contact. An app can’t do that.
Molloy, A. (2014, February 28). Broapp: New app enables busy boyfriends to send pre-programmed text messages to their girlfriends. The Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/broapp-new-app-enables-busy-boyfriends-to-send-preprogrammed-text-messages-to-their-girlfriends-9160556.html
Selinger, E. (2014, February 26). Today’s apps are turning us into sociopaths. WIRED. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/opinion/2014/02/outsourcing-humanity-apps/