A geometric progression is a sequence of numbers where each term after the first is found by multiplying the previous one by a fixed non-zero number called the common ratio. When “multiplication” is replaced by “addition”, we have an arithmetic progression. From observation of the past two decades we can surmise that the pace of mobile technology
(more so for mobile apps) is much like a geometric progression, while the frameworks (legal, infrastructural, and other) that act as the checks and balances for the effects of technology are moving as an arithmetic progression.
If the consequences of this phenomenon are doubtful, then the most recent case of Uber should provide a chastening example. Let’s not forget the reasons behind the speed of production; grab as much of the long tailed income as possible, and as a bonus grab as much data as the app is capable of gathering (one might as well say slurping, if recent cases are anything to go by). Trust has been so badly dented by events of the last decade, it is perhaps not wrong to tar the whole industry with the same brush. There was a recent twitter posting where it was suggested that the speed of mobile app delivery should be as fast as a comedian delivering jokes, and going by recent history, this is probably not too far from the truth. But, the real question is, on whom is the joke being played? Who is the mug, the mark, or the straight man in this?
Consumerisation is the wholesale conversion of nation-state to the consumption of products, with participation neither in the production process nor in the ownership process. Here “ownership” is not restricted to conceptualisation and realization in code form, but the control and management of the deployment and distribution structures. The mobile app industry more than any other industry, does flatten the world, and makes it a boundary-less economic zone. Mobile apps are truly location-free; they hatch in one cloud and are replaced with a newer version from some other cloud. Herein lies the problem; the structures that support the mobile app industry are also in a cloud, outside the legal and economic framework of the consumerised nation-state.
Technology, besides providing various forms of current benefits, has become a repository for future social and economic wellbeing. With the advent of new analytics and processing capacity, technology can light up future opportunities for both business and quality of life. But, all these are only available if you control some part of the mobile technology process. Social, political, and economic pressures lead different parts of legal and economic monitoring structures to develop at differing rates. As the consumerisation gathers pace with increased usage of mobile technologies, the emergent consequences of these will lead to long-term social and economic issues for the nation-state. They are emergent because they are hidden and not discernable from the outset. It is only at the critical usage point that the consequences are visible and irreversible. All attempts to reverse it will fail, as there will be far too many counter pressures, primarily economic but also social as it creates an economic wedge in the society. As the producing agencies press the production acceleration pedal the consuming nation-states need a break pedal to counter this onslaught.