One prerogative of people who opine online is their ability to pontificate on how they can do things better than [insert person/activity here]. So here is my list of phone app ideas that can transform culture. These don't exist yet as far as I know. Maybe some of these are brewing already in some app maven's mind, and I hope this type of brainstorming can inspire someone out there to make these apps a reality. There are so many useless things we can already do with our phones, why not try doing something that can change our lives and make it a more interesting world for all?
World is a Stage app -- a twist on flash mobs -- app connects people who'll get together briefly and interact with each other not as themselves but as characters of their choosing. You'll be able to create characters within the app and include all relevant info so that people may be able to invite you to join private gatherings. Let's say you want to pretend to be a lawyer or an army guy or a top chef -- just create your identity within the app (which will guide you with helpful questions) and meet up with others with pretend identities and have yourself a great time out from your life!
Dumb Your Phone app -- helps you fight the addiction to your smartphone. Basically deactivates your phone for a full 24 hours. Once you activate the app, you won't be able to use your phone no matter what you do (only resetting and wiping all data can restart it before the 24 hours are through).
Culturize Yourself app -- gives you cultural/historical highlights of places right next to you, allowing you to quickly have an intelligent-sounding conversation with anyone you might be with (and need to impress). Great for dates.
Change the World app -- the app will do to changing the world what "American Idol" does to [not sure what AI does]. App allows people to vote on the most pressing world problem and concrete proposals on how to fix them (illustrated by an attractive spokesperson). Each vote costs you 5 cents and all the submitted money is collected in a pool. The winning problem/proposal gets the funding and matching funds from corporate sponsors. An implementation deadline is attached to every proposal so actual changes can be tracked.
Talk to Aliens app -- allows you to talk to Aliens. You can send messages (or confessions) to aliens on a planet of your choice. A powerful transmitter run by the app producer or NASA-like agency broadcasts the messages. App can be used to raise financing for space programs. Will the aliens ever respond? We won't know till we do this. There's been a certain highfalutin assumption that aliens would love to hear Bach or some great accomplishment of our civilization but it's just as likely they'll respond to ramblings of a teenage girl.
Stop Cursing and Be Nice app -- promotes civility in everyday life. Rewards you for being nice and courteous to others. You can track how many greetings you've made or "thanks" you've said throughout the day. Also tracks your swear words. The best implementation would be for the app to be able to do a voice analysis on the data passing through the phone to pick out the nice words. Nicest people will get financial rewards from sponsors -- coupons, deals, public recognition. The worst offenders will get higher phone bills and public shame.
Get Off Drugs app -- does what it says. Helps people with drug problems to get off drugs with functions like allowing them track their progress of decreasing drug usage (with a reward-based system that gives them financial or social benefits for decreased drug use). Shows their location and heartbeat info to sponsors, connects them with other people near them who are having the same challenges. Shows pictures and videos of addicted people's demise due to drug use.
Learn a Poem a Day app -- helps you memorize a poem a day. Gives you tools and rewards to help with the memorization. Great for increasing your cultural and romantic potency.
Pavlov's Dog app -- not what you might first think -- this is an app that can turn you into a dog. Good for people who want a break from being human. Leads you through activities a typical dog might engage in. You do each one for a specific time length as your phone takes pics and puts online. Works best if utilized near other users of app or an actual dog or instead of group yoga at your company. The idea can be expanded to simulating behavior of other animals. Can also call it DOG OUT as in "let's have a DOGOUT for the next fifteen minutes"...
Laugh at People Next to You app -- admittedly this probably doesn't have any positive transformative effects but wouldn't it be nice some times to snap a pic of someone you just find looking silly or doing something goofy and put it up for everyone else to gander at and perhaps rate (there being awards for goofiest person of the day etc)?