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Guest Thinkers

In the Future, Will We All Be Apps?

Soon, you will be able to experience superstar chef David Chang, the genius behind the ever-expanding Momofuku foodie empire, as a brand-new iPad app. This Lucky Peach app is, in many ways, the perfect digital distillation of the Warholian logic of our modern age, where the Internet has made it possible for all of us to become micro-celebrities for 15 minutes on 15 different platforms. While there will still be a traditional media component to David Chang’s food empire – the Lucky Peach magazine, brought to you by the literary folks at McSweeney’s – the iPad app will become central to the way that you experience David Chang the person.

Lucky Peach The oft-noted fact that the Web has empowered everyone with the ability to broadcast their everyday thoughts, emotions and hopes to the entire Internet using low-cost digital tools has merged with even more powerful trend: the ability to stitch together all the various parts of your life into a single user experience activated with a swipe of your finger (and a payment to Steve Jobs). Looking for Chang’s personal reflections on everything from sports to history to bacon (bacon!)? The Lucky Peach app will have it. Interested in Chang’s travel experiences across the world and how they have influenced his cooking? The Lucky Peach app will have that, too.

In fact, the Lucky Peach app will launch with more than two hours of video and more than twenty recipes, all based around a single theme: ramen noodles. Every quarter, the theme will change. The “glue that binds all the wack-as* ideas together” (Chang’s words, not mine) will be the cooking videos. According to Chang,the iPad app “lets him take an idea and express it in a very experiential way, [as a] a deconstructed, non-linear television show…” Food is just the hook – after that, it’s all about the person.  

If you’re a believer in the coming Singularity, where machine intelligence eventualy catches up with human intelligence, you can see where I’m going with this. By the year 2029 (typically the year cited as the beginning of the Singularity), we may all be apps, with our human emotions and intelligence converted into a giant data feed. All data about our everyday existence – what we ate for breakfast, where we went on vacation, and what we think about bacon – will be slurped into an app, courtesy of an open API that lets one machine talk to another machine.  

Momofuku_logo We will all become our own ultimate user experience designer, with our own little creative team that can tie together all of our news feeds, music streams, photos, videos, podcasts and blog musings into a personalized user experience. Chang himself notes that the next iteration of the Lucky Peach app will be “a journey about finding, losing and trying to preserve your sweet spot.” Try searching the App Store for that. That’s not an app as branded utility, that’s something entirely different.

Think about it: all of our thoughts, experiences, and preferences bundled up into a neat little experiential app… everything a sweet little peach, ripe for the Internet’s ravenous consumption. David Chang? Yeah, there’s an app for that. And given his penchant for salty chef’s talk and gift for theatrical display, you might just call him The Momof*ku With the App.


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