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2015’s Hottest Trend in Tech: Boredom

Rob Walker
Tech Columnist
Yahoo Tech

I’m so excited to learn that someone is already pushing a new hot tech trend for 2015 — and it’s boredom!

Specifically, the WNYC radio show “New Tech City” has announced what it calls The Bored and Brilliant Project. Thrillingly, this will involve a team-up with an app called Moment — one of those apps you’re supposed to download to your phone so it will help you not spend so much time obsessing over your phone — to devise “a week of challenges” starting early next month.

“Mindfulness is so 2014,” the announcement declares. “Boredom is where it’s at in 2015.”

Finally! After decades of tech innovations aimed squarely at squishing boredom out of existence by offering a nonstop barrage of distractions, we are ready to technologize boredom itself.

True, the idea that boredom is good for, say, creativity, isn’t new. But it’s about time someone recognized that the only way to be bored now would have to be with an assist from gadgets and gizmos.

I’m not sure what those “challenges” will be, or how Moment’s phone-control app will help. Still, I could daydream from now until quitting time about the possibilities of the exciting new Boredom 2.0 that might result if borecore becomes the new normcore.

Gamifying boredom! Rack up points by listening to a detailed account of your roommate’s dating life, watching televised golf, or simply staring slack-jawed into the middle distance. As your boredom mounts, you’ll win cute digital badges depicting yawning faces and eyes rolling back into the forehead. Share these with your friends! (Also: Get points by tracking your friends’ boring behavior.)

Boredom apps! Start with an app that shows water coming to a boil — no pausing, and it blocks everything else on your phone until it ends. Move on to similar apps that show paint drying and grass growing.

Social media for boredom! Don’t keep your boring achievements to yourself: Our massive social-media infrastructure was practically built for bore-spreading. Flood your Instagram feed with boring pictures, update your Facebook friends with today’s viral bores, and make your most #boring observations part of the Twitter conversation. (I think maybe some people already do this?)

Meetups for the bored! Connect with fellow boredom enthusiasts, pick a boring location, and be bored together IRL. See you in the vacant lot by the underpass!

Curate your boredom! Share the most boring things you can find with others — be a bore-hunter! Here, I just whipped up a YouTube playlist of boring ambient-sound videos. It lasts 52 hours. Check it out. I’ll wait!

Experience boredom in virtual reality! Strap on your Oculus Rift to “attend” municipal government and community meetings in full — in places you don’t even live.

Uber, but for boredom! Find a boring person nearby who will come straight to the location of your choice and yammer on for as long as you can stand it about his high-school football exploits, her unique collection of antique spoons, or every “hilarious” thing the baby has said or done so far. (Plus, if you’re particularly boring yourself, this new bore-sharing economy will be a great way to earn a little extra scratch.)

Boredom throwback! The vinyl records of boredom: phone books. This will be coveted reading material for cutting-edge hipsters of boredom.

A boredom conference! All technology trends culminate in a conference. But, actually, a Boring Conference already exists (it started in 2010). Not to worry: We’re talking tech here — so we still need a conference for those who are disrupting boredom. Or disrupting interest? Whatever. The Dulling Edge Conference will be the event to hear boring predictions from boring gurus (trend borecasters?); watch boring startup-founders unveil boring PowerPoints; witness boring demos from boring vendors; and network with other boring people who have boring insights about boredom. In short, it’ll be like most tech conferences, only a little more interesting.

Of course, I’m only speculating here. But you have to admit, the idea of boredom-enhancing technology is truly a no-brainer. I can’t wait to see what the market really comes up with — it’s going to be so boring!

Write to me at rwalkeryn@yahoo.com or find me on Twitter, @notrobwalker. RSS lover? Paste this URL into your reader of choice: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/author/rob-walker/rss.