We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Civic Sense and Technology

Can Civic sense be employed in people using Technology? This is a very interesting question and one really applicable in the context of Indians.

Indians by and large are one of the worst in the world when it comes to civic sense. It is a common sight to site a wealthy businessman letting open his Mercedes or BMW door and spitting his mouthful of beetle juice on road. It is not uncommon to see a housewife from a posh apartment throwing her garbage unattended in an unhygienic conditions just outside her apartment. It is one of the most common sights to see bottles of liquor, drinking water, etc. thrown at tourist places. Can technology be made to use to avoid such behavior? Can behavioral psychology of a person be changed using some sort of incentive / reminder in terms of technology?

What causes a person to throw away trash / disfigure public places. Lets for time being not consider the lower uneducated Indians. Lets focus on educated middle class. Is it their upbringing where parents themselves being ignorant of the civic sense, do not inculcate such values? Is it the inability to teach such values in schools as a school kid? I do not have exact answer.

However, here is an interesting experiment. Will people stop throwing garbage etc. if they are reminded constantly? I think this works to some extent, however after a period people become blind to such reminders as their mind gets used to it and the brain does not generate quick signals to recall the purpose of this reminder. So a quick solution could be change the method of delivery of the reminder.

Here is a solution. What is least bothersome way in which people could be reminded? By putting a signboard, asking them not to disobey the civic sense. Now, think of this other alternative. Instead start a sms service which in innovative ways sends people reminders about not to indulge in such activities. Now, the problem is how would you determine when to send such sms. The location of the person in question should be traceable for that matter. Well, the current advances in cellular technology does allow, a person's location to be traced based on his position in the cell unit, by collaborating with the cellular operator. Don't you get on your mobile the location of area you are in any city etc.? GPS is a very advanced technique for which you need your phone to be gps enabled. Now, who should run such a service. This could be run by some NGO for trial basis initially. I wont go much into its details further.

Who are the targeted users? Should they opt in or opt out? Why would a user want to opt out for such a service if he already is a responsible citizen? Questions are endless. Lets not try to bother ourselves with the endless such questions. This is just an idea based on a hypothesis, that by constantly training your mind to do a certain task you can train it to behave in that manner permanently. I can build on this method to enhance this scheme in further ways, however for time being I will not elaborate.

Now how can such garbage generated be used to create jobs? The next question to ask is, will people with no income at all be willing to take up such jobs at odd places such as some tourist location to clean up the place? For example. Lets assume a hypothetical organization "A" that delivers services of cleaning up famous tourist spots in various pockets by carrying out their service vans and by using professional sweepers etc. Next question to ask is, who would pay for these services? A good answer is these services could be made to some extent sustainable by running advertisements on the company vehicles, by promoting such services in the philanthropic NGO grants for trial basis etc. With experimentation would arrive more possibilities.

There could be decent amount of brainstorming that could go here too. Thus my point is, India is such a problematic country that, a clever and smart person with a little business sense could be able to provide services of any sort to such a large section of society who is slowly having capability to spend money and is willing to search for alternatives that would offer a better living standard.

Technology would have a huge role to play in all these services and slowly services with Indian specific problems resolving would slowly increase.

1 comment:

  1. The innvovate thought is appreciated , but action are lacking ever where , we need to act.