One topic that is without question delightful is the impact of crowdsourcing. Perhaps Im using the word loosely, but to me it is the ability to rapidly acquire data points about so many people, on so many levels, and measure the once unmeasurable.
Crowdsourcing allows you to use your phone to know where traffic jams are on the highway, before you even get on it. The data comes direclty from other peeople’s phones (or some type of device that reports information). Crowdsourcing is how retailers can acquire data on how much of certain things to stock, with a level of precision that was unthinkable year ago. But these are silly, virtually meaningless examples when compared to what lies ahead.
The big one, we all know, will eventually be healthcare in the US, and using information technology to monitor the activity level, diet, and even prescription medication use of citizens to best distribute what is and always will be a limited pool of resources. In case you are wondering, no – I have no opinion on the “goodness” or “badness” of this. It is what it is, and from a cold calculating efficiency perspective of society, one cant help but say “its about time!”
The ability to measure that accurately, and with permission of the court (although legal or not finances will make it happen), is still several years away, perhaps more than a decade.
But worry not, the stepping stone of “how many 36W jeans to stock in June” to this is starting to take shape. On the news today in Massachusetts was a piece on an auto insurance company offering a discount IF you let your car usage activity be monitored. Speed, miles, location, etc. Its called Snapshot (yes the impact of IT is so great we are re-using storage management lingo!). Snapshot makes all the sense in the world. If you drive like a robot and obey all the rules, why on Earth should you pay more to subsidize some maniac like me?
Next step would be that so much financial burden for insurance falls on faster drivers, that they too in large numbers slow down. Anybody who doesnt want Snapshot in their car will be a suspect to be a crazy driver even if their record is clean.
The whole of society is working here to eliminate waste and improve efficiency. Years of police tickets and speed limits have had no impact since it was far too spotty. But now, the link of information technology, crowdsourcing, and the need for operational efficiency amongst the members of society will make this happen no matter how one feels about it. Its sad, and its scary, but its perfectly logical in a cold kind of way.
This is a topic we’ll be sure to discuss frequently – the use of information technology to bind individuals together for improved efficiency of society.