social transport


With all the recent questions about facebook around how much people share and how much information they put forward, I’m continually interested in seeing where the limits go. We share lots of information about ourselves, but how might we use this to share our space, time and possessions. Here are a few thoughts to explore these ideas.

The ultimate Car Share: There have been low-tech ride-share boards for a while. People on college campuses or on craigslist who are going to a particular place agree to go together. The next generation comes from apps like Avego and Carticipate that ideally let you sell off seats in your car in real time. The ultimate is that if you were ever walking somewhere, instead of hailing a cab you could just hop in somebody’s car. If it is run via iphones then security concerns are negligible because you could always report the person.

Flight companion matching: While you can’t quite hitch-hike your way onto a plane, you might still be able to choose who you sit next too. We already pay more for seats with extra leg room, imagine if you could pay $5 not to sit in front of an infant. What if you could choose to match with people in the same industry or opposite gender. The implementation would have to come from the airline, but you could imagine Virgin doing something like this. Maybe the airlines are in too much trouble for this, but perhaps busses or trains might give it a go.Google only gave me this:

Making transit more public: I don’t know where you’re from, but in Boston nobody talks on the T. We don’t speak to strangers in general but casual chitchat isn’t unheard-of in lines, at the airport, or seated at the bar. We know talking to people we don’t know can be ok given the right context. What if there were at least a social car where people could go if they wanted to talk? One of my favorite experiences on the T in Boston was back in college. The green line basically becomes one big party on the occasional weekend night. I remember one time the driver was even telling jokes.

Each of these examples leads towards an emerging theme. At some point, the information we share with the cloud will help us break down the barriers between us. Someday your phone will vibrate not to tell you about a message you’re receiving, but to nudge you to speak to your neighbor. Your phone will have identified that your profile compatibility for dating, business, interests or just willingness to talk to strangers means that you should talk. Perhaps you can even program it to give you a call so you can duck out of the conversation when it gets awkward…


About livingthememe

engineer and armchair philosopher
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