OK, I had this idea a wile back and I finally got round to designing the concept, I don’t know if it would fly, but I think it is quite neat. Fundamentally the principle is that people in rural areas are pretty much excluded from the e-Cash revolution on the basis that they don’t have the infrastructure. By rural I am most interested in the way in which people in small villages or remote locations interact, especially in developing countries. We don’t have a means by which we could eliminate currency in their domains, we only have solutions for client server architecture in rich urban settings. Also the proposal for NFC is being built around expensive smart-phones which also doesn’t help the poorer in society. So I designed a device which should be cheap (~$10) and which can be used without being dependent on infrastructure.
I did a PDF to illustrate the Portable Currency Device concept.
In Euan Semples recent blog post he talked about the digital divide as it has been on the news of late. I was thinking about it and I don’t think the issue is really rural vs city, infact I think cities are probably logically the places where the digital divide can be much more of a problem. Looking at the statistics I note that Glasgow has the worst broadband take-up in the country, is this because of relative education levels and poverty? In general in the UK rural communities are not poor like they are in other countries. A few weeks ago I was in Greece staying in a small village in the hills and by most economic measures I was in a poor village (however I have rarely seen a happier and more at-peace group of people), I don’t think anyone there would have owned a computer. That is in contrast to the UK rural communities I have seen over the years, most farmers have computers and local schools are increasingly well connected. The real technology divide is about poverty, education and social excusion; frankly it has nothing even to do with the internet, it is about society in general. This connectivity issue is more of a measure of society than the other way around.
Also Euan posted about disinterest in traditional politics plus how traditional politics and activism is being replaced by new ‘community’ action. These communities need not be local but they are increasingly powerful. It is interesting to see the number of online campaigns that get significant results. I’m very apolitical because I’ve long felt that no politician can be trusted and even those with the best intentions can be side-lined/sabotaged by other peoples efforts. All this despite my fathers political efforts.