Thursday, February 17, 2011

Internet Voting In India Using UID

Nandan Nilekani is working on a UID for every individual in India. I think it can be used for internet voting. At least in the cities where people have started using internet for paying bills, transferring funds, buying/selling stuff so why can't people vote as well. I think this might do wonders in increasing voter turnout in cities, specially in the younger, facebook addicted, generation. I hope the guys who are working on this have already figured out this potential use of the UID. But I wanted to put it out there via my blog, just in case. I am sure that if you've read so far and if you are a person who uses internet regularly for checking email, social networking, banking, paying bills, buying/selling etc. you would have already made a mental list of the advantages that internet voting will have, specially in the cities. Well here are a few anyway:

1. The voter turnout amoung the young generation might just reach as high as 99%.
2. People in hospitals can vote.
3. People who are not in the city/town at the time of voting can vote
4. NRI's can vote
5. No bullying/threats at poll booths
6. No booth capturing (of course places where booths are captured might not have high percentage of internet voting)
7. People don't have to miss work. They just need 10-15 mins off and can cast their vote.

Possible problems:

1. Hacking
2. Overload
3. System Crash or bugs
4. Somebody may steal your UID and password and cast your vote

But I think these issues can be addressed and should not be a detterent to this idea. Of course if you are worried that someone might steal your UID and password then I think this is a matter of personal responsibility and not a drawback of this system.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Noosphere

Some half cooked ideas and some thoughts for the reader's  pleasure and my records. Why for my records? Because if anything that I write below happens, I will have to opportunity to say - "I told you so."

Last evening when I was relaxing in onsen in my gym, it struck me, it was not just like the moment of Eureka, it was the moment of Eureka. A little bit of background first, the Little Green men in Toy Story series and Buzz Lightyear movie, live in a planet where they have developed a machine that keeps that connected all the time (in every sense imaginable). If someone discovers something, everybody knows. If someone is lost, everybody knows the location of the lost. This system has helped them develop a very strong community and which in turn has helped them fight against the invading aliens.

After a little bit of googling, yahooing, binging and yodeling (ok! I just googled)..I found out that these green men live in a planet called Noosphere.

Now the interesting part, "the Eureka moment", I realized that this is actually happening. We are e-mailing, blogging, facebooking, twittering, buzzing, orkuting, likedin-ing. All this is now available in our mobile devices. All this is networking, what about knowledge, news, data? Well do I really need to answer that?

Some companies and governments are working on a chip that can be implanted into our bodies (albeit its criticism) and so on. In short, we are now in some ways actually working toward the future as seen in the world of the little green men.

Somethings still need to be developed though and may perhaps be our biggest challenge before the noosphere can completely see the sunlight.

a. Democracy/Governance : The question or the challenge is - Can we really achieve facebook democracy? Something like the person with most no. of "Likes" is the president of the world. Sounds laughable, right?. And decisions are made instantly by real time consensus.

>> I am too excited about this aspect of noosphere (specially in the context of Indian politics) and so I want to discuss this in a separate post. Actually I am simultaneously drafting a sperate post for this.

b. Monetary system: We have internet banking but what about network banking? Honestly I don't know what "Network Banking" means. I just made it up. :)

c. Currency - Now this may sound crazy but why do we have exclusive currencies in all the countries. Since money is already dealt as a commodity in the trade markets then why not allow the common man to take advantage of all the currencies of the world like say soaps. Example, In a situation like this RBI and US Federal bank not banks but competing companies and their respective product being Rupee and Dollar.

d. Markets

e. Medical & Emergency situations - Since everybody in the noosphere know about everybody else, we can actually save more lives.

f. Disaster & Relief - Nobody can control natual disaster (right now) and even if in future we remain powerless against nature, we  will still have enough information to conduct swift and effective relief work.

g. Crime Control - Crime control in noosphere reminds me of Tom Cruise movie Minority Report but of course without the precogs.

Probably Facebook isn’t such a bad thing to happen to the world after all. It is a step toward the noosphere. Looking forward for the noosphere, developers are you listening.