Consumerium Services

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Revision as of 23:10, 20 November 2003 by (talk) (integrating longer essay for direct link from main page, breaking down all issues)
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Consumerium Services (our Visions and Best cases as summarized on the Main Page).

From the consumption perspective Consumerium is about enabling a shift from affective buying behaviour based on illusions to affective buying behaviour based on information on the social and environmental impacts of the production and naturally the perceived quality of the product.

Back end

Credibility of the information is critical. For maximum fairness and feedback, Consumerium will rely on opinion wiki comments compiled by software using a wikitext standard. Semantic link standards may be required also.

We hope to achieve this by building two, consumer accessible, complementary facilities:

  • The Content Wiki where we hope people will build an abundance of neutral information about products and their production processes and all involved factors. The integrity of this information will be negotiated and upheld by peer review in a similar manner as in Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia and furthermore by maintaining a backend data storage called The Consumerium Vault which mostly validates the existance or non-existance of things the articles in The Content Wiki claim to refer to. The goal of the Content Wiki is to be objective.
  • The Consumerium Exchange or The Opinion Wiki - Where strictly formed datastructures are used to record, archive and enable the aggregation of information on the popularity of different opinions, mostly in the form of competing campaigns on issues related to production and consumption. The Consumerium Exchange is very rigid internally, but the view it provides to consumers and producers alike is very fluid and based on ones subjective preferences.

Front end

However it is compiled, advice will probably be seen by the end user as a red/yellow/green light traffic-type signal, or as a score easily translated into a price premium, or as a note in Simple English about issues with, or merits of, the product.

Both of these facilities will be accessible through the Internet, but we hope to work together with the retailers of the world, who seek an competitive advantage by providing a better shopping experience for their clients, to bring access to the shelf front via short-range wireless connections, likely Bluetooth.

All solutions are a tradeoff - "Bluetooth" is not "zero cost". It costs money to buy hardware and more money to keep it up to date. Also wireless services usually cost money. The cheapest devices to do this would certainly not be Bluetooth but dumber analog FM or other RF devices. Don't "Require" hardware that isn't required.

Bluetooth is important to many essential projects in mobility because it allows anonymous (from v1.2 on) and secure access to information resources in close physical range. The consumer as a human can't be protected from things like company, corporation, advertisement agency or algorithms made by any of the previous or whatever other no body.

Release of advice is keyed to bar codes, and may rely on frequently updated data embedded in hand-held devices, and/or dynamic retrieval via short-range wireless to the shelf front.

Where possible, reasons for making buying decisions, or refusing a certain product, will go as feedback to the producers. This gives them the maximum chance to respond, and gets them further involved in alternative ways to organize production, like Slow Food or other sustainable agriculture for food producers. Where the issue is the waste generated by a product, they may actually find alternative product stewardship methods via our wikis and advocacy system. This will assist in creating effective industrial ecology.

Integration and optimization and accounting

This better integration of all that is known about production processes and waste disposal will enhance the consumer experience, advance product development and keep this planet as hospitable as possible for human and other natural life. To be sure of this, we employ the best thinking about economics:

Our styles of capital analysis helps to be perfectly clear about what produces what, and what interferes with what produces what, on Earth and in our human economy, which is just an add-on to nature's services to humans.

By encouraging disclosure of all styles of capital involved, starting with the natural capital (ecoregions where natural resources are extracted, and say the atmosphere where greenhouse gas from production accumulates) we hope to participate in and encourage some accounting reform: changes to the way people measure value and what is valuable.

This is the largest scale on which we can change affective behaviour globally.

What you can do to help improve the services

Please add your own conception of what is possible to best cases, and what is appealing and inspiring but (in your own view) impossible to visions. By keeping track of both, we will eventually figure out who believes in what, and who is willing to work towards what, and better refine our overall goals.

For operational reasons we also track threats and worst cases so as to spot potential legal or integrity problems in the Consumerium Services. By doing this early and publicly, we will end up with a less vulnerable system.

Finally, Consumerium User Stories describe fictional incidents of real users and companies changing their affective buying behaviour for everyone's good. Some of them also focus on attempts to interfere or corrupt or control Consumerium, and how they succeed in corrupting it, or are fought off. With a combination of "good" and "bad" stories emphasizing "features" and "exploits" and the impact of "bugs" in the system, we can find the right terms in which to describe all the above, and the best introduction for developers and designers.

Such use of story fragments is quite common in software development now.