• Shayam Bhudia

P2P: How a Pandemic Can Accelerate Adoption of New Technology

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller

We live in times when the paradigms we are used to are changing. The new paradigms take time to get used to and for many of us it presents pain points. Businesses crashing, plans being cancelled, staying locked up at home, or an extra layer of difficulty put on top of otherwise easy tasks.

Fortunately, in the 21st century and especially in 2020, we have the resources and knowledge to help us battle these changes. As Buckminster Fuller said we need to rethink the way we lived our lives – introduce a new model. Technology is an ideal tool to help us through these times and therein lie opportunities for you to grab and take advantage of.

In this article, I will outline some ideas and areas that require technological innovation to help with the changing life-model, and I will write briefly introduce an already existing great use of technology. These are ideas that I encourage you to adapt to, and come up with a solution around or improve upon.

A prominent use of technology: Virtual apartment viewing

As we are approaching the next school year, a lot of students are looking for accommodation. This normally is a simple process, however, coronavirus complicates things. In the U.K. apartments are not open for in-person viewing due to the lockdown, making it difficult to get a feel for a property. To solve this issue, and otherwise better the apartment hunting process, realtors and agencies are using video calls and 3D imaging to show properties. This is a great use of technology, helping to solve a current problem and one that will change how people hunt for accommodation in the future.

Mitigating inequality through P2P

The world has been filled with serious problems long before coronavirus. Widespread inequality or millions of people lacking medical coverage (access to services is limited for people who lived outside cities). Now during the virus outbreak, these inequalities got amplified. They affect more people than before and in turn, its effects on the wider population have increased. As the number of people who have no means to access certain services increases, the consequences are shown in the economy as time goes on. We are still at the beginning of the economic fallout that has started during, and will follow the pandemic. It is now time to have as many supporting factors helping the economy stabilise as possible. This is where peer-to-peer (P2P) comes in.

P2P technology has the potential to distribute equal opportunities and reestablish a long lost form of trust in society. A form of inequality in our civilisations is centralised power. This is not the same as authoritarianism, instead, central powers are responsible that everyone gets equal opportunities. Trade between humans is always based on some form of trust. Trust started as a face-to-face interaction when humankind first started interacting with one another. This later evolved into communities exchanging goods on an increasingly larger scale. The real change came when money was introduced. The money represented a certain value, but who determined what the value of the coin would be? This is where centralised authorities came into the picture regulating and ensuring security between trading partners. A great model, however, over time and through globalisation, the lack of inclusion for the aforementioned group of people has become an unfortunate side-effect. The same group of people is growing in size.

One of the greater mission of this century is solving the inequality problem on all levels. The reason why it is a particularly hard problem to solve would take us far beyond the scope of this article. Instead, here is a rough outline of a potential solution – an application of P2P.

P2P has the potential to reshape trust in exchange of commodities as we know it today. There is no longer a need be a centralised service that ensures both parties keep to the agreement; we live in a world where ratings help with that. Trust is now established between trading partners directly. The question is: what is to be traded? This can be a wide variety of things from car rides, booked on Uber, to second-hand items, sold on eBay. This helps include people in the exchange in services and products. The items that previously weren’t available are now accessible for almost everyone. There is however a lack of services provided in many fields such as the mental health industry. This industry does not yet have a global (or regional) P2P service that would enable people to give help to one another. The same goes for many other industries: finance, education, skills, and so on.

Your ideas…

What are areas of inequality that you think P2P can solve? Let us know in the comments bellow or through our social media channels.

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