Ideas for good: Trustworthy presidents, happiness measuring and NHS cost-savings

BCS members have so far submitted many ideas, each with a differing size and scope. Today we have a distinct societal slant to the suggestions - but also an enthusiastic ten-year-old gives some tips on saving the NHS money!

We have divided the kind of ideas we are looking for into three main strands: Utopian visions, where we are looking for folks to push the boat out and dream; Practical suggestions, looking at what annoys you right now, and asking you to suggest what could we do about it; Re-imagining - a starting from scratch type approach, asking what we take for granted that we could rip up and start again.

Here are some more suggestions.

Re-imagining: Elections

Thangathurai Mathivathanan is concerned about election processes. ‘First and foremost, we should think about the limitations in the current system and why such a system was accepted? You have the chance to elect the president as a citizen of the country regardless of your decision-making ability, skills, trustworthiness and experience. Most often you make your choice by at most checking out the campaigns, the way candidate’s carry out their speeches and the contents and benefits of their plans if they become the president.

‘Do you really think a single day decision of yours for picking such an important person would be accurate, reliable and adequate? Not definitely. In the past, getting feedback from all the citizens of a country, securely and anonymously, would have been an impossible task, but now we can do this more effectively more reliably more securely and more accurately with the aid of advanced computing and networking. ‘

So how we can revolutionise the election system? Thangathurai suggests this should include two phases; the first phase is a primary election, the second an incremental election  

The primary election should be carried out as the usual election system, but enhancing the voters' decision-making ability by making the records and forecasts accessible in the format which is convenient for them. Once a party and a president have been chosen, unlike the current system, they will not be awarded ruling power for the full four or five years. There the incremental election system comes into play.

Every three months after a party and a president have been chosen, voters can access the general election online system by their unique ID and password (anonymity and security should be still maintained) they can still cast their votes if needed. An analysis algorithm should assess the ranks of candidates and reveal the standings. If the ruling party is defeated twice consecutively, they withdraw from the ruling power.

Utopian vision

Tom Noble comments that, as the world is embracing social networking and virtual collaboration at an unprecedented rate, there should be a platform to allow individuals to share their innate feelings to further society and support the masses. While social care, marketing, digital media and many other sectors around the world are able to collate data almost passively, such data does little to influence the future of societal structures nor does it provide a true reflection of current welfare.

By providing individuals with a simple question: 'how are you?' and a binary response (good/bad) we can build a picture of true world happiness and focus resources where they are needed the most. As a concept Sociestat attempts to provide an interface for capturing such data. Every individual can report their current state of happiness and organisations; be it social, economic or commercial; and can monitor and respond to the anonymous data collected.   

What would a world with focused, emotion-driven support be like? Who could benefit from a societal voice that isn't attributed to an individual and is uncontentious? How do you provide dynamic support and care without real data? A world happiness map produced in this way would provide real, honest, collated data sets to help drive a better world; a better society; happier people.

James Cooper, aged ten, tells us that he loves computers. ‘I would like to help the NHS - the NHS who I have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds by breaking bones. I am very grateful to the NHS for fixing me,’ he says.  

‘I want to help people with computing and make it good for society. My idea for the NHS is a computer outside hospitals, where you input your ailment, and it’s connected to the Dr Watson computer (IBM Watson) and it will tell you if you should come in to hospital, go to a GP or home treat yourself. And if you don’t know what to do (to home treat yourself) you press a help button and it will tell you what to do at home. It will save the NHS hundreds of pounds an hour and clear out hospitals and get the very sick treated faster!’

Practical suggestion

Finally, Josh Hyland sets a challenge for all you app developers: Create a pocket business analyst app which helps small business owners to capture, reflect on and refine their business practices. Keep us posted!

Feel inspired?

Any of those ideas push your buttons? Or inspire further thoughts? Share your ideas.

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The Echoes blog showcases the best of the conversations on the BCS Voices debate platform.

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