Another dot in the blogosphere?

Moving with the times

Posted on: July 29, 2014

Recently I read about the Uber controversy in Korea.

Uber is an app and service that connects people who need rides to people willing to offer rides for a fee. However, it is illegal in most countries for cars and drivers not designated as taxis and cabbies to get money for their transport service. The authorities would cite safety, regulation, and other issues for opposing the service.

Uber has safety measures, a driver vetting process, and anonymous feedback. How many regular cab companies have such tight feedback loops?

The service takes advantage of human behaviour and solves a problem. How many times have you offered to contribute to the petrol bill of your ad hoc or regular driver? There are also never enough cabs where and when you need them. There is a ready solution of drivers with empty seats and passengers willing to pay for a ride.

Even though Uber lists its service here, I do not know anyone who uses it or if there is enough critical mass in Singapore. But I do know that this is how change happens. Often without permission.

Some people like to think of change as orderly and top-down. But this is a false perception and misplaced comfort. If you look into significant social, political, and policy changes, you will find ground-up, messy, and even unlawful processes. Think about the changes behind things that range from the everydayness of Facebook to women’s right to vote in various countries.

Over time the unusual becomes acceptable. Given more time it becomes the norm. But change always seems to start with discomfort or dissonance.

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