There’s been a bit of turmoil lately about Uber coming to Balkans. It’s a bit like with fracking. Let me elaborate a bit, ok?
Balkans is the territory where during the nineties wars it was normal to destroy a medieval city in order to rob a duty free shop. In undisturbed natural evolution and mainstream inauguration of that mindset we now faithfully adapt to the new rules of Das Kapital and have zero problem with collapse of inherited social systems. One of the elements of the dominant rhetoric is the rush to the cash register unhindered by such boring and old fashioned stuff as human rights, environment and all other hippy-commie externalities.
I believe that the best in-a-nutshell critique of Uber was done by non other than Joshai Benkler at Davos couple of months ago:
If you don’t know this man, and pretend to be interested in living in globalised information society, then drop everything you are doing and go read his Wealth of Networks.
Anyway this is where Uber and fracking are one and the same thing. (insert your own comparison here — beauty of foreign investment, 75-95% of cash going out of the country, irreparable damage to the environment / crushing of the labour rights…) And once the water subsides we stay stranded like the people of Easter Island.
When I sat down to hammer an inspired post about evils of capitalism, comparing social and environmental damage and getting ready to be all gloomy, an idea ran through my head. For a game.
Imagine a game layer on top of Uber. Simple right? You are a Uber user, and while you wait for your dude to arrive you get to chose your weapons (buy some by earning mileage points or w cash) and inspect the playfield. It may look like that Google PacMan game. Once you are in the car it becomes a weaponised vehicle ready to fight other users. It is not hard to imagine this being a boost for longer rides.
No, this is a movie plot. Two best UberShooter gamers in town are taxi drivers and the story leads to the inevitable showdown. In the end (Benigni and DeNiro) end up playing chicken with their super-charged yellow cabs. Here’s a little pic from twitter to give you an idea (this is reality):
This somehow reminds me of the academic buzz thing from few years ago called Context Collapse. A sweet sounding way to talk about massive palimpsest of contextual layers of all our actions in an online environment. For instance Snafu uses the expression in this clip: