Digital Economy Too Complicated for Citizens

How to make public and utility services accessible for everyone?

YAML [edit]

Organisations that provide public services (transport, doctors, etc) and utility services (water, electricity, heating, etc) move to be paperless and use digital tools for serving clients instead. But not everyone has skills or devices to access digital services, like older people, people with health differences and no family members to support them on the digital transformation, and so on.

So what is the real problem?

Digital services feel like a maze without a map.. How would a person know that specific organisation with a specific website serves a need X?

And then each website feels like a maze without a map too.

Often we don't know the keywords to enter in searchbox, and we can't figure how to use that website.

And in situations where a person doesn't have a mobile device or wifi, how to enable paper service instead of digital one?

So how to ensure that public and utility services are still accessible even for those who dont have devices, Internet or digital skills?

This is a wiki post, feel free to edit a problem statement to make it more to the point. :)

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Human contact is still so important, in moments of info overload. There is google for "find what you need" but when I don't know the keywords, I find more mess.

Instead of "searchbox", one phone number or one chatroom to get answers to all questions would be cool!

It could work like a "Problem Solvers" network, a network of people who have those "maps" of what are the key public services and utility services organisations in specific countries, and they would be available for a call or a chat in a realtime. It'd be cool that these people would have mini offices across the country too, maybe in supermarkets, so that anyone can access this service, even those without a phone.

This should be a government funded initiative, because government exists to care for its citizens, and if people cannot access basic services for a living, so government functions poorly.

It's possible to calculate how many Problem Solvers would be needed to do such a public service job: from a census data take a number of older people, people with longterm health conditions, etc and assume each citizen would need such a problem solving consultation once a month, then compare that with 6 hours working day of a problem solver, and there is some number to start with estimating a budget needed.

This service could help with a loneliness epidemic too!

    : Mindey
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The solution is prbly keep doing what's already there. Change is gradual and should be towards community based living. So, I would not put function of assisting computer challenged people into the gov hands. It should be provided by local community. However, successful models of organizing these efforts can be provided online, or even by gov in it's facilitating role. Then, people will figure out how to apply it in their communities. But, there should be community first, not gov first. Btw, that's a general approach, a recipe to most of issues. And, as you mentioned, human contact is most important. We not building a machine, but a human culture of caring and sharing, with the help of machines. We def don't wanna exclude older and poor folks. Imo, the online tools we building should focus on community needs, rather then enabling an individual rise above community. Once communities are formed, they will figure out the fine grain inside, and take care of weak members. This is the natural flow. So, in summary, online tools help communities, communities help its members, as humans help humans. And, don't expect much help from gov, we building a parallel structure.

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    : Ruta
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One more I'd like to add. Utility companies should not be automated to strictly online services. That's horrible, cold and impersonal. It should be going the other way, where most of energy needs are provided internally by the community, not relying on some monstrous energy Corp outside. Its impossible to plan the transition to a better culture. But there are patterns to follow and encourage. The structure should be more granular,

Life is too complicated for the average person.

I had an idea whereby economic decisions could be made on your behalf to automate all the complexity of investing, life insurances, pensiona, savings, finding work through economic abstractions.

Someone else works to allocate you to a job based on your skills.

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    : Mindey, Ruta
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