The Chip Van that Tweets

(info box from Interfaces report on first Tiree Tech Wave — see main report)

Although the group project sounds (and was!) light-hearted, there are some important issues at play, both technological (such as the use of Twitter as communications middleware) and philosophical (such as the remote physical re-presentation of virtual abstractions of reality).

However, perhaps most interesting was the way this small exemplar touched on many key issues of rural and island life. One is the combined problem of scarcity of services and distance. Although an island seems small, in fact with a distance of 14 miles end to end, it is possible to have driven 15 minutes only to find that you mistook the opening hours and the fish van is closed. In a city you can just go on to the next takeaway, but on the island you may find yourself with no supper at all! Such issues make communication and planning even more critical in rural settings than in the city where one has a wider range of choices.

The roles of individuals are also crucial. In the city there are many takeaways and many employees in each; in a more dispersed rural community many services are one-person businesses: if the owner/proprietor is sick or on holiday, the service may cease. This can also affect critical services such as health or policing.

(back to Interfaces report)


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