I often wonder about different perspectives on something I'm looking at.
One perspective that has been bugging me lately is the IT revolution and how it might affect waste. Specifically, the sort of hyper-innovation that has ripped computing from the basement and lab coats into smartphones and cloud computing in the space of 50 years.
This is not a question of how computing per se is affecting waste. Of course, there are some interesting things going on with data management and so on, but it is fundamentally a business built on people circling big and expensive plant: lab coats circling big, expensive machines. Computing has not changed this, and isn't really what is bugging at me.
What bugs me is how and when waste will make the shift from mega-machines to become personalised. When will it become something that we can all find out self-expression through? It is the shift in attitude that interests me.
It sounds absurd to even propose that something like waste could ever become personalised, ever be a medium for self-expression. Just as a basement full of wires and punch cards and blinking lights could never be the genesis of an awesome flowering of personality. But it is, and so too waste might not only be disrupted forever, but might even disrupt everything forever.
How? Imagine first a series of business models that permit the citizen to easily take control of his or her waste for financial reward. The resource value within the waste drives this new perspective, and you start to see the sort of massive reverse logistics that so characterises scrap steel. You start to see a self-reinforcing loop, not needing capitalism to be overthrown for it to make sense.
Imagine this then driven by high-tech. You can imagine little bins that don't just store your rubbish, but deconstruct it for sale of the components, pocket sized units that deconstruct your rubbish when you're on the go. Tiny micro-factories at every street corner replacing the vending machine, taking materials in from people walking by and using them to make your next purchase as you wait, bleeping out little calls to people who have the stuff they need. Credits automatically credited for this, the end of bulk logistics, the ushering in of personalised consumption.
But it doesn't need high-tech, and it certainly doesn't need this high-tech, for the disruption. All it needs is a disruptive business model to start us down the path. That little disruption, that upstart, will set us on the path to changing everything. Just like the clunky mini-computer led us to the PC to the smartphone and cloud computing.
I wonder about this stuff. I'm not so egotistical to think I need to make it happen, but I can't help feeling it is about to happen and now is the perfect time to be involved. I am sufficiently egotistical to think I can be part of the happening.