Lucius Fox

Chief Executive Officer of Wayne Enterprises


Wi-Fi Hotspots Made of Homeless People: Not as Horrible as They Seem

The real failure of infrastructure here has actually very little to do with technology. It’s easy to mock Homeless Hotspots; it’s easy to disdain it; but, really, what would we prefer, the typical combination of ignoring and ignorance that we reserve for most of our dealings with the hundreds of thousands of people who are homeless in the U.S.? BBH is taking a bad situation — the fact that Austin has people who lack homes and jobs and who, given the choice, would prefer to have both — and trying to do something constructive with it. Yes, it’s gimmicky; yes, it’s weird; yes, it’s initially kind of offensive. It’s right that our gut reaction to Homeless Hotspots is disbelief and disgust; it’s right that we’re alarmed at the idea of turning people into platforms. It’s also right, though, that we take the next step to ask ourselves: What’s the alternative? That we go on ignoring homelessness? It’s nice to be reminded that Austin, even in March, is about more than serendipity apps and rooftop pool parties. […]

Yes, there are ironies to it. Yes, there are hypocrisies to it. But they’re ironies and hypocrisies that we should be talking about, rather than outrage-ing and indignation-ing and then moving on. If we’re appalled at the idea of Homeless Hotspots, great. But perhaps we should be directing our indignation at “homeless” rather than “hotspot.”

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Posted at 12:24pm and tagged with: SXSW, Technology, Homeless Hotspots, WiFi, Internet, Social Responsibility, Economy, Homelessness, BBH, Culture,.