Tuesday, 18 March 2014

[android-app] hiker-zen


Citizen hitch-hiker app: The app works with the google maps app to locate people on your path that share some or all of your journey.

How it works

The driver, (CHD) searches for their destination, (google maps called from hiker-zen) and indicates which vehicle they are using, (car, van, bus) and any variation, (one back seat is taken with a child.)

The app locates citizen-passenger-hikers, (CPH) that are located along the path, (the app 'rounds' your location to the nearest bus stop or other feature so that it does not leak your home-address.)

Preferences can be set by the driver, (height, weight, gender, age) for the CPH. (Or just people in your contact list or social-network.)

When the two mobile devices are brought into proximity the CHD and CPH pair their devices, (blue-tooth, wifi, Infrared). This then starts to tally the social capital, (two citizen-hiker currencies) of distance and time. (You may take someone quickly on a long motorway or slowly through inner-city traffic.)

The capitol can be used to verify a user, (dynamic web of trust) to suggest remuneration, (shared cost of shipowner or fuel costs) and eventually in other locations like parking fees.

Passengers can "fine" a driver for:
agressive driving;
Inconsiderate driving;
dangerous driving;
failing to indicate at a roundabout or junction.

The simplified interface would simply have a thumbs down for "I feel uncomfortable" and a thumbs up for "I'm impressed", when the CPD makes space to let another driver into the flow of traffic.

After the journey the users can vote, "I would do it again" for that journey with that, (those) people. If it is reciprocated then that connection would be weighted preferentially, (though there must be a 'break-up' function so that the user can manually veto a user at a later date, and 'make-up' to remove the veto.)

Abuse concerns

How do we prevent abduction?

  The past may be no indication of the future but as each bit of social capitol is part of a digital crypto-currency and each event is signed by the users instance of the app, users should be able to determine compatibility. Another attack would be for the app to automatically 'tweet' the other persons unique ID, and location - so the two citizens don't commence the shared portion of their journey until the public notification is acknowledged by the public forum/email server.

How do we prevent mining?

The two mobile devices should be able to verify that they are on the same journey from sensor data, (GPS, accelerometer, barometer). The real question is how do we digitally encode a users data into their app so that a malicious person can't simple purchase, (steal) ten devices, invent a bus and then drive the devices about on the back of a bicycle [0] to 'mine' social capitol? (Capitol that could later be used to fraudulently impersonate a good citizen with the intent to perform an unacceptable act.

Spot checks by curtain twitchers: A twitcher (CTW) could be notified of an alert [1]

If the CTW thinks that they have seen the event they can verify, (by pressing the confirm button) or by taking a picture.

Other consers?
Do you see any problems with this idea and how to solve them? How would you implement this?

Some versions already exist for real-time car-pooling.

[0] No reason why a CHD can't give give a lift to a CPH on a bicycle, but it would be unusual for a CHD to regularly lift ten CPH at the same time.
[1] Probably in JSON: {journey: { vehiclue: {type: "car", colour:"blue", make: "Bently"};  people: [adult: "2", child: "3"] };

The problem with perception is that people: [ men: "2", women: "2" ] is open to interpretation of gender expression, so the app will have to be flexible and as granular as the CHD and CPH want to express themselves that day. The app will have to take the simplest common denominator, so if a vehicle has {people: {men: "1", women: "3", adult: "2" } } then the app for the CTW would display, "6 adults?" as the question.
Infants are often not visible but the app should have them and pets as categories.

As with the people the vehicle details will have to be simplified and obfuscated, "A red sedan with license 41H ***?"

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