Saturday, January 30, 2016

Ask Izzy app right up Malcolm Turnbull's alley

Yesterday, heard Malcolm Turnbull on the wireless spruiking an app for homeless people to access services called Ask Izzy. Easy to see why he was so over the moon about it. After all, it was an example of the cutting edge digital technology that the ultra-wired PM just adores. So he could use his fave phrases about agility, etc:

“This application, this website, is the type of innovative, collaborative and agile thinking that success in today’s world demands,” Turnbull said.

The cliches were comin' thick and fast. Half-expected him to say "because of this app, there's never been a more exciting time to be homeless!".

The fact that it was meant to help society's downtrodden gave it that touchy-feely, huggy-wuggy element that those full of a sense of their own moral virtue find so intoxicating.

“It’s an example of using all the resources at our disposal to harness the power of technology to make a difference. [What] you’ve done is an example of what can be achieved when a social conscience, when deep love combines with technology, pragmatism and focus on the customer.

“This is an outstanding example of everything successful, progressive, compassionate, 21st century Australia will be. A country that is known for its innovation, for its compassion, for its love and support of those less fortunate.”

Dunno about you, but parts of that passage make a tad queasy -- especially the bit about "deep love". Blech! Last time "deep love combined with technology" was when Malcolm took a selfie. And the same narcissistic emotions were motivating him at the launch, IMO. He was saying "Look at moi. I care!"

So Turnbull was getting a nice big shot of gooey feels by launching the app -- as were the mostly left-leaning hacks present by reporting it. So good press was guaranteed. Much more appealing than making hard decisions about serious issues that affect the whole country. You know, like the threat of terrorism.

Which is not to say that homelessness is not a serious issue that needs to be addressed. But with an app?

I don't doubt the goodwill of those who created it. They were sincerely trying to help, I'm sure. But how many people are gonna use it, really? Ever seen a hobo with a smartphone?

Me neither.

1 comment:

  1. I feel I have to comment and educate you on the use of mobile & smart phones by those experiencing homelessness and by those under threat of homelessness (e.g. "couch-surfing") I can assure you that the people who developed this app did their research and discovered that the homeless ARE connected - 95% own a mobile phone & 77% have a smartphone. Others have done their research too - see: From the start the app was developed with input from the client group who tested it and gave great feedback. Ask Infoxchange how many people use it - ASK IZZY usage will be very closely monitored. The homelessness services and supports are already there Matt - this app helps the client group access those services. I despair at your closing comments - like I do when I hear people say "real refugees don't have mobile phones".
    "Ever seen a hobo with a smartphone?" Do you really need to use the term "hobo"? "society's downtrodden" can do without that moniker don't you think?