One of the responsibilities of creators is to imagine a world that is better; I approached the task of a digital interception by thinking about how technological platforms enabling travel could be constructed differently or enhanced. I find beauty in the way transportation systems facilitate movement and migration, connectedness and community — I also see a great deal of potential for transportation apps to facilitate organized spontaneity. This project is an aspirational concept, designed to be a subversion of the Uber app.
In cities where there is active use of public transportation systems, routine routes are often seen as rituals. You are traveling in the same direction and at the same time as many others —there is consistency, there is familiarity. Familiarity is an unspoken form of connection, this is many times sacrificed as a cost for convenience. Many cities also don’t have the infrastructure to support public transportation — this leaves driving, biking, walking, and increasingly the use of apps such as uber and lyft, as the only viable options for getting from place to place. In my life, I am always going from point a to point b. I see missed opportunities for human engagement and discovery.
Uber is convenient — Uber is also a vessel. The Uber app is mediated and rigid. The user sets the departure and destination, the platform controls the route. I am imagining an alternative where neither the user nor the app has control over the route.
My concept for a subverted Uber experience is a platform synched to the Uber app that gives a user the option of taking the “scenic route” instead of traveling directly to a destination. If the user chooses this option, the route would calculate an intercepted route based on the amount of time the user has, and the people, places, things of interest to the user (data gathered through artificial intelligence). When passing by any of these places, UberUnder would give the user information on why they might enjoy that place, and would give the user the option of stopping. With how deeply embedded technology is in society, every person can be tracked at any given moment through location services and artificial intelligence. There are patterns to people’s movement and browsing —this information would be used in a positive way to help mediate coordinated chance encounters.
The counterargument to war is peace, the counterargument to Uber is UberUnder. UberUnder transforms an Uber transaction into a life experience.