Ultimately, the success of the program is not about the performance of technology, but the efforts of the people behind it. The same systems that can bring accountability and transparency can be used for mass-surveillance and digitized discrimination.
Hey, that sounds familiar.
Tarun Wadhwa is correct to focus on the organizational, entrepreneurial, aspects of UID and the disruption and disintermediation it has the potential to bring.
I believe this is the first time I’ve used the term disintermediation in the blog, though Fareed Zakaria used it in his iterview with Nandan Nilekani in the video here.
Disintermediation is a fancy word for the elimination of middlemen. In government programs it is often considered to be a good thing. But one of the challenges of UID is that “about 50% of the human race is middle-men and they don’t take kindly to being eliminated.”
Middlemen who add value in the supply chain aren’t easily replaced by technology. The really smart ones adopt the technology that threatens their position, if they can.