Straight from a horror story: human "homeless hotspots"
0. phoneArena 12 Mar 2012, 11:19 posted on
SXSW is where tech, pop culture and bad taste meet. That’s the only conclusion you can arrive at after seeing this horrific idea become reality: the human hotspot…
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1. tward291 (Posts: 559; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)
this can only be described as shamefull if you wanna help the homeless there are more humane and better ways of going about this. if you look deep this is a corporation which aims to make profit i doubt little if any will go back to the homeless this i f*cking shamefull
34. 0o0blackstar0o0 (Posts: 86; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)
I'm sure these people wanted to do it their not being forced.. its their own choice ..
49. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 1028; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)
Put food in front of a starving dog, and he will eat it! The need for money out shines the moral fiber of how it is obtained, which goes hand in hand with the corporations need for profit
51. PaulNotFromSweden (Posts: 55; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
Are you kidding??!!! And I suppose slaves in the 19th century chose to be slaves? After all, it was better than being lynched for trying to flee. Being forced by economic situation or hardship is hardly a "choice". They are being taken advantage of, pure and simple. It's deplorable.
52. jroc74 (Posts: 5967; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
I dont think you can EVEN BEGIN to compare slavery to this.
Are these ppl being killed, beaten for saying no or resisting???
They dont have to do this, they can continue to do whatever else they were doing. They can do this and also still go to the unemployment office, apply for public housing (kinda hard without a stable address to receive the papers tho), etc
Comparing this to slavery is borderline insane.
2. androidoholic (Posts: 6; Member since: 12 Mar 2012)
As someone who has been homeless in the past I can absolutely tell you that this is a good thing, in their eyes. It keeps them doing something and may just put some money in their pockets or help them to get off the streets. So I don't see why there is such a problem with all of this. Would anyone have a problem with it if it were college students doing this and not "homeless bums"? I think not.
8. tward291 (Posts: 559; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)
the college student would get paid more wouldnt he the same way a undocumented worker gets paid less than a registered one doing the same job when your desperate i mean desperate you will do anything if your better off than somebody you should find ways to help them not exploit them
18. hepresearch (unregistered)
Agreed. Help people, don't exploit them. I really do not see this as a huge exploit, though. The company claims that the proceeds benefit the folks involved, and the people who participate do not necessarily have to do a lot, from the sounds of it. However, I do worry that this could become exploitative if it is not done carefully and with safeguards.
As this program goes on, someone needs to account for the amount of good that is done, the amount of profit that is made, and the amount of labor that actually occurs. I would hope that they strike a decent balance as this goes on... otherwise, if it is too heavily leveraged to profit the company and contributes to the homeless far too little, then it ought to be quickly stopped. At this point, I see it as an experiment that could go either way.
21. Gotchafone (Posts: 23; Member since: 15 Nov 2011)
Employing the Homeless is definitely going to help them. I don't understand why people expect this company to solve all the problems of the world. This makes sense from a business and humanitarian perspective. Especially since most of the homeless people that are doing this are most likely going to congregate to the areas that have the most people, If you want to solve problems, create real solutions. Don't sit on the sidelines and wag your finger at someone trying to give someone an opportunity. These guys are not being expoited, they have every right to turn these opportunities down.
22. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4791; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
How is this exploitation? No one is forcing these people to do this. They are doing it by their own free will. I could understand if they were holding a gun to their head & said you NEED to do this.
Exploitation it is not. I understand that some people go homeless because of certain circumstances but other just choose to be homeless or are lazy & rather live that way. If you were homeless & someone offered you this, would you say no?
Maybe this is a way to get people out of their funk & finally remember what it’s like to actually get a check. Maybe this will be the stepping stone that gets them out of their depression & back to the productive/working side of the public. Or it can just make being homeless easier, meaning they don’t have to beg for food or money.
In other words it’s their CHOICE not exploitation!
26. hepresearch (unregistered)
But how much choice do you have when you cannot even meet your own needs? I think that is the point others here are trying to get across. So, I agree that these folks are choosing to do this, but I think that their desperate situation increases their likelihood of agreeing to it. Do I like what is going on? No, I do find it demeaning and reprehensible that a person must stoop to the level of being human networking hardware... but what other choice is there? I don't hear of many opportunities for homeless people to be a part of something that gives back a little bit, and rewards them even a little for such a service.
It is sad that we have come this far in producing an impoverished population of "second-class citizens", which is the way they are treated even though they are people just like you and me. They need more opportunities. If they accept these opportunities, even if they are humbling and demeaning, then the hand-outs will go farther in helping them, and they will begin to be able to provide for themselves as they learn how to work again. I have hope that this can be used to do good for these folks.
32. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4791; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
You know there are more degrading & demeaning things out there that the homeless can be doing or are doing. You have to understand that some people just don't have the ability to function as a productive member in the working class. Some people are mentally disturbed or some people just choose to do this. Some people may be content with this, we will never know people's needs unless we put their shoes on.
Yes it's sad that this is happening but in life you have to fight & work through tough times. If we don't work we will be homeless. At least these people are giving the homeless a choice, which is more than most people ever do. Some charities are bogus & some charities do actual good.
This can be a good thing for the right person as it can be a very bad thing for the other type of person. The common denominator is that these homeless people are getting a choice & there should not be anything wrong with that!
Even productive members of the working class make the wrong choices & do degrading & demeaning things. There could be a girl doing tricks at night after her day job for whatever reason. There could be that very wealthy CEO who buys his drugs after their done with work. We will never know what skeletons are in peoples closets unless we put their shoes on.
So we really can't be mad at these people for putting something on the table for the homeless folks out there.
43. Victor.H (Posts: 631; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Wow, never thought I'd need to explain why I think that's wrong, but here we go. First and foremost, it sends the wrong message - that a couple of bucks and food are worth more than human dignity. Why it says that? Because it offers no long term solution to the problem of the homeless, but uses them as a one-time marketing trick.
Sure, it might draw attention to the problem of homeless people. They could as well sit on homeless people instead of on a chair - I bet that'd even better marketing.
Second, why is it degrading? Because there's no need whatsoever to use people for mobile hotspots. Oh, wait, there is a need - the need of marketing! And yes, college students would be equally degraded if they chose to be a "human hotspot." That would not be smart, but it wouldn't be that shocking because it'd be funny and weird that they chose to do so illogically, without being forced by the circumstances.
And yes, I'm aware that most homeless people will be glad to take this money and food because they've already been robbed of (or chose to abandon) their dignity. Going back to slavery days, some people were also happy to get a loaf of bread. Hope that makes my point clearer.
3. PimpStrong (Posts: 310; Member since: 25 Jul 2011)
So what do you call the people at Verizon who deliver a temporary mobile 4G station? If this homeless guy had a vehicle then it would be seen as a "legit service" and no one would have a problem with it.
There are worse jobs/services...
4. tward291 (Posts: 559; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)
so ok to take advantage of someone situation the fact that you can attempt to justify this shows how lil we judge the human worth
6. TKFox007 (Posts: 303; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)
And you know that many people will be completely ignorant that this is happening as all they'll think is "Ooh, 4G hotspot" and not even know that it's a homeless person.
10. hepresearch (unregistered)
Is the company at fault for letting these people provide a service to people who don't care about anything but a 4G hotspot, or are we at fault for not bothering to pay attention to how we are getting 4G access in the first place? If you happen to come upon a 4G hotspot, and you actually take the time to look and see where it is coming from (in this case a homeless person), perhaps you will then have an opportunity to thank them for their service and share kind words or encouragement with them. If you care enough, then you have an opportunity in this situation to do good for someone less fortunate than yourself... however, if you could care less, then this really is a benefit to no one at all.
44. Victor.H (Posts: 631; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Why on earth would someone look to see where a 4G hotspot is coming from at SXSW?
7. hepresearch (unregistered)
Are these people being forced into this human hotspot servitude by BBH, or are these folks choosing to do this? I would say this looks like a conscious choice on the part of the participants... no forced labor here. I would hope they can benefit from it if they are choosing to be a part of this. Is this reprehensible? I would agree that it is demeaning, but if I were homeless (and I almost was on a couple of occassions... I was very lucky and blessed to be able to avoid that, though) I would sure want something to do that was worthwhile and of service to others, especially if I got some benefit, even if a small one, from it.
It is like the old saying... "Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish, and you'll feed him for a lifetime." I would hope, although this is a humbling and demeaning thing to choose to endure, that these folks could use this stumbling-block as a stepping stone to get to a better place in life.
9. tward291 (Posts: 559; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)
taking advantage of someones desperation is no different than force
12. hepresearch (unregistered)
So, what are YOU doing to allevaite the desperation of the homeless?
15. tward291 (Posts: 559; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)
all it takes it an act of kindness i always give whenever i see someone on the side of the road take time to just care i am bless that i didnt lose everything i had when i came back from my deployment for more reasons than you can understand so me and my mother always go out and hand out gift cards and such. couple months ago i met a homeless guy and i knew him i had served with him in afghanistan long story through the grace of god i was able to contact va and now his in a treatment center im always striving to help homeless vet because that could of been me do yourself a favore and do some goodwww.nchv.org/howtohelp.cfm
24. hepresearch (unregistered)
Awesome! It is good to see someone being proactive in helping others. And thank you for your service, sir. I would not have liberty today without people like you over the years who have risked all to stand between our loved homes and the war's desolation.
16. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)
"Hey, Joe-Schmo... what are you standing on that street corner for?"
-"Well, sir. I stand here at least 12 hours a day begging for change and then I take the $3 and buy a shooter."
"Hey, Joe-Schmo... what are you standing on that street corner for?"
-"Well, sir. I stand here for at least 12 hours a day providing internet for people in the area and a company pays me
$xx.yy for my time. Then I take the $xx.yy and buy myself a bottle and a burger."
Situation two includes not only a larger quantity of alcohol but also food!
No one is taking advantage of anyone. These people are not qualified to hold normal jobs as mentioned above (in most cases)...
23. hepresearch (unregistered)
Then let's help them get qualified for better jobs... I contribute to charities that my church operates which benefit people here and in other nations.
I contribute to the Perpetual Education Fund, a charitable fund which helps people in impoverished nations to get better education through no-interest loans, which they pay back after they are able to obtain a job in their chosen career field, often in their native countries... it is funded by charitable donations of members of the church I attend from around the world, and all loans are eventually repaid, becoming available to fund the next group of prospective students.
I also contribute to the church fund that is used for disaster response both in the US and across the world. I also contribute what are called "fast offerings" which I give once a month when we have a special Sunday service in which we skip two meals and give the money we would have spent, or more if we have the means, for the purpose of helping those in our area who have unmet needs.
I also participate regularly throughout the year in service projects locally and in nearby states where we feed people who come to us seeking a meal, and at food banks as well.
I do other charitable activities and giving as well, but I am sure there are more ways for me to help others than I am currently doing, so I am striving to do more whenever opportunities present themselves. So, I do my best to do my part.
Until a person has been "taught how to fish", they still need some "fish" given to them... so hand-outs are a necessity at first, but they are not the entire solution. The government loves to give hand-outs, but very rarely do I see them try to do anything beyond that... so I am a little hopeful to see someone offering people the opportunity to do something, rather than just receive hand-outs. It has to start with little steps somewhere...
25. tward291 (Posts: 559; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)
that is great what you do makes a difference we all could do more but we can only do what we can do you sir are a good man in your efforts to better your community god bless your cheerful heart
28. hepresearch (unregistered)
Thank you, sir. I must confess that I have been unable for the past 6 months or so to do much of the charitable giving I had been doing before... between unemployment and my battle with cancer, I have been, well, on the receiving end of the fast offerings on a couple ocassions. I am thankful to have experienced this, though, as it gave me hope in a time when I felt there was none. Now that my health is returning to normal, and I will be seeking employment again shortly, I am looking forward to begin giving again, and I have started doing charitable activities even though I cannot afford to give much money. I have been greatly blessed by the good will of others, especially my parents and my friends at church and locally in the community, and by God, of course. Thank you again for your kind remarks, and may God also be with you, sir.
11. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)
iDoubt that any of the proceeds garnered by this malevolent endeavor will actually go towards the Homeless. This is just another way to milk the generosity of humanity to create revenue stream for a corporation. If you truly want to help out the Homeless hand out P&J sandwiches with fresh juice or give the downtrodden something clean to wear.
13. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)
This isn't about hand outs. This is about the company profiting from their service in a way that also happens to employ homeless people.
I support it. No where did they say "we are doing this with the sole intention of helping the homeless!"...
14. hepresearch (unregistered)
Endless hand-outs? Seriously? They do need things like that on a daily basis, but if all we do is give hand-outs, then how do they ever get a chance to pull themselves up and out of their desperate situation? In order to become employed, they need a shelter where they can receive mail or have telephone access, and then they need free/low-cost/subsidized job training and opportunities to enter the local workforce. Hand-outs are necessary in the short-term, but if you want to make a long-term difference, then education and workforce integration is a necessity. Hand-outs do not build up a person, but better opportunities taken and experienced often do.
"If you can't give a man what he needs, then at least give him hope. If you can't give a man hope, then at least give him something to do."
20. tward291 (Posts: 559; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)
i do agree with you on this endless handouts will not work it just puts a bandaid on the situation. there needs to be stubility reducation a real investment. if we teach them help them back in the work force than things would change
19. Gotchafone (Posts: 23; Member since: 15 Nov 2011)
What? How about the money THEY ARE PAYING THE HOMELESS! Nothing you described does more than put a band aid on a festering wound. Keep thinking you're really helping people by donating your ratty old tshirts.
17. Tarzan (Posts: 63; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)
Not a perfect job but hey something is better than nothing ....
What about clowns at circus who make us laugh ?
Or teams mascots who we make fun of ?
Or those young kids at super markets carrying their employers name on the chest and back ?
Those are also REAL people. I remember a saying, God helps those who help themselves.
27. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
Something i think everyone has overlooked here is that for this idea to work long term, the homeless people being used for this have to remain homeless. Either that, or there has to be more homeless people taking the jobs after the previous homeless get out of their situation.
29. hepresearch (unregistered)
Why bother to see this as a long-term solution? I don't. I can't wait for the day when there are no more homeless people because they have all become able to support themselves, and when they have trouble their neighbors are charitable enough to help them out for as long as they need to get back on their feet. But, for the purpose of helping the homeless to have hope of gainful service to others and rewards for their service, I see this as possibly a decent thing to do. They should run this as a program that, through charitable giving of opportunity and career education/training to the homeless, is designed to put itself out of existence in time. By then, there will likely be much more 4G infrastructure that is permanent, anyway.
31. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
You don't understand. Either this idea will crash and burn, or the company will end up finding ways to keep the homeless on the streets and providing signal to their customers. In other words, this bulls**t will only serve to enslave those who are already disenfranchised.
33. hepresearch (unregistered)
... or the company will start creating permanent infrastructure to replace the folks who work their way up through the program and move on to other employment, so that they will not need to rely on a constant stream of new homeless people. The only way this works is if they are charitable enough to see these people as people, and not as exploitable hardware... and yes, I saw that statement in the article, too, but hopefully it was not meant to be taken in that context entirely... otherwise, they will either succeed, as you say, at enslaving impoverished people, which I would hope we would stand up and say something against it, and get them shut down, or they WILL crash and burn on their own.
I don't think we have heard enough, or know enough, yet to be able to make that call right away. We have not yet seen the results of how this works out for those who are now the early partcipants. Treat this like an experiment at first, and then judge it by the product in terms of how well participants are elevated (or how badly they are not elevated)... then act accordingly. The results will be easy to figure out... just take the time to ask someone who is a participant how they feel it is working out for them in meeting their needs, and how they feel they are being treated. The answer, one way or the other, will become obvious in time.
36. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4791; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
No Sniggly, this is not to keep the homeless, homeless. They ultimately make that choice. Remember some people are homeless because of the times. The economy is really bad at this moment.
Some people just can’t function in a working society, some people have mental problems, or some people will simply choose to be homeless.
In history in every civilization there have been homeless. During good times & bad. The homeless will never truly go away.
Who knows this can be a stepping stone to the right person in bringing them back from a time in their lives where they lost all hope, or it can be just an enabler for the lazy homeless person who is content with this life style.
Either way this falls on the individual to make that choice & I for one am happy that the homeless at the very minimum have that choice!
42. Gotchafone (Posts: 23; Member since: 15 Nov 2011)
How about this BECOMES the homeless persons dayjob. They find a place to live and commute to wherever they think they can get the most people to connect to them. HOLY MOLY BUSINESS
30. avgjoe (Posts: 14; Member since: 31 Aug 2010)
This man Im sure was made fully aware of what was going on. We have no idea if he was part of a back-to-work program, or he may be in a better position than the story was written. He may have been 10 days off the street & his giving back to help people he knows get to where he is. There are plenty of people who are "less fortunate" and simply need a chance. If your family was in need, that could be you too. Be thankful for what you have...namely this smartphone and service you can afford being negative
35. Captain_Doug (Posts: 984; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
You guys are ridiculous. Homeless people don't need handouts, that's the whole homeless attitude. If you've lived in the bronx or harlem you understand. Handouts make the situation worse. They expect it to be given to them so they sit back and do as little as possible to get by. The social security, food stamps, all that stuff is abused and I'd say 70% of the people who receive it, don't need it. It's infuriating to see those people lay back and make a mockery of the system because the other 30% really do need it. They are the reason that the system is in place, but for those that abuse it, good riddance. Anyway, I think this is a great idea. At least it's some semblance of a job. Although the job is probably just given to them too. No one earns anything these days...
37. downphoenix (Posts: 3143; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)
I dont see a problem with it as long as proceeds are going to the Homeless like they claim.. Would you rather they beg you for money? I think that is more demeaning personally. Plus they get a snazzy shirt out of the deal too, most homeless dont have the luxury of clean clothes.
38. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 645; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)
This comment section is all over the place, people with one sentence replies and crying exploitation and other things and have nothing to support it. This whole thing seems to be geared toward taking advantage of the homeless who are basically just littering the streets as they have no place to be or to go. It is giving them something to do with pay, therefore a reinforcement of trade, not a damn handout that so many like to receive. If you keep giving people things without them actually having to work for it, it slowly becomes something that they expect and that isn't what you want. Work for pay, sure from the outside it looks like it's taking advantage of homeless, but it's more or less giving them something to do while providing a service. This company has come up with an idea, what is everyone else doing? Nothing, complaining, finding fault claiming all sorts of things but in the end still doing nothing.
I do hope that somehow this can be spurned to create a place to educate the homeless that need educating, not all homeless are uneducated, heck seen some college grads living on the streets, yea it can happen to anyone. Just needs to keep it's promise to not take advantage and needs to be kept visible so we can see what's going on and lets assume they have a goal road map. Before you complain perhaps ask yourself about the plethora of other programs that have been offered to the homeless and have they helped? You can't stop at just a few, have to keep trying as some people find things that help them within different programs but then you have to figure out the cost. Let's wait and see how this works before we cast judgement on it huh?
40. jroc74 (Posts: 5967; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
While it is controversial.... whats the difference between this and handing out papers, putting papers on windshields, spinning a sign promoting some business, etc?
I seen those 3 things being done by homeless ppl and high school kids.
As long as they are not inserting hardware into their bodies....whats the problem? The company can save money on rent, building expenses, employee benefits, etc.
Win - Win for both.
As a matter of fact....my kids mother doesnt have a job. I hope this gets to our area to let her know about it. I just thought of something...what about doing this for ppl that have homes? Place the hardware by the window for the best signal...
If that happens...we might all look back on this day as the beginning of something very nice.
45. Victor.H (Posts: 631; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Yes, valid points about the often meaningless handing out of papers and holding a sign. That scratches deeper problems, but the one I found very alarming here is that the value of a mobile hotspot is put above the value of the person.
This sends the wrong message, actually no, let's make it clear - this IS the wrong message, this is the wrong thinking. A line of thought that we are here for technology, not the other way around.
If you want to go deeper, think about Foxconn and staff in manufacturing working in worse than slave-like conditions. It's not really about the unregulated overtime and the fact that many are underpaid. Jumping out of a building comes from utter despair and utter despair comes when you lose your human value. So, essentially that's what's worrisome. It's not about the money, really.
41. Mandroid (Posts: 209; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)
Maybe I am missing something, but the article didn't say how this works. How exactly do you use a human being as a hot spot? Regardless I support it, I cant believe you people are against this. At least they are giving them a way to earn money, instead of all you keyboard activists that haven't done a thing to help but are quick to shoot down anyone elses idea.
48. Ray.S (Posts: 307; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)
In my opinion, the problem here lies in the wording and the way this campaign is presented. The problem is that they are willing to call these people "human hotspots", which is disgusting and, as Victor said, simply a form of bad taste.
In case they put it like this: "OK, we decided to do give some jobs to the homeless people during the conference. Their job will be to provide the attendees here with 4G hotspot service.", I think it wouldn't have been such an issue. But the way they've decided to do it is somewhat unethical.
50. hepresearch (unregistered)
Alright, that I can absolutely agree with. You've hit it on the head, Ray.
The concept, in its basic form, could help participants out if it is administered properly. However, Ray is correct in that the vernacular used by the company operating this, to describe and support their actions, is absolutely deplorable. The quote in the article by the spokesperson about how these people "are, quite frankly, hardware" (slightly paraphrased) is extremely troubling. I would not want to be too quick to write off an idea that could actually help people to reach up out of bad circumstances, but the wording they use here really quashes my hope. I hope that they did not mean what the context emerged to be... and I suppose we will see where this goes. If it works to help less fortunate folks to get back to work and eventually, but in a shorter-term way, achieve a better life, then I see little problem with it if they improve the language they use as well. However, if this really does end up looking more like a scheme to just use people as "hardware", and the company doesn't stop talking like that is indeed the case, then I'm all for protesting their operation until they get shut down.
53. jroc74 (Posts: 5967; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
Like with most thing in life... " its not what you say...its how you say it"