Transparentization and Freebase
In the perfect world we can track every product back to their components, to fields, mines and factories. In the real world this is not even closely possible, since the manufacturers themselves may not know the origins of their raw materials or even labour. We can go around this problem by adding propabilities to value chains. Thanks to Kalle Määttä for the genious idea. I remember reading that 75% of all cocoa production happens in West-Africa and that it is not rare there to see child labour, even child slaves. If a chocolate manufacturer doesn't know or doesn't want to tell where their cocoa comes from, it comes from West-Africa with a 75% likelyhood and possibly made by children. Propablities can be expressed using percentages, or what I like more, using unambiguous words. "May contain small traces of nuts" goes ethical: "may contain small traces of child labour".
The problem with this is the execution. Creating a data model that supports every possible link in the world of value chains is hard. It is even harder to communicate the idea to users through an understandable user interface. And finally, it is almost rocket science to make all information editable by the users themselves, keeping track of changes, managing administrative rights and keep the user inferface usable.
Luckily, yesterday I found Freebase. It a database, very much similar to what I have been thinking for Consumer Gadget. Freebase is a semantic database containing similar knowledge to Wikipedia, but that is computer readable. This makes Freebase poor compared to very nicely formatted Wikipedia articles, but powerful to applications that want to filter the information. I hope Freebase has a bright future, because my thought of Transparentization and Freebase can work well together. Let's see how the discussions with their developers go. I hope the word "ethical" doesn't scare them.