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Meaningful Metrics for a Smart Society
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Date: 2020-07-15 Page is: DBtxt001.php list0300-Technology-enabling-TVM-1
Definitions for TrueValueMetrics
Technology Enabling TVM

Technology ... Enabling TVM. TVM is grounded in some very old basic concepts of accountancy and measurement. But it is the availability of 21st century data acquisition and data processing infrastructure that makes TVM practical and possible.

In simple ... perhaps simplistic ... terms, TVM is like Facebook except that the central focus is a physical community rather than “me”, the individual person. TVM enables connections not only around “my” friends and interests, but also around the people, organizations and issues that influence and impact the socio-economic performance of the community.

TVM is structured so that the data about a community is organized in useful ways, rather like the way corporate accounting information is organized into accounts and different datasets that make it easy to understand corporate performance. TVM uses some of constructs that make corporate accountancy powerful ... including, not only the money transactions and impact, but also the value dimension of the activities ... both value consumption and value creation.

For data acquisition, there are more and more cost effective electronic platforms, with the mobile phone now being very powerful, ubiquitous, cost effective and easy to use. The phone itself now has the computing power that used to be reserved to large mainframes 40 years ago ... and as a terminal it has amazing versatility both to receive information and to enter and send information.

The SMS text message capability opens up all sorts of possibilities for data acquisition and transmission.

Data organization is facilitated by modern relational database design. The normalization of data makes it possible to have good data consistency ... important for comparative analysis. The administration of a powerful database becomes practical and cost effective when the system is operated using a “cloud” architecture ... an approach that is now possible with widely accessible Internet.

Data analysis is facilitated when there are data available. TVM is a source of neutral data that may be used for analysis when needed. The TVM analysis process is not based on data collection for a specific study, but data collection to help with oversight of the broad progress of socio-economic development. Very large datasets are possible with modern technology ... a impossible large analysis routines may now be routine!

Technology ... Enabling Progress. Technology is rarely talked about as the underlying driver or facilitating factor in socio-economic progress. In ancient times, the great civilizations were all associated with some development of understanding of technology ... the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Vikings.

In more recent times there has been the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution and now the knowledge revolution. Technology has made it possible for amazing developments in transport ... at sea, in the air and on land. Medical science is opening new understanding about disease. Materials technology makes it possible to build materials that are stronger and lighter than any materials found in nature. Food science makes it possible to engineer taste and nutrient content in foods in ways that seem like science fiction.

All of this science and technology facilitates much higher productivity ... much more output. Technology makes it possible to produce more and be more profitable. But merely maximizing profit leaves society inadequately served., and maybe at terrible risk

The food industry may be heading for systemic failure ...

Food Inc. and other documentaries

The 2008 film Food Inc. raises all sorts of questions about the use of technology to maximize production and profit. Is there systemic risk in the modern food sector just the same way that there was systemic risk in the financial sector? For years, other documentaries have tried to alert the public to the disconnect between food surplus and chronic hunger!

Climate change may be setting up for irreversible warming. Poverty has bad health outcomes ...

Inconvenient Truth

The film Inconvenient Truth my have it right or not ... but there are a huge number of obscene practices that facilitate profit and pollute the environment. Abject poverty impacts health .. and poor people die prematurely ... and they don't need to!

Technology can help in all sorts of ways ... but only if the system sends the right signals. A system that only measures money profit is not going to optimize the use of science and technology for society ... but merely to optimize its use for profit maximization.

Technology can be the enabler of a TVM system to acquire data and then do data logistics, analysis, storage and reporting. Over the past fifty years there have been multiple major steps in the power, speed and economy of data processing ... and today there is no excuse for a shortage of data about important matters.

The missing value dimension. Value may well be missing from metrics because the people with power ... the establishment ... do not see any benefit from value metrics. What there is at the present is quite good enough. But society at large needs the value analysis because the system now gets profit from value destruction ... and in the end this is catastrophically unsustainable.

TVM is being developed with a value dimension .... and TVM will deploy using all the modern ways of acquiring data ... doing analysis ... and making data available to the public.

Technology facilitates paradigm shift. Throughout history technology has always been the primary limiting factor in making sustainable progress ... but there has been a shift in the last few decades. Technology may now have the power and capacity to do far more than our society will allow it to do.

TVM was designed to be independent of technology ... the data are a logical framework that does not need technology ... but this becomes a million times more powerful when it is matched with the capabilities of technology.

TVM is about data much more than about technology. The ideas of TVM were applicable when paper was the storage medium, and the same ideas still have application in a fast moving digital age. Powerful technology and analytical capability should not be used as a substitute for good data. There is no more place for sloppy concepts in a powerful analytical environment than in the much more power constrained situation of earlier times.

Rapid changes in IT economics are taking place, and it is likely that this will continue. Computational power has increased exponentially for many years and the potential is a long way from being fully utilized.

Stationary centralized computational systems have given way to distributed systems ... to the Internet and to mobile systems. The power has gone up and the costs have come down.

If the cost to power relationship has improved by a factor of 1 million over the past 40 years ... how come a data centric profession like accountancy are not a million times more useful? Why has so little of the potential been used for public good?

Internet and World Wide Web. While TVM is built on concepts that were applicable for pre-computer accountancy, the architecture of the data also works for an electronic environment and Internet accessible data and analysis. As Internet technology has evolved, the need for and use of “broadband” has increased, and most applications now require broadband access for the Internet to be an efficient tool. This has the effect of making the Internet a limiting factor for the universal deployment of TVM. The combination of Internet and other technology driven tools now makes data centric programs cost effective.

Satellite imagery

The text being discussed is available at

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TrueValueMetrics (TVM) is an Open Source / Open Knowledge initiative. It has been funded by family and friends plus donations from well wishers who understand the importance of accountability and getting the management metrics right. TVM is a 'big idea' that has the potential to be a game changer leveling the playing field so the wealth and power is shared on a more reasonable basis between people who work for a living and those that own the economy and the levers of power. In order to be effective, it cannot be funded in the conventional way with a for profit business plan, but absolutely must remain an open access initiative.

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