In the middle of the boundless sea of automatic machines, if you're lucky, there are a few that make no difference at first glance, but are actually designed to offer much more than a snack or a drink.
These "giving machines", or it would be good to call them "gift vending machines" allow people to donate essential items to local and international charities with a simple touch of their card. Are they the future of solidarity? Here is the #LightTheWorld case.
Instead of dispensing snacks and fruit juices the machines offer a wide variety of charitable options. A dozen meals can be donated to the nearest homeless shelter; providing textbooks to a disadvantaged school. Even giving a couple of chickens to a family.
There are currently only ten of these functioning gift vending machines in the world.
The one pictured accompanying the article was unveiled just last week in the city of Denver, Colorado. It will be present in the busy Writer's Square, a square in the city center, until January 1st (why not further?).
Vending machines for gifts to the needy are an initiative launched by a religious organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are part of their campaign #LightTheWorld, which aims to encourage people to give practical help during the holiday season.
Other machines have been positioned here and there around the world: even in Hawaii, London and the Philippines.
"These gift vending machines are an example of the great things that can happen when many people decide to take a small step," says Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, which is part of the organization. "This is what 'Light The World' means: turning on the world one person at a time. When each of us gives what we can offer, our little light adds to a great glow of hope."
A growing trend. Automation will be the future of solidarity
This is the third year of life for "Giving Machines". Gift vending machines raised over € 2 million for local and global charities last year. Total donations for 2019 will be continuously updated throughout the season and will be available on the website by #LightTheWorld.
It will not be an isolated case. For some time we have been able to donate small amounts of money from our ATMs to entities such as Telethon or emergencies such as the earthquake in Abruzzo.
These are the embryonic stages of a future of solidarity made up of ever-increasing automation. The domain ofartificial intelligence he can also have his say on this issue, and it is not difficult to imagine sooner or later the birth of a startup that allows you to manage your "good heart" automatically. Maybe letting us choose how much to donate each year and entrusting an AI to recover the cents of change from transactions, to reach that amount without even realizing it.
For enthusiasts it will be an opportunity to multiply aid. For the skeptics it will only be a profit opportunity for companies, and little or nothing will become concrete support. For romantics, even the help will lose its meaning if it does not allow you to exercise empathy. For pragmatistsFinally, what matters will be to help, and the results speak for themselves.