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In 2016, more people than ever will be utilizing the sharing economy, such as Uber and Airbnb. This trend is ushering in some very positive cultural shifts. By relying on mutual rating processes and transparency through increased online presence, the sharing economy promotes accountability and discipline in both service providers and consumers. This educates people and businesses to trust and respect one another. It has the potential to bring out the best in us. So how do these mutual rating processes work?

When using Uber, the driver and rider are required to rate each other before the next ride on a scale from 1 to 5. The average rating of a driver and rider is displayed in their profiles. When a driver is called by a rider with a low rating, the driver can choose not to be at service, and declined the rider’s request. When a driver has a low rating (below 4.x), he is asked to take a training class by Uber and is given a probationary period to improve his performance. If the rating is not improved over time, he might not be qualified to continue driving.

No one wants to be rated low and become unpopular providers or consumers. So, we do our best to communicate the facts and play by rules. We treat each other with respect in order to make the best impression. Providers want their consumers to be happy. Consumers appreciate the reasonable pricing and good service that comes with a trust-based business model. Overtime, this behavior training will form certain neuropaths and influence our behaviors for the better.

Airbnb is another good example. You rate your host and your host rates you after your stay. The rating shows online in your profile and can be used as a reference. When my daughter and I travelled through Italy, we stayed in an Airbnb every night. We felt safe to stay with Airbnb families because of the rating given by the previous guests. Not only did we save considerable travel expense, but also, we experienced a more authentic Italy and learned more about the culture from our pleasant Italian hosts.

Technology integration (mobile connectivity, cloud computing and big data analysis) continues to empower this business model through . If you have not yet used any of these services, I would encourage you to give them a try. I think the sharing economy model works with human nature. When our behavior is revealed in public, we think twice before taking a chance that might ruin our reputations. When we trust and respect each other, there is less room to be fearful or harsh.

Therefore, I think the sharing economy brings the best out of people. When the impact starts to shape our culture, people will have more confidence to trust and respect each other. Bullies will become less prevalent in a culture that discourages this behavior. Entrepreneurs will continue to build more services based on the success of the sharing economy business model and advanced technology. Our culture will start shifting. Our world will be transformed.

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