You might be wondering what is the last mile problem?

Summer is coming and I bet you are all stressing out! The bikini challenge is knocking on our doors and this means just one thing: diet. The problem when you start a diet is the last mile . It is incredible how pedantic you can be in the first weeks; however, when it comes to the last one, you crave for whatever looks like chocolate, smells like chocolate and tastes like chocolate. The result is that during the last mile you stop the diet and eat my holy chocolate. Why?

The last mile problem is one of the challenges that people face everyday. This behavioural flaw affects individuals in the most diverse problems. For example let’s take the case of people affected by diabetes: a disease that affects 382 million people. The routine of a diabetic person is dictated by extreme meticulousness; for example, every time they eat they must count the exact amount of carbohydrates consumed in order to regulate the inflow of insulin. This is monitored through the continuous control of the level of glucose by blood sampling. Can you imagine having to face taking up to 30 blood samples a day? While the technology to cure this illness does not exist yet, the technology to live with it does exist. The logical assumption would be that if you provide diabetic people with the technology, they will do the right thing. Surprisingly, 5.1 million of people every year die of diabetes. Why?

This is what is meant by the last mile problem. Technology has done 999 miles but the last one has proven to be incredibly difficult to go through. The stubbornness of the last mile will be defeated by a “Behavioral Big Bang”, a momentum which will merge social and technological sciences. The perfect embodiment of a “Behavioral Big Bang” regarding diabetes is the creation of the Google “smart contact lenses”. Provided with a wireless chip and a sensor which reacts to level of glucose in the tears, the lenses will enable diabetic people to control their blood glucose level every second thus preventing them to skip the painful routine of blood sampling. This new wearable technology is simply innovative because it will not only provide diabetic people with a more efficient and less time consuming way to measure their blood glucose level but mostly it will provide them with an incentive to do so. Whether it is easy or not to put contact lenses in your eyes is another story but what is sure is that they are pain-free and non-invasive.

Optimistically, the last mile problem is not just a problem but an opportunity, a chance to explore new behavioral and social sciences and, who knows, maybe a chance to discover the next Big Bang.

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Rebecca Marocco

Rebecca Marocco

Third Year student in Economics and Management at Royal Holloway, University of London. Eclectic writer, passionate leader and sports lover.