Welcome to Pleasantville*
*Or: why we are all doomed, if smart cities go commercial spaces.
Dramatic Headline, I know. Summarize my talk at this years IoTWeek 2016 Belgrad in Belgrad and let me convince you that I€™ve picked a weak headline.
Also this year IoTWeek 2016 Belgrad I€™ve seen awesome presentations from people all around the world, mainly aiming to make cities smarter to improve citizens quality of lilfe: better transportation service, improve carbon footprint or waste management. I€™ve watched smart busstops, smart power grids and smart security solutions. Designed by smart researchers and smart people of smart companies and smart citizen organizations. Everything and everybody is smart. Really? I don€™t believe that we step into a smart decade.
At a lot of hopes are tendered to this smart vision. One main objective: let€™s make citizens life smarter, easier or even better happier. But do we achieve that, without paying a bill? Sure not. And let me tell why I am not a believer in smart.
Back in the 90s when Internet was rising, this playground was an open space of free speech and endless prospects. 25 years later this liberate networked turned more and more from public to private spaces of cloud services provider as facebook, whatsapp, Google or Apple. We shifted our Internet consumption to this €œfree€ user places operated under the restriction of companies user agreements. With a drastic effect: We communicate on surveillance of speech and behavior.
Now, imagine what will happen to us, if this pattern will shift to smart cities? Cities of sensors and actors. Turning cities under the restriction of companies end user agreements is the €™s the end of public spaces as we know it.
In a funny way Hollywood did in early 90€™s a bad joke of smart cities in the Movie Demolition Man by the Violence of Speech penalty:
Now €“ is this really absurd? Unfortunately not. In general cities €“ so far I know them €“ do not have big budgets to invest and operate smart services. They rely on public or private funding. Public private partnerships are one way to turn and improve cities with smart augmented layers.
Cities can outsource smart services and citizens get in return professional services €“ and I really believe that companies are much better in designing products than cities. Why? They do this to maximize products. Satisfied and happy customers are source of success and revenues.
Do you still believe that the Demolition Man utopia is weird fiction?
Well, Chinese government decided in 2015 to do a test run on a giant private partnership program: Introducing €œchinese social credits€ to reward requested behavior and strike misbehavior.
Now adopt Chinese way to the western commercial business society. Voila, here it is: a smart city designed for our happiness, to optimize cities cost structures and operators revenue.
By living in this city you agree to the end user agreement of Google. Please update your credit card data.
Too black thoughts? No.