Smart Cities ?

This article is good. A valid criticism, if a little dramatically dystopian:

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/02/stupid-cities/553052/

The “bad part of town” will be full of algorithms that shuffle you straight from high-school detention into the prison system. The rich part of town will get mirror-glassed limos that breeze through the smart red lights to seamlessly deliver the aristocracy from curb into penthouse.

Cluttering our physical spaces with superimposed layers of electrical hyper-connectivity and pseudo-intelligent, algorithmically-informed (and biased) information, matter and energy flows doesn’t make them smart. Are we displacing complex material problems (and our obligations to responsibility) to server farms and IoT software engineers ? Is this another instance in which the marketing and hype is stronger than the administrative will to not suspend their disbelief in this fantasy and utopian vision of our future metropolitan spaces and experiences ?

In as much as “meaning is usage” (Wittgenstein) we can only assume that “smart cities” as a concept will eventually be entirely coopted by the various vocabularies of digital and cyber. Cities which possess, or indeed – cultivate, an intrinsic and emergent self-organisational homeostasis are not as psychologically alluring to the common-or-garden-variety metropolitan administrator as is the fantasy and mythology of control implicit to digital technology. Indeed, occurring pari passu the utility and success of these digital technologies are the reflexive and psychological insecurity-bolstering mechanistic, reductionist mythologies of power and control. Never mind that digital technology does not actually solve (or resolve) as many problems as it simply displaces elsewhere.

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