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Earth Technology

Most of What We Need For Smart Cities Already Exists 65

An anonymous reader writes "Looking to a day when modern infrastructure is network addressable, Glen Martin considers that, lacking only requisite content and relatively simple augmentation, most of what we need for smart cities already exists: 'Using smart phones, pedestrians could "wake up" the objects by accessing codes generally used by the city to identify street items that required repair. Each bit of infrastructure would make some kind of declamatory statement — sometimes gracious and welcoming, sometimes didactic, sometimes peevish. The "interlocutor" would then respond, and a brief exchange would ensue. The object would then invite the passerby to return for more conversation.'"
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Most of What We Need For Smart Cities Already Exists

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  • huh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ultra64 ( 318705 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:53PM (#46895363)


  • What (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:56PM (#46895391)

    What in the name of Jesus Christ is the summary actually talking about?

    This comment is rated both 'Declamatory' and 'Peevish'.

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @07:59PM (#46895429) Homepage Journal

    Being tracked and pestered because I'm walking around with my mobile on, to activate stuff, would be a nuisance (I feel it's a nuisance that it rings, it's for me calling people, not the other way around ;-)

    And like it or not, you'd be tracked, even if everyone promised you were not being tracked.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday May 01, 2014 @08:07PM (#46895505) Homepage Journal

    Nobody really knows what a smart city is, but it nominally means networked, efficient, and sustainable. Efficiency doesn't include shitting on people when their phone battery dies. It's about aggregating information and acting on it, basically business intelligence on a city scale, to enable people to go about their business. It should be completely transparent to the people in the city. Automated systems would count pedestrian and traffic flows in different areas and adjust light timing, add public transportation units and generally make life easier for the populace. But also, net heat producers feed net heat consumers and so on, it's not so much a thing you build as a level of development you reach. It's not like we're needing whole new cities; indeed, several nations have whole cities standing empty, and whole cities' worth of houses standing empty mixed in besides.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @08:10PM (#46895517) Homepage Journal


    Hey! Welcome to your 24 hour, digital prison, fellow technophiles! It's COOL! I knw, 'cos there's a TED talk about how you will never be worried again in a Smart City, and WIRED magazine had a profile on it, too - from a real MIT PhD, with a research grant from a CIA funded think-tank.

    BTW: Here's your ankle-bracelet. The health club provided it free, for your exercise routine! Keep up - or your insurance rates will skyrocket... You have Facebook, right? Better. That's the deal that Aetna cut with your employer.

  • What We Need (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01, 2014 @08:32PM (#46895659)

    is Smart People. Invest in education.

  • by MacTO ( 1161105 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @08:44PM (#46895735)

    All of this technology is great, especially if you focus upon the stuff that will make actual improvements in the quality of life and ignore the fluff. Yet most of the cities that I've lived in have management problems rather than technological problems. These problems include the failure to make decisions, the failure to do proper planning before implementation, the failure to communicate between (or even within) departments, and the failure to allocate resources. And all of those failure assume city managers are making an honest effort to fulfill their responsibilities. In reality you have to also factor in everything from sloth, to corruption, to over-zealousness.

    While some of those issues can be diminished by the technology behind "smart cities", none of those issues can actually be solved with technology.

  • by FuzzNugget ( 2840687 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @09:05PM (#46895889)
    Smart people.
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Friday May 02, 2014 @02:53AM (#46897215) Homepage Journal

    I would be happy with a town with reasonable restrictions on firearms like NYC, coupled with strict enforcement. Safe cities should not be an option.

    Safe cities are not an option when they are occupied by a hostile military known as the NYPD.

  • Re:Buzzword (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday May 02, 2014 @03:33AM (#46897305) Journal
    It would be extra tricky because you'd need a system that is not only current and active (which, as you say, is easier said than done on a continuing basis); but you'd need a system that can tell somebody standing right there, who probably doesn't have a specialist interest something they don't already know; but would want to.

    If I'm sitting at municipal maintenance HQ, a map/information system that can tell me where all the streetlights are, whether their bulbs are fine, dead, or in predicted-failure, when they were last changed, and what lamp type they require, that's very useful: I can't be everywhere at once, and when I send out the guys with the bucket truck, I want them to have the right lamp the first time, and ideally I want them to arrive shortly before a lamp failure; but not waste money on excessively frequent precautionary swaps.

    If I'm a pedestrian, standing next to street lamp #53583, even if your 'smart' agent has access to all those data, what can it tell me that I don't already know and do care about? Am I a lightbulb fancier who just wants to know the FRU number for that particular fixture? Am I standing there at noon, fretting about whether this particular lamp will be functional when it gets dark?

    When you are doing infrastructure work, having good data about the state of the world is invaluable in trying to stay on top of constant demands with limited resources while minimizing downtime and waste. That much, I couldn't agree more. If that isn't your problem, though, it's substantially harder to think of cases where such records, even in very good shape, would be of interest to more than a few eccentric hobbyists.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein