Weekly Musings 046

Welcome to this edition of Weekly Musings, where each week I share some thoughts about what's caught my interest in the last seven days.

This week, I'm nattering on about an idea that's been knocking around in my head for quite a while. A few of the fives of people who regularly read this letter may have even heard me talk about the subject in question elsewhere over the last few months.

Let's get to this week's musing.

On Smart Cities

Imagine a city that's flooded with senors and detectors. Imagine a city that collects and transmits massive amounts of data, and shovels that data to your smartphone or smartwatch.

Imagine a city that knows where you are at all times, that can give you directions accurate to a few centimetres. A city in which you can never get lost or make a wrong turn. A city that can tell you where the nearest attractions of interest are, where to find a restaurant you'll like, or that can point you to the nearest bench where you can take a break and top of the charge on your devices.

That's the vision of cities being touted by countless technologists and by companies like Sidewalk Labs. The vision of a smart city, a city driven by data. Copious amounts of data.

It's a fascinating, albeit creepy, vision. And it's one that doesn't take into account a simple fact: cities are already smart. They have always been smart. We've either forgotten about that or just didn't realize that cities are actually smart.

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