On a recent trip to London, it became clear that the British people are far less sensitive to surveillance cameras than we are in the U.S.
In fact, the number of cameras being installed in London is growing at a much faster rate than ever because homeowners are installing their own cheap security systems. Many people are genuinely scared and will share security camera footage on social media when the police don’t act fast enough. This is quite common.
In London, doorbell cameras and inexpensive DIY systems have become part of the overall surveillance network that is on track to exceed one million cameras by 2025.
Yet video cameras are only a small piece of the equation. Once we add sensor networks, audio recorders, sniffer tech, heat signature monitors, chemical analyzers, photoemission spectroscopy, thermal scanners, magnetometers, chromatography, and a wide variety of other forensic science tools to our street corners, flying drones, driverless cars, lamp posts, and sewer systems the amount of data we’ll be working with to better understand the nature of our cities will be staggering.
If we think of cities as living breathing organisms, where every facet of the city is expanding-contracting, flowing-trickling, inputting-outputting, and inhaling-exhaling, we begin to understand the dynamic nature of this kind of community.
There are lots of attributes that we’ll add to our wish list for the smart city of the future, but first and foremost, they will need to be “aware.” They’ll need to be aware of everything happening inside their borders. Awareness breeds responsibility and sets the stage for what comes next.
It’s all about flow. Smart cities will simultaneously aspire to be easy to live in, easy to work in, easy to travel in, and create easy ways to meet and connect with others.
At the same time, we’ll judge them by their liveliness, enthusiasm, vibrancy, spontaneity, impulsiveness, and their overarching aptitude for serendipity.
Not only will they need to offer great food and abundant forms of entertainment, but we will also want them to feel safe and free from criminal activity.
For business people, it’ll be a good investment. For talented people, it will have a way of amplifying their skills and abilities. And it will be both a great place to be a kid, and to raise a family.
Somehow a truly great smart city will not only make you feel like you’ve arrived, but it will just smell good, feel good, taste good, and have a way of exuding good karma!