Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Sentient Cities are Coming: But First, Park Benches With Attitude

"Sentient cities may answer back"
BBC (October 16, 2009)

"It may look like an ordinary rubbish bin, but don't let that fool you. Throw an aluminium can in here and you'd be none the wiser, but try chucking a plastic bottle away, and with an angry buzz it will throw it back out at you, fans whirring to rid itself of the wrong kind of rubbish.

"This is the 'smart trash can', part of the 'Toward the Sentient City' exhibition in New York, which explores how our lives might change when we can embed computers in anything and everything. ..."

Then there's the bench, that lets people know if they've sat on it too long. (I'm not making this up.)

(from BBC, used w/o permission)
"Among 'smart' technologies on show at the Sentient Cities exhibition was a bench that tips people off if they sit too long"

The BBC article's about "five projects commissioned for the exhibition by the Architectural League of New York." The others include Trash Track (MIT), Amphibious Architecture (New York and Columbia universities) and Natural Fuse (Usman Haque).

Judging from previous predictions of "The Future," I'd be moderately surprised if any of these projects foreshadowed exactly what cities will be like fifty to a hundred years from now.

The idea of trash cans that can tell who's trashing recyclables, and park benches with attitude, though, seem to be part of a trend that's driving 'privacy' advocates bonkers.

I live in a small town, and have lived in both rural and metropolitan areas. There's something to the joke about small towns: 'If you've forgotten what you've done today, ask someone: they'll know.'

It's not so much that small towns lack privacy - we've got lots of that. It's why we have shades on our windows. (But they've got to be down: FOXNews October 22, 2009.)

What smart trash cans and benches may do is remove another layer of the anonymity city folks have enjoyed for so long. Security cameras made it possible to tell who took extra newspapers from the vending machine, blew through the toll booth, or couldn't be bothered with a stop light.

Such oppression!

And now, They are likely to be watching to see who recycles and who doesn't.

Me? I'm hopelessly stodgy: so I'm not quite so worried about these new threats to 'privacy.'

And, I think the technology's pretty cool.

No comments:

Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle online store

Pinterest: From the Man Behind the Lemming

Top 10 Most-Viewed Posts

Today's News! Some of it, anyway

Actually, some of yesterday's news may be here. Or maybe last week's.
The software and science stuff might still be interesting, though. Or not.
The Lemming thinks it's interesting: Your experience may vary.
("Following" list moved here, after Blogger changed formats)

Who Follows the Lemming?


Family Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory