London demonstrates the stupid, janky future of Smart Cities

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You city is only as smart as its dumbest, most venal leader.


Despite the McMansions-and-exurbs fantasies of the MAGA types, large cities are the future. The wealthy, the young, the desperate, and those who just want to keep their jobs are rushing in at so quick a rate that the most cutting-edge technology won’t slice fast enough. Smart cities will be based first and foremost on boring old smart policy, with the shiny new tools following after due consideration.

What do you mean, they need water? They need bandwidth is what they need, says the guy with 10,000 shares of Comcast.

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This raised a smile:

“information about you wants to be free to us.”

But of course I read it as:

“Information (about you) wants to be free (to us).

But I hope, going forwards, he’s wrong about one of his last points:

"Even nations so placid, calm, and prosperous as the old Axis allies of Germany, Japan, and Italy have strange, depopulated rural landscapes now. People outside the cities vote with their feet; they check in, and they don’t leave. "

I’ve become fascinated with Japan over a number of trips, and also enjoy NHK World tourist programmes and documentaries. A number of these show some young (20’s and 30’s) people making a conscious effort to move back to the towns and villages where they grew up, sometimes leaving the corporate world in favour of learning practical trades - building, fishing etc. I hope this trend continues, it may also be the only way they reverse their population decline.

As I face entering my second half-century soon, the temptation to bail out and go teach English in a Japanese rural town becomes stronger…

Well, if the current generation of “business intelligence” applications are any indication, we’re all in for one really, really stupid fucking future.

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