A “smart city’ uses technology and data collection to operate more efficiently, create better services for its residents and increase public safety. That tech can include sensors and communication networks throughout the city that collect information as people walk down the sidewalks or drive down the streets. Cities are also working on things like public Wi-Fi, better traffic management to help prevent crashes, driverless city buses and information kiosks. Some cities are looking for private partners to help pay for the technology.
Class discussion: Do “smart cities” seem like a good idea to you? How does information technology make your life better? Does that same technology ever cause problems in your life? While cameras, sensors and facial recognition software could help protect you from crime, could it also be used to snoop on where you go, what you do and who you talk to? What would a private company get in return for helping a city pay for all the new technology? Would it get data it could use to sway your opinions and sell you goods or services?
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