Whose 'City of Tomorrow' is It? On Urban Computing, Utopianism, and Ethics
UrbComp 2013: The 2nd ACM SIGKDD International Workshop on Urban Computing
6 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2013
Date Written: 2013
In this article I discuss some ethical and moral ramifications of the future envisioned by urban computing. In doing so, I make analogies to twentieth century utopian visions of the “city of tomorrow,” so that we might see the historical context of a similar field with similar utopian instincts. I hope this context helps us better understand how our work might affect the lives of city dwellers in profound ways that we may never fully foresee. I discuss ethical questions related to using urban computing for policy making, for real-estate development, and for surveillance. I also define the concept of distributed sensing, and discuss some difficult regulatory questions that surround it. I hope this work inspires urban computing researchers to think critically in order to assess societal implications of the technologies they develop.
Keywords: urban computing, smart cities, ethics, utopias, urban design, architecture
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