Why data is uncertain, cities are not programmable, and the world is not “algorithmic”.
Many people are not convinced that the Smart Cities movement will result in the use of technology to make places, communities and businesses in cities better. Outside their consumer enjoyment of smartphones, social media and online entertainment – to the degree that they have access to them – they don’t believe that technology or the companies that sell it will improve their lives.
The technology industry itself contributes significantly to this lack of trust. Too often we overstate the benefits of technology, or play down its limitations and the challenges involved in using it well.
Most recently, the idea that traditional processes of government should be replaced by “algorithmic regulation” – the comparison of the outcomes of public systems to desired objectives through the measurement of data, and the automatic adjustment of those systems by algorithms in order to achieve them – has been proposed by Tim O’Reilly and other prominent technologists.