Urban Intelligence

Dear Tom,

On you four points that you propose

“Create standards and influence design of smart cities to protect/enhance humanity (very hard)’

In projects like Tagitsmart we have worked towards standardization of smart tags and product passports so as to have a chance to go to full recycling and circular economy In retail. A very small steps but small steps is what it is.
Projects like Sociotal.eu, D-CENT, DECODE, Commonfare http://pieproject.eu is to demonstrate that all technological standards are social standards, so what was thought up theoretically a decade ago now becomes practice. Again, not fully ortganised, this is the flow of things.

In Barcelona, Amsterdam and NY these notions of data privacy and commons are put into action.
Amsterdam is in our current CSA. WE will make a Digital Signature for a 5G Architecture real.

We propose grey zones (current 3G/4G) hot spots (dedicated 5G zones) and cold spots.

Some people in edgeryders seem to me more about disconnecting, then connecting which surprises me but is actually quite good as it forces us to have this discussion deep and in the open. Nice!

I am preparing salons on hot spots but also on cold spots (one with Brussel based

As I think all three type of zones are our responsibility as architects of hybridity.

You and others are very welcome to join that cold spot (no ‘connectivity/wireless’) workshop.

In the 5G workshops in my Task Force Infrastructures we address exactly this issue. You are very welcome to join. I can also send you the notes:

"How can we ensure not making the same mistakes as with the (failed) smart city (applications), but co-create services in the vertical applications (body/health, home/energy, car/sharing, region/collective intelligence) with all stakeholders including citizens? In this workshop we want to investigate the procedure of embedding these ideas and requirements in a Digital Signature for the Infrastructure. This has the important bonus it no longer matters who hosts the data and which platforms it runs, as the liability, accountability, procurement, GDPR and Cybersecurity Act compliance is in situational contracts (term Christian Nold), thus ensuring the new insights (fostering new services) stay well known to all stakeholders. In earlier workshops of NGI Forward WP3 the realization was made that in these 5G environments all entities (whether persons, goods, objects or situations) will be given federated and temporary identities, as in the case of an accident with the connected car in which all ‘stakeholders’ (the car, the person, the lantern pole that is hit, the water that the crashes into that is polluted…) receive temporary identities the ensemble of which becomes the ‘virtual accident’ the liability and accountability is administered on. Currently eIDas is the digital signature for persons, GS1 is providing product codes (‘passports’) for goods and coelition.org is mapping and numbering everyday activities. In these environments AI will run in the network and robotic capabilities are built in to function semi-autonomously, the agency to name the combinations of the temporary and federated (attribute-based) identities will be vital to creating new services. Currently this agency is in the hands of GAFA and BAT.

In the case of architectures the first Salon put forward four building blocks. The first is that in an Internet of Humans, or Next Generation Internet, trust can be tokenized but only within a situation of already established trust between people, meaning there has to be a social understanding before it can be technically articulated, can we talk about communities and everyday life. The second is successful anticipatory regulation: “joint-up multidisciplinary regulation through collaboration platforms on AI that include startups, think-tanks and academia, large and medium-sized companies, governments and their ethics commissions, civil society and activists.”The third is to explore building institution like entities with the concepts of data utilities and the work of Neil Lawrence and Sylvie Delacroix who propose data trusts as a bottom-up mechanism whereby data-subjects choose to pool their data within the legal framework of the Trust. The fourth is to include potential third-party trust providers are seemingly neutral organizations that have a large member base organized around for example mobility (in the Netherlands the ANWB has a membership of 4.446.528 (1-1-2017). In January 2018, for example, the various accounts of FC Barcelona surpassed 180 million engagements worldwide. One could also consider alumni groups of different schools."

“Educate people about these technologies and how to interact with them or possibly avoid them”

Avoid them? You seriously think that is an option? Where on the planet would you go? I think that is not an option at all. Our job, at least in the CSA NGI for which I am making the case here that is paid with public money of European taxpayers), it is not an option at all to have as a strategic assessment to the European Commission that we should learn Millennials and Igens and older people who can no longer use analogue means for a lot of administrative purposes, to avoid IoT, Big Data, AI, biotech, smart phones, to avoid new technologies. What is the advise? Dress up in aluminium foil? Of course edgeryders is bigger then this project and if the aim of edgeryders is to explore these options (that I also described but discarded as the Unabombers fiction of ‘going back to nature’ in 2007, I was discarding that as a strategic option for society as a whole and people taking responsibility as leaders for the whole of society. It is of course perfectly possible as an individual option, but then it is a personal choice with a very limited strategic or educational aspect.

“We have seen the end of the guerilla, as being on the move now is not different anymore than staying in one place and securing it. At the outer ends of this kind of opposition we find the ultimate innere Emigration (inner emigration), the suicide of Menno ter Braak, four days after the Germans invaded the Netherlands, and Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. Menno ter Braak took sedatives and his brother gave him a lethal injection. Drenched in the Nietzschean philosophy of autonomy and ever striving to be a homme honnête, he could – being involved in anti-fascist activities from mid-thirties – see the fascist logic of life very clearly and could not envision any way out. The Innere Emigration of intellectuals in the thirties, retreating into ones own mental sphere, not publishing, not speaking in public, was not only unbearable to him, he realized that it had become ontologically impossible. The Unabomber’s strategy – killing three and maiming a further 23 – in trying to get his message across to both a research community and a larger public, has caused a lot of human suffering, landed him in jail and may a have had adverse effects in that the search for him converged new techniques of surveillance. In the end it was his brother that recognised his style.
As a core issue in his thinking is his distinction between small-scale technology is technology “that can be used by small-scale communities without outside assistance” and organization-dependent technology is technology that depends on large-scale social organization”.


My take on education? I took that challenge in 2010 when I set up April 9 #IoT Day. In ten years over 500 self organized events

IoTDay is an open invitation to the Internet of Things Community to set up an event, a lunch, a talk with the neigborhood on what #IoT is and what it means in everyday life for all of us

Have taken place

I also run, the local #IOT Meetup in Gent, where I live, so I take my responsibility not only on a global scale but locally as well, what else would be the point we are not here for ego or fame - so in over 30 meetups were done over the years. I could do more and having realized that I am now talking with IMEC in Gent to have more structure.

“Sabotage the technologies eg blocking the sensors (dangerous, expensive)”

And ridiculous and fully ineffective. Adding more negativity to the already ongoing negativity is pointless and counterproductive. Any action should be communicative, non violent, non negative and fully from the perspective of dialogue.
In France over 60% of all traffic cameras have been destroyed. What is the point of that?
Do you really think Google is the enemy, the smart phone is the ‘evil’? Would you rather have lived before the internet? When, in 1500, prior to book printing with priests the only ones reading and you being burned for asking can I read a book?
Of course it is very sad that the first iterations of the anarchist hippie protocol was taking over by old fashioned greed (Mark Zuckerberg call his first four users dumb fucks) niche intelligence seeing Over The Top openings (intelligence without a heart):Amazon, Uber… and national states like China, Singapore, Malaysia and now quickly Africa, and also US and Europe as all dependencies in, the national states see these surveillance options as a way to sustain their power ( the state - church, Moneyland, military wedding). But and here we differ, you somehow seem to think ‘it is over’, this is the next normal, to me it is just a phase, and there is no doubt in my mind that the aligned sensibilities in favor of sharing, of cooperation, of common sense are winning.

“Explore the benefits of living in cities and look for ways to introduce these benefits to local more distributed communities so that living in cities isn’t the only perceived option”

Do you have links, texts, projects, pointers? Love to hear about them!

Greetings and wishing you a very good Sunday, Rob


I agree that there will be no turning back from these technologies. I like the concept of the cold zone you articulated in another topic. I think such spaces designated like that would be very useful and quite civilized really. Advancement of These technologies is inevitable. It won’t be stopped. As you say individuals can turn away. To me as a society I would like to see us figure out how to consciously advance it. And I think the work you were doing is very much in that spirit and in the right direction.

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And I don’t think Google is the enemy but I do think that once they went public as a corporation they shifted their focus in ways that I don’t prefer. And I use their services and I am writing this on a smart phone.

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I am very happy to hear that and I think yes we can explore what a cold zone looks like and what a set up be in cities of cold zones and hot spots is exactly what we can do in NGI. Also “To me as a society I would like to see us figure out how to consciously advance it.” I fully agree with that, that is also what NGI is there for. It can not be just tech push or shareholder value, it has got to mean something. I am always convinced that if a hack is needed it is at system level, building a next normal, building attractors for different drivers, and that is what I see happening.

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I would like for those cold zones to be of some decent size. Not like the smokers pen in the airport.



This interview with Ben Green (and the book he wrote on which it is based) might be relevant to folks here: https://www.opendatasoft.com/blog/interview-with-ben-green-from-smart-cities-to-smart-enough-cities

A short blurb from the interview that reflects his general thinking:

“I think that the smart city, as we conceive of it today, lacks a holistic perspective. The common understanding of what it means to become a smart city today does not necessarily include a holistic approach to solve a certain issue. In my book, I describe smart cities as seeing most problems exclusively through “tech goggles”, meaning that there is a tendency of seeing every single social challenge only in terms of technology. Issues are diagnosed as being technological in nature and the solutions to these issues are also seen as exclusively technological.”