The City as Cyborg: A History of Civic Technology in The First Quarter of The 21st Century

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The City as Cyborg: A History of Civic Technology in The First Quarter of The 21st Century
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um the welcome words um Our and good evening welcome to the 2056 some conference the conference on various speakers will be exploring the idea of the size of the but what it is and what it may mean for our which so for those that are familiar with this idea here is the same the briefest of backgrounds but as we now know cities are alive of people have been talking about cities as living things for centuries but or at least at least centuries but was primarily a philosophical matter of discussion until the early twenties thirties and now when urban scholars started working with the life scientists and started to develop a the a rigorous classification system for various types of human environments the this was the beginning of biological evidence since then there been progressively fewer questions about whether cities are alive but over the last few years we've got to ask well if City if the city is alive that is a sample the with respect to this topic in particular Sudwerk city I'm interested in if the city is a site how did it become so and for that matter what even makes us ask the question what is our interest in the city as a sigh Wong come from the so begin answer these questions I believe we can turn to the period in history from which we sought to coincident phenomenon what is the rise in various technologies that mediated the relationship between cities and the residents all the what was then called civic technology the 2nd another is our own increasing comfort with the idea that our use of networked information technology was becoming a central to who we are as human beings as language the as society so this is a phenomenon that some have referred to as sub mortification of kind of a mouthful for me that is the going term these days the so this period roughly encompasses the 1st quarter of this century the 21st century so in this happening in a brief overview of this time in roughly half decade intervals are the ones that little bit before the beginning of the century but because there this this period of the nineties column is the immediate precursor and there are some important a very important questions that come up during this period that set the stage but for the sigh work city so in this period in the nineties actually shortly before the nineties the World Wide Web is invented but the 1st web browser is implemented in the nineties Microsoft Internet Explorer emerges as the browser of choice among people developing for the web after a period known as the browser wars which was not actually an armed struggle up kernels are seen as the future of the web my personal website at this time I was I was a teenager on but my personal website is on Geocities in my search engine of choice is hot but because am equal kid which is called the standard you have a Google was born but has not yet become the cultural giant that it well the same is true of the 1st generation of children that will not know world without the internet the so it is difficult to pinpoint the name exact time that's our consciousness becomes entwined with our computers but this was a period that saw are empathy for the machines we used becoming strain and it may just be that's a it was a natural progression of history but the marketing of Apple products in the 2nd Steve Jobs error may have also had a fair bit to do with that so that started here so that board to the beginning of the 21st century as we enter the 21st century college students all and little ideas around the country my feeling special because the school is 1 of the few that can use the exclusive use social network called faithful the they eagerly share their class schedules with each other no one's mother is yet on Facebook yeah collaborative editing becomes a wikipaedia and a few years later OpenStreetMap are what will become 2 of the larger platforms that popularized this they're both at least in part a response to the lack of free and open sources of their respective data and iological motivation much like that of the of the open source
the software proponents if you realize nothing else about history realize that it operates in cycles of varying lengths the earliest organizations that would become known explicitly as civic technology organizations begin to sprout up in this period between around 2000 2005 they have names like open appliances and my society and they don't really know what they're doing because no 1 study before but the they do it with gusto the 1st so that applications also started none of them have pictures and all of them have white backgrounds black text and hyperlinks as if any other colors are too frivolous to manage electron political campaigns in the United States began to experiment with engaging potential voters particularly on the younger end of the spectrum through electronic means however incumbent governments show little interest in doing the same many governments began to have a presence on the web the the sites function as little more than glorified pages about pages and look almost as good as my GOC site we would for so this next period between about 2006 and 2010 this next period has a couple of very significant an events in it and you know I'm not going to be able to get all of the significant events in any of these trains because it turns out that a lot happens in the course of 3 decades but we're gonna start with talking about in so in 2007 going through a contentious and in some cases the dangerous general election with scattered reports of violence intimidation of voters I a voters in what is emerging as the Civic Hacking community around the world this story becomes 1 of a small group of Canyon developers creating a system that uses the crowd so to speak the masses of voting public as a primary source of information about intimidation and violence at polling places for the purpose of creating greater transparency around what's going on they call the system machine so during this period a number of other technologies based around crowdsourcing marriage and those these are not the 1st examples of this crowdsourcing method if recall Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap are 2 examples from the previous time period by that use the same methods but the practice was not explicitly identified and named until this period specifically in a wired magazine and wired magazine article in 2006 the so the surge in technological progress has a detrimental effect of several industries 1 of which is the printed news media the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation uh takes a funding projects that rethinking news media for the changing times 1 of those early projects that they find it is every block the but which aims to provide a hyper-local or microlocal so an interesting and spontaneous type of crowdsourced transparency also emerges in this period as well from the tragic was in fact early in the morning on New Year's Day 2009 at approval BART stations in Oakland California Oscar Grant is shot and killed by a bot police officer while handcuffed only on the other the this event is independently video recorded by several bystanders uploaded to YouTube and also shared with what are at this point the traditional media that and later events would not have been able to be captured and disseminated in quite the same way were not for other developments during this period specifically the release of the iPhone and the Android operating systems and the resultant explosions and the popularity of portable devices capable of making those recordings as well as the launch of video-sharing services such as you to and the subsequent meaning the subsequent from acquisition by way also most governments now have a presence on the web the other sites function as little more than glorified about pages and that almost as good as might use site I in the so in the next period between around 2011 and 2015 our n bleeding into the following 5 years following this is a bit time Governments getting into this goal America organization originally worked with local governments to bring leading edge technology practice to their on government projects is found in 2010 but starts actually serving cities with a fellowship program in 2011 later this year call for America also lodges everyday program to establish pockets of technologies and actually this is the 1st class of the fellows but if you see over on your right that is a much younger and sprightly version of the thank you the the In the
UK the governmental services founded it with the mandate to transform the way that the UK government deliver services to the residents employing a digital by default strategy in this work inspires informs a lot of other work that that happens in the united states and cities such as Philadelphia New York Boston and San Diego and how they start to rebuild their own websites our this period also sees some important conversations around privacy and security Edward Snowden's leaks a whole host of files obtained by obtained from the NSA which helps to spark an ongoing conversation conversation that will continue throughout the decade I the the also during this period we see more killings of African Americans particularly those unarmed at the hands of law-enforcement professionals including a partial list of Michael Brown Gartner rice Eric Harris Walter Scott Jonathan center blind Samuel the boast and free gray and these events spot in the black wise matter movement which heavily leverages platforms such as Twitter Facebook and Instagram in a way that similar or other movements have not up to this point tha and the period from 2016 and 2020 OK what the the OK this they expect the wrong order the period from 2016 and 2020 had in this period we see several events so many many of which I will not have time to get into it but no some of those events but include a string of cases which global in which local and federal governments but issue subpoenas to gain access to defendants in preclude bone data and this these conversations of go on to inform a host of other trials and of course findings around the nature of the relationship between individuals and their data uh we also began to see the early diagnosed cases of what is known as my carriers trauma a phenomenon previously most commonly associated with professional counselors so we see this we see this case in the general public these cases come as a result of the constant emergence and immersive exposure the tragedy and injustice around the world so in the following period in the period from 20 21 to about 20 25 we see a rise in private cloud services In response to the in response to the the the data from the data privacy concerns in the immediately previous periods instead of relying on large organizations such as Google and Facebook to manage both people the data and the services atop becomes popular to OK yeah uh procure private servers to host your own data in addition we see services such as rule some opening up as their platforms to both work with the data that they host as well as the of private hosted data the in order to uh in order to keep the customers that they that they have add up to that point the customer base of the book that was the also during this period following the lead of the federal organization 18 Apr the National Conference the National Conference of Mayors you that some endorses a tour of duty initiative but the but what if In this initiative but technologists are encouraged to you 1 to 2 years of service to various local city governments working on working on their staff as part of the civil service is working in the the with this program this program leads to a a the a large increase in the number of technology professionals working in government and a a rapid but improvements in the provision of government it'll services well tha at the 20 26 general calm we I privileged to see a top from a grizzled and experienced and regardless the where he gives us his latest invention and at the conclusion of this talk after the following questions questions which resonate well and resonate deeply with the power the proud of technologists and early adopters who are who are embracing their own sigh nature well ahead of the of the general public will not for another decade or so these questions our the around the notion of where we will be in 10 years some he said in 1995 you are a desktop app which again resonate strongly with signboards aware technologies we in 2005 you are a website in 2015 you are a rich mobile app in 2025 you are in sensitive applications where will we be in 2035 from 2056 we have the perspective to be able to answer that question but this was and interesting and intriguing question when Darwin posted that the chain so in conclusion the idea of civic technology is the most it is not city technology itself any particular application that came out of this period of the 1st quarter of the 21st century that is most interesting about technology it's the idea of civic tech itself the idea that technology can and should mediate our relationship with our cities and that that is a positive value that that is an important thing that that is something that can make our lives in our cities better some moreover as time goes on the the notion of civic technology as a term is going to fall out of favor or has fallen out of favor as all digital technology in some way becomes setting to say Synote technology is like saying a acidic road or acidic bridge the important technology that we're building these days is so that technology the technology is what is and over time we have learned much learns to be much more aware of the context over the inventions that we have found the world in 7th create the technology that we create and we are better off for it some but then that is on the that the planned without
thank you so much for at that very interesting and presentation words did to break the 4th wall for a moment and bring it back into to 2016 shed and those of us who are wanting to prepare for our lives as and technologists whose primary concern is mediated I relationship with our cities b be doing to encourage that relationship and make that a constructive relationship that offense but is that a question well if is a question here so I had to I don't I think I think the I think the thing the most important thing is that you know of them you where on in which a reading it in preparing for this talk and a series of of conversations no around politics and from education in and so on and so forth because I didn't want to just be thinking about OK where's technology going to be going the next and 25 4 years so it's important to think more where society going to be going what kind of technology I think about so be aware context the most important thing the yeah so that we 126 I pointed the 2056 of us on the life of own but how do you feel about the the offs between on the increased awareness and the specificity of public health data due to the large number of implants compared to the on evolution of very evolution that of various on hacking attacks upon goes implanted devices it it comes with the territory every new technology comes with its own set of so um of Dangerous of this was no different in 2 thousand and 6 it is 2056 except for the fact that there are people who were choosing to get embedded devices now is a little bit of you know that that that does bring some unease for something I however you know most of the younger folks that I've I've run into these days are prepared to live with that possibility and prepared to protect against as well because of the numerous benefits that accrue for themselves and for society knowledge always how dangerous and we regret that gives them especially in the I know that he thank Prof and
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