A city communicates with it’s inhabitants via signs and symbols simple explanatory signs like: Walk, Don’t Walk 60, 40, Roadwork, School zone etc. the only requirement is that you follow these instructions and the city will provide you with what you need.
Trying to effect change within the city has always been a long drawn out process usually quite frustrating (unless you know somebody), because our communications are generally one way, from the top down. This is all about to change; social media and Web 2.0 technology is going to change it.
Welcome to City 2.0. the cyber social environment. Imagine if your local council or municipality was a machine, a computer that listened to you.
About 25 years ago it was muted that international trade, international agreements etc. should all be handed over to the computers; they’d do a much better job than people with no racism, no patriotism and no preconceived judgements. Decisions made purely on a practical level, for example if computers were in charge of food production and distribution, famines would be minimised, machines could predict via all given data what is going to be needed and where then organise commodities to be sent to places facing a potential problem well in advance. Humans are always reacting after the fact, even though we are aware of pending problems and disasters we choose to make short sighted, decisions that essentially are political in nature. We tend to think in one lifetime chunks, rather than considering future generational needs.
In reality we don’t need councillors or petty politicians, this role can be taken up by automated social media systems, with the ability to gather information in real time, and thus effect policy on demand, effect changes to infrastructure through real time polling, there would be no vested interests except those of the machine, which is to serve the greater good. The building of roads, schools, the deployment of essential service all can be done automatically without human interference. The machine can judge, prioritise and issue directions to human contractors as to what needs to be done, where and when. Prioritise budgets so that things get done cost effectively as required.
The systems we need to do this are already here, for example if you play games like “CityVille” or “Social City” you build a city based upon what you want then at some point the game will inform you when your citizens are unhappy and what community building will solve the problem, it is no great task to shift these ideas into the real world. The hardest part in this shift is deleting the human politicians from the equation.
Social media gives people the ability to communicate directly with the system, ask, describe and offer up individual needs. The system in turn can take every single request into consideration, the machine can process massive amounts of data in real time, and in a sense it is the dawn of true democracy.