If you carry around a smart phone, you're potentially being tracked and surveilled nearly non-stop already. But what if we were to aggregate that big data and add to it CCTV, mics and biometric data to the mix? This is basically the idea behind "smart cities."
Supposedly, "smart cities" are meant to be safer and more "people-centric" and all this by being "data driven." Tel Aviv is being hailed as a stunning example of "smart cities done right." Tel Aviv actually won the 2014 World Smart City Awards.
Even your average metropolis is fitted somewhat with plenty of embedded devices that receive, collect and transmit data. With the ubiquity of Big Data due to the internet of things (IoT) it's hard to escape having your every step scrutinized and recorded in some way. Smart cities collect data from the embedded devices and cell phones and other items and obects so they can be stored and analyzed "to make life easier and better."
In Tel Aviv, the chief knowledge officer of Tel Aviv, Zohar Sharon describes his smart city: “As a result of what we learned from the focus groups and unique knowledge-management processes in the municipality, we now have over 200 municipality staff from different departments, called knowledge champions, who feed data into the DigiTel platform.”
With the possession of a simple card, residents can be informed of road closures, local events, school registration, proposals requiring feedback, community initiatives, invitations to public surveys and more. In addition, the card offers discounts for certain products and services. And just think, soon the card itself is likely to be embedded as a chip in the hand (like some corporations are already experimenting with).
It's a transhuman and surveillance heavy future we are headed towards if things don't change. As our technology advances faster than humans can even adapt to it, we are left as spectators in the first few scenes of what seems like a dystopian nightmare unfolding.