City of Sound‘s Dan Hill – former head of interactive technology and design at the BBC and currently director of web and broadcast at Tyler Brûlé’s Monocle – reflects on the street of the future and sees the Street as a platform.
The author projects himself into a street of the future and describes what he sees and experiences. Visibly the street is still much recognizable, yet some of the biggest changes are invisible. The air is thick with the manifold of data streams & clouds logging and interacting with human behaviour (individual & group). Current-day mostly off-the-shelf technologies have entered the mainstream, they have become incorporated into the lives of people and society’s ubiquitous systems.
“This somewhat banal sketch of an average high street is very deliberately based on the here and now; none of the technology lurking in the background behind this passage is R&D. Most of it is in use in our streets, one way or another, and the technology that isn’t could be deployed tomorrow. As such, given the time from lab to street, it represents the research thinking of over a decade ago.”
Dan’s view is interestingly lifelike as it also hints at system failures, rough-around-the-edges technologies, wear and tear, friction as old and more recent tech mixes etc.
Be sure to read not just the storyline but also Dan’s remarks, explanations and open-ended questions at the end of the article. They add a deeper, critical & knowledgeable dimension to his storyline. For example, Dan also adds a bifurcation to his story, two directions in which systems could shape the future street : locked down street, open source street.
The story reads a bit like a near-future (meets today), walk-by, narrative version of Tom & Irene’s map, yet for the smarttech-assisted common men and women on the streets.