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Little/big; producer/consumer; and the story of the Smarter City

 

Two years ago, I noticed that my then 2-year-old son was trying to move things he saw on the screen of my laptop by touching them. Of course he was: he'd seen my wife and I use touchscreens on our smartphones; why wouldn't all screens behave that way?
 
I think there's something profound in his instinctual use of touchscreen technology to manipulate information. And as other technologies that blur the boundary between information technology and physical systems - such as bio-energy and 3D printing - become more capable and affordable, the way we interact with many of the systems that support our lives - from food and energy supply to the way that we create our environment and the objects within it - will change out of all recognition.
 
As the price of food and fuel rises as the world's population grows and urbanises; and as droughts caused by global warming make the supply of the grain which is used to produce food and bio-ethanol fuel less certain; we will need to use these new technologies to create more efficient ways to feed us and keep us warm.
 
I think distinct trends are emerging from technology, urbanism and the research of resilient systems to show how we can do that in a way that could also create a fairer, more sustainable world; and I was honoured to be invited to speak on that subject this weekend at the TEDxWarwick conference. I've posted a script that I wrote whilst preparing for my TEDxWarwick presentation on my blog; I hope that you find it interesting.
 
http://theurbantechnologist.com/2013/03/11/littebig-producerconsumer-and-the-story-of-the-smarter-city/

 

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