- Come late June, city electricians are expected to start strapping beehive-shaped sensor boxes to municipal light poles — environmental Fitbits for neighborhoods, essentially.
How's the air quality? Where does rainwater pool? Where do air temperatures spike?
The 14-inch-high cylinders filled with sensors and cameras — developed by computer scientists and designers at Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago — should shed light on stubborn urban problems — everything from asthma clusters and flood-prone intersections to so-called "heat islands," densely developed corners of the city that trap heat. Ultimately, the data should lead to affordable, energy-efficient solutions to those problems and others.
And this will miraculously enable the tinkerers to fix crooked contracts that provide Chicagoans with substandard roads, corrupt parking meters and promotional exam cheaters.
But as we read further, this paragraph stands out - hell, it leaps out and hits you in the head with a two-by-four:
- But already the city's nascent efforts to collect environmental data are sparking concerns about further erosion of individual privacy in a city already outfitted with police cameras, red light cameras, in-store cameras and public transit cameras. And, perhaps most critically, some observers question whether the collection and analysis of data will lead to meaningful improvements to urban life, as advocates suggest, or just enrich big tech vendors.
"How do we connect these abstract, big-picture, big-data initiatives to the needs of the residents of Chicago who are struggling under a failure to fund education and under a police force that thwarts the will of the people?" asked Daniel X. O'Neil, executive director of Smart Chicago Collaborative, a civic group that aims to improve residents' lives through technology.
Well, firstly, of course the purpose is to enrich vendors. This is Chicago, duh.
Second of all....what the hell was that bullshit? A police force that thwarts the will of the people? We missed that memo somewhere. Was there a training class? A General Order? Something? Because we're all about thwarting. We wake up every morning wondering, "Who can we Thwart today?" We want to be that old-timer who used to come into to Roll Call half in the bag and regale us with war stories about all the Thwarting he had done in years past. Someone got out of line? Thwart! Some lead foot speeding in a School Zone? Oh, someone was getting a Thwarting. Some piss-ant gangbanger giving you the fish eye? You just knew, some Thwart was dished out to everyone wearing colors that night.
Who the hell stuck a quarter in Poindexter over there with all his "thwart" talking?
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