We Live In The Future
Let’s be honest: at some point, we’ve each wanted to live in a sprawling futuristic landscape, flying cars and all. It’s the future we were promised, but is it really the future we need? Engineers at Living PlanIT are one step closer to answering that question with their fully sentient city, PlanIT Valley, a fully sentient, self-sustained city capable of being run without human interaction.
Well, what does it mean to have a city sustained on minimal human intervention, exactly? Over 100 million sensors throughout PlanIT Valley will record data and relay it all to an Urban Operating System (UOS), in the most Orwellian fashion you can imagine. The UOS commands the entire city and presides over traffic, emergency dispatch, surveillance, and communications.
Leaky faucet? The UOS can detect it, and if it can’t do the repair remotely, will dispatch a plumber. Lose your child? Surveillance cameras might be swiveled to ascertain “the child’s current location and activity.” Apartment on fire? The UOS will alert the fire department, direct each resident to the safest exit, adjust the neighborhood’s traffic lights to clear a path for the incoming trucks, tell the firefighters which parts of the building are affected and the locations of anyone inside, automatically unlock doors and windows, increase pressure in that neighborhood’s water mains, and allocate patients in priority order when they arrive at the nearest hospital.
This almost omnipotent city, capable of sustaining 225,000 civilians, is currently under production by creator Steve Lewis, who projects that we’ll be seeing greener technocities on a much larger scale by 2050. PlanIt Valley, in addition to functioning as a living laboratory, was designed entirely with energy conservation in mind, down to being able to remotely navigate cars into empty parking spaces and control air conditioning in empty rooms when they’re unoccupied. The city is, essentially, designed to be perfect.
Part of me is impressed, I will admit. After reading more about it and seeing some of the concept art, my interest was definitely solidified. On the other hand, I am also thoroughly frightened. I’ve read The Veldt, so I know how all this ends. But if genuine cities of the future are going to become the norm, I sincerely hope we can perfect them by the time I can afford to live in one.