Carnegie Mellon University
July 03, 2018

Establishing Public Trust in Smart Cities

In order for smart city technologies to serve the public good, citizens must be able to trust the technologies to appropriately sense, perceive, plan, devise, and act. (via GIPHY)

An autonomous vehicle connects with your smartphone to schedule a time to pick you up and shuttle you anywhere you want to go—from the grocery store to the doctor’s office. An algorithm determines whether your local bank should grant you a loan. A security robot surveils (and possibly creeps on) you at the airport.

The deployment of smart city technologies in urban environments forms a fascinating social quandary that has few historical antecedents, thanks to the unprecedented combination of technological, sociopolitical, and economic impacts that go into deploying such technologies, often through unique public-private partnerships.

How do practitioners of smart city technologies – the researchers, technologists, policymakers, corporations, and government entities that seek to deploy them – ensure that they are doing so in the interests of social good, rather than contributing to the erosion of public trust?

The answer, according to David Danks, Carnegie Mellon University Department Head & L.L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, is to make sure that they use all of the tools available to them in their toolbox.

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