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Phuket Opinion: The docile dangers of a Smart City

PHUKET: The stated vision of the Phuket Smart City 2020 agenda is to develop our little paradise to be “The tourism island of sustainable growth by enhancing creative economy to provide happiness for all”.

technology, economics, opinion,

The Phuket News

Sunday 28 August 2016, 07:00AM

Gamers play Pokemon Go on their mobile phones outside a shopping mall in Bangkok on Aug. 9. Photo: AFP
Gamers play Pokemon Go on their mobile phones outside a shopping mall in Bangkok on Aug. 9. Photo: AFP

Stakeholders charged with achieving such a broad order look to invest millions of the citizenry’s taxes in high-speed Internet, enhanced surveillance and a multitude of other digital upgrades that aim to streamline dealings in business, government and even the environment.

Charmed by the sweet lure of brand-new MacBook Pros, bureaucrats are diving in head first. After all, what says “Smart” like a brand-new Apple?

When Nick Bilton of The New York Times in 2010 asked iconic founder of Apple Inc Steve Jobs if his kids loved playing on the iPad, the reporter was dumbfounded by the late visionary’s reply that he hadn’t even allowed his kids to try out the revolutionary device, which had just been launched at the time. The IT prodigy explained that he chose to restrict how much technology his kids use at home, citing various “dangers”, including harmful content, cyber bullying and above all, addiction.

Another digression researchers have begun to study in respect to IT trends is cognitive offloading, and the inverse relationship between an increasing dependency on the Internet and diminishing brain function.

It all begs the question whether we – opinion leaders, educators, parents and society as a whole – should be exercising more caution in moving forward.

The Phuket News is not entertaining any kind of notion of needing to revert back to the stone age. However, a good look at how IT is currently being used – or misused – en masse should be cause for concern and central to the dialogue.

Likened to Eden’s proverbial apple, the IT revolution promises the world; if used appropriately, the powerful “smart” devices, apps and programs represent a gateway to an infinite universe, a bountiful interconnected world of awe, know-how and knowledge; but let unleashed without proper oversight, the potency of technology may also facilitate a certain hell on earth.

While there is little doubt that the end game of Phuket 2020 sees a smarter city, the progression of intelligence among the citizenry itself remains questionable, and thus should be addressed intimately and openly in our lobbies, offices, classrooms and homes. But please, don’t bring your smartphone to the conversation.



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Foot | 28 August 2016 - 14:49:28

If Phuket wants to get back on tourists top place to visit, give them what they want.
Comfortable, clean, safe beaches with tourist amenities - chairs, umbrellas, shops, restaurants, night clubs, and enough good police to keep things safe.

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marcher | 28 August 2016 - 11:05:23

This would make me laugh until I cried if it were not so ridiculous. How can a Smart City not even have a railway station or one decent road system. Also, no first class entertainment or conference centres, etc, etc. The list is interminable. Lets face it Phuket is an affordable venue with what used to be lovely beaches for the families and booze and sex for the lads

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