This keynote presents different manifestations and problems of the ‘Smart-Everything’ paradigm, provides a critical reflection of its implications and proposes a human-centered design approach resulting in the provision of “people-oriented, empowering smartness”. The approach is characterized by design goals like “keeping the human in the loop and in control” and the proposal that “smart spaces make people smarter”.
While the approach has general applicability, examples are taken from the deployment of ‘smart’ technologies in urban environments, e.g., the hype about ‘smart cities’. What does the term ‘smart’ imply? Intelligent? Automated, strictly controlled by algorithms? Artificial Intelligence? Without humans involved? Autonomous – as in autonomous, driverless driving? How much will and should our urban life depend on smart technologies? How much control should people still have? How about: Smart spaces make people smarter and not more dependent? It is argued that a citizen-centered design approach is needed for going beyond technology-driven ubiquitous instrumentations and to arrive at ‘beyond smart-only cities’.
The problems concern not only AI and algorithmic automation but also the trade-off between smartness and privacy. While it is acknowledged that smart services require personal data and profiles, it is also true that people are not really asked beforehand for their permission to collect and use these data. People are not offered the choice to decide and make the trade-off decision themselves, but are confronted with serious privacy infringements – a problem with increasing relevance in smart cities. A ‘privacy by design’ approach is required and proposed.
The combination of redefining the ‘smart-everything’ paradigm, employing ‘privacy by design’ and enforcing an overall citizen-centered design approach is guided by the goal of reconciling people and technology and of creating and maintaining a balance of decision-making entities. It should convince and tempt all stakeholders to go ‘beyond smart-only cities’ and transform them into Humane, Sociable and Cooperative Smart Hybrid Cities.