Original question from Quora:

What technology should we expect cities to realistically adopt within the next 5-10 years?

In the same spirit as LinkNYC

My Answer:

I expect in 5–10 years police to be using something truly remarkable that sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but we have nearly all the technology available to do it right now.

In fact, I was a part of a project to do a very crude version of it maybe five or six years ago…

Back then, the iPhone was still relatively new and apps were all the rage. I was part of a research team that took a city police force’s point/person of interest GPS data, and mapped it so that police officers could be notified of outstanding warrants, parole violations, and so on for locations near them.

It was like Google Maps for some basic police work that made it easier and faster to find people who broke the law in ways that were already reported, but not readily obvious unless you saw all the reports.

That is pretty cool, but think forward to Microsoft’s HoloLens or Google’s Glass Augmented Reality headset projects.

Imagine you took a police database in the cloud and you matched it with facial recognition software and potentially a few other large datasets.

It would be possible for the police to have something like Terminator vision where they could automatically scan any person, pull up their file, and be notified or warned of any existing warrants, parole violations, or even parking tickets. With enough computing power, that could happen almost instantly.

It has the potential to do incredible things for community safety and policing, even if it feels a little bit like a dystopian future we are hurtling towards.

Nonetheless, the technology largely exists if anyone is motivated enough to put the pieces together. Eventually, someone will and the profit for them will be quite tremendous.

I expect something like that to be adopted within the next 5–10 years by many cities.


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