New Video Game Explores Susceptibility of Smart Cities

The fact that cities are becoming more technologically reliant and interconnected is good, right? But, what happens if the controls of the "smart city" fall into the wrong hands? A new video game explores such a scenario, writes Nate Berg.
June 6, 2012, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Announced this week by maker Ubisoft, "Watch Dogs" is set in a not-too-distant future in which "central operating systems" provide "control over the infrastructure of the city, including traffic lights, subway lines, surveillance cameras, water and nuclear power supplies, the electricity grid and even building-level security systems," explains Berg. 

The presumption behind the dystopian setting for Watch Dogs is that, "In a less-than ideal world, that centralized network can collect information about city residents for the benefit of private companies, and the entire system will be vulnerable to hackers with intentions both sinister and deadly."

As Berg notes, "the premise of tapping into the controls of a networked city for tactical or even malicious purposes is both an intriguing role-playing concept and a worrying vision of what may lie not too far ahead as cities become 'smart.'"

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Published on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 in The Atlantic Cities
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