In today’s society it is impossible to live without interacting with software if you are living within a society that has been shaped by Western Culture. In the United Kingdom our focus of productivity has evolved from a manufacturing focused nation to an evolving digital society, the “growing pervasiveness of software has the lifeblood of today’s emerging information society” (Kitchin and Dodge, 2011. Pg.3).
How we use digital devices and coding within our everyday life has grown dramatically since the development of the Internet. Cities such as Dublin have been the forerunner in experimenting how digital technologies can interact within public spaces. Using a coded infrastructure a regulated network that monitors and links coded objects and coded infrastructure in part of fully by software (Kitchin and Dodge, 2011), Dublin has become a major case study for companies such as IBM, CISCO, Dell and Microsoft working in partnership with the city’s leaders to develop projects that will enable its population to become tech savvy.
As a smart city its Dublin’s inhabitants will be able to take advantage of it proposed free public Wi-Fi in its city centre. However, the conditions of this service is under discussion between the city’s council and the Wi-Fi providers about the model of service offered to it inhabitants. Within the information society, data has become the currency of value to many organisations. Using data mining to monitor those using the free Wi-Fi service will enable the council and the providers of the service to monitor how the public uses the space within the city centre, type of communication used while they are plugged into the service and what if any type of merchandise can be sold back to those using the service.
Although there are advantages to the user for this type of Internet availability within the city centre it is easy to see that there will be some concerns as “if people felt that Big Brother was watching them constantly, that would be a disincentive to using the service” (Thomas, 2016).
The idea of a free internet service being offered to all in a public space will help to bridge the gap in a growing digital divide but apart from the tangible boundaries of the space in question are there also intangible boundaries to the user of such a service e.g. the right to privacy when using a service such as this.
Dawes, S. (2014a) ‘Public space, media space’, New Media & Society, 16(7), pp. 1189–1190. doi: 10.1177/1461444814543078b.
Kitchin, R. (2017) The programmable city. Available at: http://www.scoop.it/t/the-programmable-city (Accessed: 26 February 2017).
Kitchin, R. (2016) The programmable city. Available at: http://progcity.maynoothuniversity.ie/2016/11/smart-dublin-in-one-word/ (Accessed: 26 February 2017).
Kitchin, R. and Dodge, M. (2011) Code/space: Software and everyday life. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Thomas, C. (2016) Bringing free public Wifi back to Dublin city centre. Available at: http://www.dublininquirer.com/2016/11/09/bringing-free-public-wifi-back-dublin-city-centre/ (Accessed: 26 February 2017).