Harry Halpin (MIT): “There Is a Lot of Russophobia in the U.S. Press Nowadays, But This Doesn’t Reflect the General Population”
A very interesting meeting took place yesterday in Moscow at the State University – Higher School of Economics. The meeting was devoted to the concept of Smart Cities and a number of ethical problems connected to it, including “techno fascism” issues.
The smart city rhetoric has been actively used over the past decade by big technology, engineering, and consulting companies all over the world. All these years, so-called “urbanists” have been drawing the utopia of ubiquitous wireless broadband and the embedding of computerized sensors into the urban fabric, so that bike racks and lamp posts, CCTV and traffic lights, as well as home appliances such as internet fridges and remote-controlled heating systems, become part of the so-called “internet of things.”
And even despite the fact this has become reality before our very eyes – what should those people who can’t cope with the changing world do? Those people who simply can’t afford all the “smart things”? Should they be deprived of normal life now, in the 21st century?
Another issue is the political one, and as America is ahead of the whole world in this sphere, the country encounters a number of problems directly connected with the “offensive of new technologies towards privacy.” These technologies were meant to help people, but they at times suppress them, violate their rights to counsel and to express freedom of speech, and interfere in their private lives, as if it was another Orwellian utopia.
A USA Really correspondent attended this event and interviewed Harry Halpin, a scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Halpin is also known as the author of the 2012 book Social Semantics: The Search for Meaning on the Web.
According to the words of the well-known researcher, the paradigm of smart cities emerged back in the 1960’s-1970’s, in the era of social changes, when the government tried to control protesters, to keep them calm, not starting riots or defending their civil rights. So, basically, what later evolved into the concept of a “smart city” was initially a tool to control the African American community, which protested the most in those days.
And since the downtowns of many important American cities (such as Chicago and Detroit) were literally burnt as the result of those riots, the government put all effort into this concept, so as to help police units with brand-new technologies and to control activists.
Talking about modern days and responding to the question of who might be targeted by the U.S. Government now, Halpin, who personally doesn’t believe in non-sense “witch-hunt” accusations of Russian interference in the Presidential campaign of 2016, said that there is too much “Russophobia” in the U.S. press nowadays, so the new “target” for the deep state might become those simple White people who vote for the Republicans “regardless.” Yet, most Americans, according to Halpin’s opinion, don’t believe in such nonsense either.
Watch the full version of Harry Halpin’s report at the Higher School of Economics below: