Brief Chat During ICEGOV2017 Poster Presentation

Had an interesting conversation during the poster presentation at ICEGOV 2017 held at Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi in Mar 2017.

I am generally not inclined towards poster presentations, but I thought I would try out this one - perhaps as a way of getting over my own comfort zone - and it turned out to be an interesting and enriching experience.

Of the many people I got to interact with, one person was rather memorable. From his demeanor, he appeared to be a middle-level bureaucrat who seemed to take issue with the poster.

The basic and rather simple point I was trying to make in the context of smart cities and technologies was that "smartness" was not simply about specific characteristics of technology.
Having well informed communities who participated in governance decisions supposedly for their benefit was perhaps another way to look at smartness.

What was memorable was not his amused initiation changing to irritation as he interacted with me, but the "evidence" that he summoned to back up his position - the classic use for technology for surveillance to keep the populace in control. Apparently, the gentleman had been to Singapore and possibly other such advanced countries where he had seen the use of equipment such as cctv to control crowds who followed the law. India could be another Singapore through use of technology, he confidently told.

In the short amount of time available, I was not really able to engage with the person. The issue, however, is still open. I think there are a lot of people who are inclined to have this view,

Wondering how this engagement can be widened.

Here is a link to the paper:

ACM DL Author-ize serviceSmart Technologies, Smart Governance and Smart Cities
Ravi Shukla
ICEGOV '17 Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance, 2017