BetaCity—Seeing, Sensing, Sharing

Designed and created by: Michael Smyth, Ingi Helgason, Michael McKellar; Centre for Interaction Design, Edinburgh Napier University.

Interactive Installation, two videos

BetaCity tracks your movements through the urban space.

You are a node in the network, a unit travelling in the crowd. The city harvests your data trail, making your presence known, shared and visible to all.

But BetaCity knows who you really are. Watching, recording and storing your information, the city chooses what to reveal. Is your true identity safe within the city walls?

The density of cities has always provided people with physical and emotional sustenance, as well as the anonymity of the crowd that we sometimes crave. In the near future this could change against a backdrop of increased technological systems both in the fabric of the city and among its citizens. Imagine a city that can continuously monitor and track our movements and habits, silently gathering data, extracting meaning and making decisions on our behalf, protecting us from harm through unseen eyes.

Is this our future? Is this a choice or is it already reality?