Smart Sensors, Cyborgs, and Cybernetics: A critical reading of smart city technologies

Authors: Chen Xu*, University of Wyoming
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Temporal GIS, Geographic Thought
Keywords: social media, cyborg, cybernetics, geographic information science
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Bayside A, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The utilization of digital technologies has left traces about their users’ behaviors. Collectively these digital traces reflect the status of cities at any given time point; and the technology users become smart sensors capable of generating and acting upon information. The synergy between people and technology transforms each individual and creates cyborgs. Cities traversed by cyborgs become sensible. In this article, cybernetics as a framework has been applied for examining the implications of this phenomenon. Twitter data are used exemplarily to illustrate the complexity of cyborg identities. Twitter data as one type of many digital traces have helped shed light on spatiotemporal activities, but their producers’ identities are complex. Cybernetics is implemented to formalize the relations between cities and their dwellers as communication and feedback loops. Then second order cybernetics is implemented for a critical reading of smart city technologies.

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