Could Watch Dogs' Smart City Ever Become a Reality?

By Kotaku on at

Our friends at Gizmodo UK have investigated how the "new industrial revolution" could mean that some of Watch Dogs' future might not be impossible, or ever that far off. Here's an excerpt - you can read the full article right here.

The buses and trains run on time. Your heating is automatically set to a comfortable, affordable level. No crime goes unrecorded and pollution levels are kept to a minimum. A smart city, driven by the Internet of Things, promises all these things, and it’s a vision recreated (and exploited) in Ubisoft’s new game, Watch Dogs. But is this merely a sci-fi vision, or a real glimpse at the future?

Back in March, Prime Minister David Cameron called the Internet of Things a “new industrial revolution”, pledging £73 million towards researching it for the benefit of the UK. From small intelligent traffic management systems to large-scale energy infrastructure developments, the Internet of Things could be integrated into city systems at every level in order to economise and increase the efficiency of countless aspects of modern urban life. There’s money to be made here, and money to be saved, and London’s not the only city in pursuit of this sensor-driven, technological utopia -- from Sydney to São Paulo, Beijing to Doha, it’s quickly becoming a priority for city planners across the globe. Milton Keynes, of all places, is becoming a hotbed of development in the area, set to become the first place in the UK to have a town-wide open access Internet of Things network within the next 18 months.

In Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs, it’s a very-near-future Chicago that’s taking the technological leap forward. Here, all major infrastructure is controlled by a central operating system (known in the game as the ctOS). Everything from traffic lights to bridges, fuse boxes to car-blocking bollards are run on a computer system, each networked together with the aim of creating an efficient (and easily-monitored) living space for its populace. It’s heady stuff, but not out of the question -- rather, Ubisoft’s teams are looking towards the logical end result of a city reliant upon the Internet of Things.

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Head to Gizmodo UK to read the full article.