by Mike Masnick

Korea Tries To Build Tomorrowland For Real As A Showcase City

from the modern-city-planning dept

It's already become quite common for Western technologists to head over to South Korea to see what's catching on there. It's often seen as a window into the future of technology in other parts of the world -- once they get a bit more broadband. However, it looks like some in South Korea are realizing they now need to raise the bar. Everyone knows what's been successful there. So rather than just introducing the next generation of technologies (which they are working on), they're actually working on fully planned out cities where high tech is completely ubiquitous. The story reads like a concept from a sci-fi movie, where everything is automated -- and everyone is watched and monitored all the time. As the article notes, while people have talked about such things in the west (and many of the technologies were designed outside of Korea), there are fewer concerns about privacy issues there. It's definitely an interesting idea, and will be worth watching what comes out of it -- but one thing to be worried about is that the entire thing sounds too "planned" from a top-down perspective. While that may work in some areas (building broadband networks, for example), it's tough to successfully understand and predict the perfect set of technologies needed for every aspect of a city's functioning. It's the type of thing where if they get one thing wrong, it could make the entire place undesirable for residents -- and could make it into a costly failure.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Jim, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 10:25pm

    this is a new idea how?

    please look to the Japanese who have been doing this for years. Korea is a Johnny-come-lately in this realm, I can't believe the author makes no reference to this. oh well

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    dorpus, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 10:39pm

    Planned Failure

    Are the street lights also going to have tear gas dispensers when the anti-American riots happen?

    South Korea has the world's lowest birth rate, and a rapidly aging population. After the city fails, they can turn it into a holocaust camp for the old people, shuttling them off into public housing projects.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Mike (profile), Oct 4th, 2005 @ 11:10pm

    Re: this is a new idea how?

    I did think people might bring up Japan, but Japan is often considered a fairly different situation. A lot of western tech companies consider South Korea to be a lot more representative of Western-style cultures. Japan... they have a lot more difficulty in figuring out, so they look at what happens there, and think it's cool, but always seem unsure about whether or not the same technologies would succeed elsewhere.

    A lot of techies regard South Korea to be a much better place to follow trends.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    dorpus, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 11:25pm

    Re: this is a new idea how?

    Yeah, Korea's culture is a simpler, cruder version of Japan, so it might be easier for Western companies to figure out -- just like they flocked to Ireland, because it's a simpler England.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Flamsmark, Oct 5th, 2005 @ 9:48am

    Re: this is a new idea how?

    Ireland [is] a simpler England

    i'm english and i think that's bs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    dorpus, Oct 5th, 2005 @ 11:54am

    Re: this is a new idea how?

    Depending on the Englishman you talk to, they either are or are not a part of the EU, they either are or aren't "European". English is not widely spoken in England, owing to its diverse population, as well as its vast diversity of dialects separated by region and class. Anti-American riots happen regularly in England, and the attitudes are present in the workplace also, with workers throwing fits over the "mistakes" of American English, or having American rules "imposed" on them. Like Muslims, they also demand mid-day breaks for their "tea times". This makes England less attractive to American companies. Speakers of British English have difficulty being understood by non-British, while Irish-English sounds similar to Hindi-English and is easier to understand for Americans and Indians, who account for the vast majority of the world's English speakers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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