What happens in Vegas no longer stays in Vegas, as local authorities intend to install street lights that record sound and shoot video, among many other things.
Until recently, lampposts served one purpose and one purpose only: they provided lights so that car drivers and pedestrians can see their way. However, some bright heads figured out that adding a bit of functionality to street lights wouldn’t hurt. While some of them imagined street lamps as giant umbrellas that open up when it’s raining, others thought that these could be successfully used for charging the smartphone when its battery is running low. Intellistreets, as the ones soon to be installed in Las Vegas are called, are meant to increase public safety by producing an audio and video feed for the authorities to watch (I’m trying hardly to neglect the Big Brother aspect of this matter).
The developers of Intellistreets emphasized that these unique streetlights represent a simultaneous solution for energy management, security and entertainment. Neil Rohleder of the city’s Public Works Department, stated that the innovative lampposts will be installed in the center of the city in the first stage: “We want to develop an experience for the people who come downtown.”
Illuminating Concepts, the company who developed Intellistreets, has a motto that seems to be very relevant for the context: “Assisting in the Creation of Memorable Environments since 1981.” Of course, they mean to keep our minds off the microphones and video cameras that will be integrated in the lampposts, while reminding us that there will be music coming out of the Intellistreets.
In an interview with MyNews3, Las Vegas public works Director Jorge Cervantes mentioned that “Right now our intention is not to have any cameras or recording device. It’s just to provide output out there, not to get any feed or video feed coming back.” The phrase from the end of the interview is quite unsettling: “Intellistreets also enables a myriad of homeland security features.” More than keeping people safe, these lampposts will violate their privacy. As though there isn’t enough surveillance on social networks and the websites we visit daily, now we have to fear that the lamppost on our street will shoot videos of us while taking a walk with our loved ones.
Below is a 2-year old video of the concept. Here’s to hoping that such street lights, despite being innovative, won’t extend all over the world!
If you liked this post, please check Lampbrella, the water activated umbrella for British rainy days, and China’s street light that can charge your smartphone.