SINGAPORE (July 9): Housewife Doreen Tan is “brushing up on the use of computers” to prepare herself to be part of Singapore’s Smart Nation vision. But she is less comfortable about the zetabytes of data that the government and commercial organisations are collecting to create the smart city, an urban environment enabled by information and communications technology. “Everything they know; not so good,” she says.

Could her reservations prevent her from signing up for some of the schemes that mine her data for, say, improvements in municipal services? What, then, of other programmes making up the Smart Nation infrastructure? In November 2014, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made a bold statement to turn Singapore into a “smart nation” by 2024. “Our vision is… a nation where people live meaningful and fulfilled lives, enabled seamlessly by technology, offering exciting opportunities for all,” Lee said in his speech at the Smart Nation launch.

In the four years since, data-driven proofof- concepts and pilot projects have exploded across the island state, from “smart” dustbins to “smart” streetlights. The latter will be fitted with sensors and cameras that can direct autonomous vehicles, catch errant e-scooters and identify suspicious objects/ people of interest for security reasons.

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