Qian Cao

"Follow the Signal Light!"

Section MS10, Matthew Darmour-Paul

Keywords: moving image, technology, urbanism

Transportation is the pulse of urban economic development, inseparable from human life, and plays an important role in urban economic and social development. With the advancement of technology and the promotion of smart cities, smart transportation has begun to enter people's lives quietly.

The common traffic light, which changes from red to yellow and green to control urban traffic, is also becoming more intelligent in this technological revolution. Intelligent traffic lights can obtain real-time traffic flow data, such as vehicle numbers, car speeds, and road congestion. Making the utilization rate of green lights in each direction and traffic flow increase or decrease in accordance with the same trend, effectively identifying the traffic flow at an intersection dynamically, automatically adjusting signal timing to reduce congestion. Even according to the analysis of traffic flow data under different periods of time and weather conditions, to control the traffic flow in advance.

From being manually switched by a police officer to being automated by fully networked traffic software,"intelligent" transportation has been integrated into people's lives, responsible for making "intelligent" decisions on their behalf. Artificial intelligence has been effectively integrated into the details of people's lives. Many citizens did not even notice this change.

As an outstanding representative of smart cities, Shanghai won the highest honor at the 2020 Global Smart City Conference. In this work, I take the traffic signal light in Shanghai as an object to reflect on emerging relationships between technology, politics and human beings. The development process of the junctions, my future vision and the "life" and "death" assumption of traffic lights, compile a story line to show my concerns about the rapid development of science and technology, the convenience it brings to the city and citizens, possible challenges to certain authority and problems that may follow.

With the advent of smart cities, in the upcoming "future" of transportation technology, when we transform personal decisions into cold data, do our time and route depend on algorithms and data? Will cities become the same and lose their local characteristics? Is people's privacy still safe? Is technology trustworthy? When we are keen on pursuing technology, what should we think about?