In 2004 as a middle school boy, I remember watching the movie iRobot starring Will Smith as he lived in a futuristic representation of the city of Chicago. In the movie, Will Smith drove an electric hovering Audi sports car, lifted weights with the assistance of his prosthetic super arm and even saved an entire city from a super army of brilliant human-like robots. As I watched the movie for the first time I was very skeptical of these futuristic fantasy like technologies. Today, my previous skepticism is now utter disbelief as new technologies are being created that make it seem like our world really is headed in the direction of robots, flying cars and smart cities.
One company that aims to bring this iRobot like story to life (hopefully without the super army of robots) is the International Business Machines Corporation otherwise known as IBM. IBM has recently launched a “People for Smarter Cities Program.” This program aims to gather leaders, citizens and ideas together to improve cities and create change. In order to market this initiative IBM created “smart billboards” to market the program throughout cities in America. Billboards have become overlooked and ineffective in today’s ever changing and technology embraced world. To change this view of billboard marketing and promote smarter cities, IBM has created interactive city billboards with a simple curve on them that helps people in a time of need. The billboards that advertise for the program serve as a marketing tool but also serve city dwellers with a bench, cover them from rain or even serve as a ramp on a set of stairs.
IBM is implementing this new marketing tool as it pushes its “Smarter Cities” program and releases its newest ‘Watson’ technology which is one of our first iRobot like super computers that talks, interacts and grows smarter as it learns. Our world is starting to look more and more like the movies depicted it to be.