By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Technology
A massive billboard in the Netherlands uses augmented reality to raise awareness of the growing threat of aggression and violence toward public servants.
A big mirror, that is, in the form of a massive billboard that displays the real-time activity of the street below.
But there's a catch. Layer a pre-recorded fight on top of the real video stream, and watch as passerby gawk at their own selves, standing idle as two people start swinging "in front" of them.
The public service project is the brainchild of officials in the Netherlands, where street aggression and violence of public servants is a problem -- as is Dutch citizens' tendency to look the other way when it occurs.
The concept: shame citizens into action by placing them, digitally, in the midst of a violent altercation.
In a video, here's a look at the augmented reality project, installed in Amsterdam and Rotterdam:
The hope: Develop among citizens a sense of shared responsibility, community and aid.
At Switched, Matthew Zuras writes that the money would be better used to hire more police officers. But I'm not so sure that would achieve the same affect of awareness, versus actual crime fighting.
What do you think?
May 10, 2010
Hey, Matthew Zuras here. I just wanted to respond to Andrew's citation. To me and to many others, one major role of government is the protection of its citizens. Why, then, are the Dutch shaming their citizens into protecting the government? Of course, one could talk about a citizen's responsibility to his or her community, as SierraEchoHotel did above -- a valid point. But how, exactly, are citizens supposed to "stop accepting violence"? What is the proactive solution? As I mentioned in my original post, does the Dutch government want to engender a country of vigilantes? Why are the bodies that are appointed and employed by the government not keeping themselves (and, ostensibly, the citizens) safe from crime? Are there not enough personnel? If not, hiring more might help, eh? Of course, the great irony of the video is that the Dutch passersby did not leap across the street to make sure that no one was getting pummeled -- they just watched the big screen, instead. But that's not to say that citizens don't share responsibility in keeping others safe. I just don't think, personally, that the onus of public safety should be left to regular people. Perhaps the Dutch government needs to take a look at the cause of all this violence against civil workers (is it some kind of fad to beat up EMTs?) before making it the citizens' responsibility. All I'm sayin'.
911 operators will often receive calls from many witnesses of the same major auto accident. I don't understand why the Dutch will fail to do the same thing when they witness violent crimes. There's a cultural difference here that throws me.
"The money would be better used to hire more police officers." Every time someone tries to raise our personal responsibility level, make us understand the role we play in defining the community in which we live, someone else will trot out this gem. We don't need more police, we need to stop accepting violence in our cities. I have every respect for the role of police, but they cannot be our conscience surrogates.