France created a national mechanical telegraph system in the 1790s; in 1834, a pair of crooked bankers named François and Joseph Blanc launched the first cyberattack, poisoning the data that went over the system in order to get a trading advantage in the bond market. (more…)

Why London in 1854 was the world’s first smart city


What’s the first name that comes to mind when you think about a smart city? Elon Musk? Jeff Bezos? Travis Kalanick? It’s natural that we should leap to the technologists. Smart cities are, after all, about technology: driverless cars, drone deliveries, and Minority Report-style signs that change depending on who’s looking at them. But I’ll tell you who I think of first: an English physician called John Snow. An unusual choice, perhaps, given that he died in 1858. The reason I mention him is that as we think about the future of our urban spaces, it’s important to recognize that…

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