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Del Mar Gets Smart
Izzie Arthur | 16th Street

Driverless Del Mar Patrol Car on the prowl.
Photo illustration Art Olson.
Click to enlarge.

At a recent session, the City Council approved a new strategic plan for Del Mar’s government. Based on the results of a study undertaken by the Finance Committee, Council has decided to fully embrace advances in technology to increase efficiency and reduce the costs of City government using artificial intelligenge (AI). City spokesperson, Hope Lowe, spoke with the Sandpaper and laid out the broad scope of the plan, which was formulated with the help of the Smart City Consulting firm Citytron. Ms. Lowe noted that the approach will have a revolutionary impact on City functions and is being called “Del Mar 2.0.” The Finance Committee’s Max Pennypacker and Citytron consultant, Les Brainyard, predicted that with Del Mar’s size and demographics, the adoption of the latest technology for city government will serve as a prototype for other cities and could even garner support from Jeff Bezos’s City of the Future Initiative to help pay for its implementation.

Pennypacker noted that the first steps will be a major reworking of our law enforcement operations by utilizing AI technology to solve Del Mar’s perennial policing dilemma. Since traffic violations are significantly reduced when patrol cars are present, the City will acquire several self-driving patrol vehicles, which will continuously cruise Del Mar’s roads, creating the ultimate in traffic law compliance. As the technology improves, these cars also will replace parking enforcement staff. Artificially Intelligent vehicles will scan license plates and read parking meter status as they circulate around town, recognizing violations and issuing tickets. Subsequently, many other policing functions will be relegated to AI automation. Category 4 enforcement calls, involving reports of burglaries and break-ins will be handled by mobile “Alexis-like” agents which can quickly arrive at the crime scene in their self-driving vehicle to take testimony from the victims. This will reduce the response time for such calls to under 5 minutes, without the need of increasing law enforcement personnel. While at present there is no plan to utilize “robo-cops” for more serious criminal activities, it remains an option for the future.

Viewing development projects in Virtual Reality.
Photo illustration Art Olson.
Click to enlarge.

Citytron’s Brainyard described how Internet capabilities will be expanded with AI enabled interactive options for handling all city business – “think of it as Del Mar’s answer to Amazon Prime” he offered. If one wants to book a city facility such as Seagrove Park for a wedding, or the Powerhouse for a birthday party, it will all be done interactively online – no staff intervention or personal factors involved. To apply for development permits one will interact with Artificial Intelligence agents called “bots” which will assess the requirements for the project and inform the applicant how to proceed. A virtual model of the entire city will be available to assist both developers and neighbors in assessing the impacts of proposed projects. This 3D virtual reality (VR) model, which will represent all the buildings and natural features within Del Mar, will be available for download and be updated with the proposed projects as they are submitted. Using VR goggles anyone will be able to navigate around the city’s neighborhoods and view a proposed development from any location on the street or from the windows, decks and yards of nearby homes. For citizens who don’t own VR goggles, they will be made available at the new City Hall, or in the Del Mar Library.

As the technology advances, more city functions involving decision making will be relegated to artificialy intelligent bots, using Deep Learning algorithms. As CityTron’s Brainyard explained “even though no one understands how these algorithms come to their self-derived conclusions, our engineers have demonstrated that their AI agents outperform humans in most important decision making tasks. CityTron is training AI capable Consulting bots for city planning and Lawyer bots are also under development.” Financial Committee member Pennypacker emphasized “Del Mar’s use of these advances will cut city costs considerably. They’ll enable significant reductions in city staff with savings in both salaries and pension obligations.” City Spokesperson Lowe also remarked on the new efficiencies, but lamented that she wouldn’t be around to see it, since she is being replaced by a bot as of April 1. Max Brainyard went on to announce that the next big project at CityTron will be a City Manager bot, while Pennypacker, summed up Del Mar 2.0 saying “with these smart autonomous agents in place. the future of Del Mar will be safer, cheaper, and conflict-free. In the near future, I wouldn’t be surprised if the only human City staff left will be our lifeguards.”



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