That is, every present state of the smart city is understood as a demo or prototype of a future smart city; every operation is understood in terms or testing and updating. As a consequence, there is never a finished product, but rather infinitely replicable, yet always preliminary versions of these cities around the globe. Engineers openly speak of these cities as an “experiment” and as a “test,” admitting that the system did not work but could be improved in the next instantiation elsewhere in the world. This idea of the infrastructure as “demo” avoids any actual questions of whether this construction impacts the planet, labor, or its inhabitants, and opens the door to assimilate any difficulty or challenge into the next version by way of deferral. This design logic allows the management and negotiation of risks through derivation (from an imagined origin) in a manner that avoids ever having to finally encounter or take responsibility for the impact of respective events—whether weather, economic, or security. This evasion of encounter with the world happens because the credit has been swapped, or the version already rendered obsolete before anyone can take the time to evaluate the implications of the original bet or question the actual process being deployed. If a prototype “fails,” which is to say is found ecologically or economically sub-optimal or un-resilient, then this failure does not provoke a widescale structural change in approach (for the next development has already been planned), but rather a modulation of current strategy; an assimilation of the adverse event, or any other forms of resistance, into the next model while maintaining the basic operations of the ecology or system the same.

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