Source: Susan Crawford, Bloomberg View

This summer, data scientists and architects in Chicago are working on a new form of civic infrastructure: highly visible, aesthetically pleasing, one-foot-square boxes mounted on light poles that track environmental conditions around them. If this is the new surveillance state, it's nothing like what you expected.

Those small boxes represent a big idea: Inside each one, about a dozen sensors measure heat, humidity, air quality, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide levels, light and noise levels, and those data will be made publicly available so that they can be used by application developers and researchers as well as the city. The implications of this project are game-changing.