Of course, a dystopian nightmare City is not how this is being sold by the tech giant – the pitch is more in line with a Utopian paradise, but carry on reading and you decide which description is more accurate.
Alphabet Smart City is a project by Sidewalk Labs, wants to transform the waterfront of the Canadian metropolis Toronto into a technology-driven utopia. Their plan consists of implementing self-driving cars, smart curbs, smart traffic signals, public wi-fi, facial recognition software and smart sensory technology. Every aspect of the cities functionality and the human interactions which take part within the city would be interconnected through IoT (Internet of Things) technology.
The project intends to build a range of housing, half of which would be “made to measure” rental housing, with additional ‘affordable’ housing and middle-income housing. Just how affordable such housing is highly questionable and how these various grades of housing would be located in relation to one another is also of concern.
The biggest concerns from locals are about privacy, with so much data being absorbed into this smart city from human interactions it is feared the data will be up for grabs to anyone willing to pay for it. We know there are plenty of bidders for such information.
These concerns have further intensified as the companies lead expert and privacy consultant, Ann Cavoukian has resigned over concerns of how the plans intend to deal with privacy, Engadget reports:
The team has lost its lead expert and consultant, Ann Cavoukian, over a proposed data trust that would approve and manage the collection of information inside Quayside, a conceptual smart neighbourhood in Toronto. Cavoukian, the former information and privacy commissioner for Ontario, disagrees with the current plan because it would give the trust power to approve data collection that isn’t anonymized or “de-identified” at the source. “I had a really hard time with that,” she told Engadget. “I just couldn’t… I couldn’t live with that.”
If we really want to see how smart technology can be misused we only have to look to China, where you can now be automatically fined, restricted and penalised via their frightening social crediting system.
As I said earlier, the project is being sold as a utopia – as in this early promotional video:
But as Joe Rogan points out in the following clip from his recent interview with Abby Martin, this is social engineering at its finest:
This project isn’t just something being proposed in Toronto, there are smart cities popping up all over the World and unless people oppose this new technological societal transformation we will all soon see just how oppressive it can be on our lives. If you thought Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were invading your privacy through their social network platforms, then you aint seen nothin’ yet!