Critical essays (including mine) discuss Toronto's plan to let Google build a surveillance-based "smart city" along its waterfront

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a surveillance-based “smart city”

Why does the World need this? Asking for a friend…


If you enjoy corporate wanking, then have a look yourself:

I think they are promising a better life through data analytics in exchange for every piece of data being owned by google- doctors, groceries, banking, what park bench you favor…


Too much typical neoliberal P3 greasiness and too much techno-utopian self-delusion has made this project problematic to say the least. This situation would be fine if it was limited to the small waterfront testbed, but it looks like the planned surveillance sensors immediately metastasised along existing and planned transit and utility routes outward into the rest of the downtown area where they were not invited.

Putting my planner hat on for a moment, these proposals always frustrate me, because they fundamentaly misunderstand the value of cities. Any attempt to maximize the efficiency of a city’s use nescessarily undercuts its broader utility. A city is an awesome useful thing that drives human innovation precisely because it is used in an incalculable number of frequently conflicting manners. No one should be surprised if they end up creating a sterile suburban office park that happens to be in an urban setting, all while creating a dystopian surveillance hellscape.


What was that phrase you coined? Huxleyed into the full Orwell? This looks like a perfect example of that. Also, @beschizza, nice job with the comment timeline doohickey on the right. It’s probably been there for a while, but I just noticed it.

The work of @codinghorror, @sam and co, not me!


Well, good job everybody! I just recall previous discussions about the niceties of the BoingBoing UI, so assumed you were still the person responsible. Time flies!


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