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'Surveillance capitalism': critic urges Toronto to abandon smart city project

'Surveillance capitalism': critic urges Toronto to abandon smart city project

Read more on the Guardian

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  • There's a lot of push buck to the new Toronto smart city project.

    "No matter what Google is offering, the value to Toronto cannot possibly approach the value your city is giving up,” he wrote, pleading with officials to abandon the project. “It is a dystopian vision that has no place in a democratic

    There's a lot of push buck to the new Toronto smart city project.

    "No matter what Google is offering, the value to Toronto cannot possibly approach the value your city is giving up,” he wrote, pleading with officials to abandon the project. “It is a dystopian vision that has no place in a democratic society.” I think that over the coming decade there will be a lot of push back to new technologies like AI, IOT, robots etc. It won't all be implemented in a straight line as many of the Silicon Valley technologists assure us. Would not be surprised to see robots attacked and vandalised and protests against some types of tech. I am not negative, just it won't all be plain sailing. And it's good that ethics are being taken seriously.

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  • US venture capitalist Roger McNamee warned that technology companies such as Google cannot be trusted to safely manage the data they collect on residents.

    “The smart city project on the Toronto waterfront is the most highly evolved version to date of … surveillance capitalism”, he wrote to the city

    US venture capitalist Roger McNamee warned that technology companies such as Google cannot be trusted to safely manage the data they collect on residents.

    “The smart city project on the Toronto waterfront is the most highly evolved version to date of … surveillance capitalism”, he wrote to the city council, suggesting Google will use “algorithms to nudge human behavior” in ways to “favor its business.”

  • Roger is a valuable member of the Quartz community and always appreciate his comments here and this article is no different. This is an important issue and Toronto needs to be careful with the freedom and trust they give Google when it comes to building a residential area as an experiment.

  • Is this the future? Where in order to afford any kind of desirable living space in a super-city, the deal will be to give up data; data which is now 100% identifiable and connectable, searchable and able to make predictions about behavior at an individual level. At the very least, the data should be

    Is this the future? Where in order to afford any kind of desirable living space in a super-city, the deal will be to give up data; data which is now 100% identifiable and connectable, searchable and able to make predictions about behavior at an individual level. At the very least, the data should be kept securely by an independent third party, which has an ethical governance mandate.

  • “The 12-acre Quayside project, a partnership between Google’s Sidewalk Labs and the city of Toronto, has come under increasing scrutiny amid concerns over privacy and data harvesting....

    ‘No matter what Google is offering, the value to Toronto cannot possibly approach the value your city is giving up,

    “The 12-acre Quayside project, a partnership between Google’s Sidewalk Labs and the city of Toronto, has come under increasing scrutiny amid concerns over privacy and data harvesting....

    ‘No matter what Google is offering, the value to Toronto cannot possibly approach the value your city is giving up,’ [McNamee] wrote, pleading with officials to abandon the project. ‘It is a dystopian vision that has no place in a democratic society.’”

  • Public & private partnerships at scale always struggle. We will learn from this & do better.

  • Institutionalism never ceases to amaze me. As the homeless humans increase institutions strive to be smart by growing the intentional separation in Western culture. Will the poor, homeless, widows, strangers, and orphans have their designated spots on the sidewalk, parks to go back to every night? The

    Institutionalism never ceases to amaze me. As the homeless humans increase institutions strive to be smart by growing the intentional separation in Western culture. Will the poor, homeless, widows, strangers, and orphans have their designated spots on the sidewalk, parks to go back to every night? The predatorial aspects of smart cities, towns, communities is exclusive to the core. But because 'our' institutions came up with the idea, for which we will fight wars, it must be righteous. Again, the structural violence to a people is pronounced and obvious. This mentality runs deep in the psyche of this culture and spills over to many others. It alleviates the anxiety of have to see what institutional policies produce. A people unconcerned for their own liberty will never be concerned for their neighbors.

  • I live not far from the proposed site. It is a relatively small derelict industrial site surrounded by new construction high rises. If Google's data dragnet can be confined to this one area, it would not make for a large impact on the city. if they want to surveil the entire area, well that's dangerous.

  • Aside from data there are too many questions

    Traffic, transit, shopping, schools affordable housing parking. I believe Toronto is trying too hard to be "world class". The city has a lot of issues.

  • This is yet another instance of technology giants like google trying to move from the virtual world to the physical world. They have gathered huge amounts of data and are already infuencing our behaviour in the digital space. It was only about time that they would have attempted to manipulate our behaviour

    This is yet another instance of technology giants like google trying to move from the virtual world to the physical world. They have gathered huge amounts of data and are already infuencing our behaviour in the digital space. It was only about time that they would have attempted to manipulate our behaviour in the physical world. A complete control over the physical infrastructure seems like a perfect opportunity to these companies.