Sidewalk Labs tags

Bull Session

Techno-Utopia and Alphabet’s Smart City

October 27, 2017          

Episode Summary

For our podcast topic this week, we discuss the design proposal by Sidewalk Labs—a smart city technologies firm, owned by Alphabet, Google parent’s company—for the City of Toronto. Sidewalk Labs will be partnering with the city to create a mixed-use community on Toronto’s waterfront. The aim of the pilot project is to build a smart city from the ground up, drawing on recent technological innovations in software analytics, the IoT, and self-driving cars, as well as improvements in methods of construction, waste disposal, and energy systems. Concerns about privacy abound, however. A recent Toronto Star editorial voiced some skepticism that promises of security and privacy protection would actually be built into the new infrastructure of the smart city. Join us as we discuss.

Resources:
Alphabet is Trying to Reinvent the City, Starting with Toronto
Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to turn Toronto area into a model smart city
Don’t lose sight of personal privacy in futuristic city: Editorial

Bull Session

Smart Cities and Sidewalk Labs

April 28, 2016          

Episode Summary

On this episode of The Digital Life we discuss Google’s Sidewalk Labs and its radical plans to design a smart city from scratch. Sidewalk Labs wants to work with cities to build applications that solve big urban problems and accelerate innovation around the world. However, in their pursuit of these solutions, the company is seeking autonomy from many city regulations, so it can build free of the many constraints that come with the design of streets, parking, and utilities.

Sidewalk Labs already has two solutions in progress: Flow, a transportation coordination platform in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation; and LinkNYC, kiosks with gigabit fiber connections delivering WiFi, USB charging, free voice calls, and a tablet for access to the Internet.