What will the city of the future look like? According to Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Alphabet: smart. The company was founded in 2015 to solve urban problems through technology. Their latest project is a Toronto neighborhood, Quayside, which could soon be home to up to 5,000 residents along the city’s waterfront. The vision includes self-driving cars and a network of sensors that will monitor infrastructure data from building occupancy to sewage flow. There are even plans for an underground network of robots to deliver mail and collect garbage. Altogether, the new district would use new technologies to tackle old urban problems.
While smart cities have been envisioned for decades (think the Jetsons), such a project has yet to be successful. Sidewalk Labs hopes to design the first. They have already gotten a number of Quayside is not without skeptics and critics, however. One of the biggest concerns is data security. With such a network of sensors, some data privacy advocates are concerned about who will have access. Artificial intelligence is all around us and, if Quayside is successful, might one day move into a neighborhood near you. It is the mission of AIWS to consider ways to ensure that such projects benefit everyone.