Walt Disney’s Tomorrowland in Disneyland inspires people about technology’s progress. It shows inventions that make life easier, shows how to more quickly and safely move around, and educates us about the world around us.
Soon there will be a new Tomorrowland in Toronto, Canada. The only difference is, this city of the future will be built by everyone’s favorite search engine, Google!
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has another company called Sidewalk Labs. After months of searching, they decided Toronto would be ideal for the experiments they want to run. The 800-acre area will include self-driving taxis and buses, inexpensive modular homes for inner-city living and building them in mass production, automated garbage trucks, and weather mitigation features (wind shields and heated surfaces). The ultimate goal for the project is to make cost of living much cheaper and give time back to people, and make this practice scalable and widely available.
However, with these advancements comes a potential risk. Google is great at gathering data on anyone who uses their products and services. Their tracking methods include distinguishing peoples’ voices via Google Assistant/Home, tracking travel habits via Google Maps, and of course what you’re interested in via the search engine and browser. Integrating Google into our lives could mean that they monitor us even more closely. With this close monitoring of our lives, we need to ensure that proper precautions are taken to protect our privacy. Will privacy have any place in a whole city run by Google?
While the world of tomorrow sounds wonderful, we should consider if we’re ready to give up our today.
Eric Cawley is an occasional blogger for Gary Stringham & Associates. Gary provides consulting and expert witness services in embedded systems such as robotics. Feel free to contact Gary at 208-939-6984.