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Take a moment to think back to your high school years. Chances are you probably read George Orwell’s chilling dystopian novel “1984,” which centered around a society dominated by mass media and stringent government surveillance. Fear was the iron fist that inspired obedience in the people.
For those who’ve forgotten how the novel ends or never read “1984,” the book’s ending can only be described as nauseating.
Justin Haskins, co-author of “Dark Future,” is concerned that the new smart cities politicians across the nation are touting are disturbingly similar to Orwell’s fictitious society that has long been considered evil and invasive.
Haskins tells Stu Burguiere that the advocates of smart cities will attempt “to sell you on lots of conveniences,” including better-maintained cities, improved affordability, reduced crime, etc.
And while all of those things certainly sound beneficial, there’s a dark side – a very dark side.
“The idea behind smart cities,” Haskins says, “is: ‘Let’s embed technology everywhere; let’s know what’s happening everywhere in the city, not just with cameras … but also with a variety of different sensors.”’
To lure people in, they’ll promise to “build in all kinds of privacy protections,” Haskins explains, adding, “but those privacy protections are subject to change whenever they want” and at their core are “not really privacy protection[s]” at all.
Of course smart city developers will assure people that as long as they’re not criminals, they have nothing to worry about, but is this something we're willing to blindly trust?
“The amount of data that’s being collected” in these smart cities, Haskins explains, “is so extreme” that in places like New York where they’ve already started experimenting with smart city technology, they can “literally [monitor] your use of the toilet” and tell you to “stop flushing” if the powers that be deem it necessary.
China has already fully embraced the smart city, and while its crime rate is certainly lower, the Chinese society is communist and ruled by fear, and “we don’t want that world,” Haskins says.
But it seems that whether we like it or not, that world is coming for us. To find out what the World Economic Forum has planned for cities across the globe, watch the full clip below.
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