China Developing Smart City Run Entirely By AI With Sensors Collecting People’s Live Data
China is developing a new ‘smart city,’ which is run entirely by artificial intelligence.
Residents living in AI City, and their visitors, would be served by intelligence which uses data-collecting sensors and devices to gather information about them.
While its founders say the project, which is named Cloud Valley, is designed to provide a more comfortable standard of living, others have raised concerns over the potential privacy issues it raises.
Danish architecture company BIG and Terminus, a Chinese tech company, revealed their plans to build the Smart City in the south-western Chinese city of Chongqing, during online tech conference Web Summit last week.
‘It’s almost coming back to this idea of living in a village where, when you show up, even though it’s the first time you’re there, the bar tender knows your favourite drink,’ BIG founding partner, Bjarke Ingels, said, as per MailOnline.
‘When our environment becomes sensing and sentient, we can really open up that kind of seamlessness because the AI can recognise people coming. So, it can open the door, so they don’t have to look for their key cards.’
The AI will gather information on residents by harvesting information form their WIFI-connected devices, in a bid to automatically react to their needs.
Although it was only unveiled last week, Cloud Valley, which is expected to span across the equivalent of 200 football pitches, was actually launched in April of this year.
‘As sunlight hits the houses, bedroom windows adjust their opacity to allow the natural light to wake sleepy residents,’ Terminus described on its website.
‘Once the light has filled the room, an AI virtual housekeeper named Titan selects your breakfast, matches your outfit with the weather, and presents a full schedule of your day.’
However, the announcement ruffled a few feathers at the tech conference, with many people likening the surveillance aspect to George Orwell’s 1984.
Eva Blum-Dumontet, a senior researcher at British advocacy group Privacy International, warned that Smart Cities could pose a huge threat to human rights if governments don’t put in measures to limit surveillance, as well as ensuring those who aren’t ‘tech literate’ aren’t left out in the cold.
‘We need to ask, for instance, how the city will affect people who may not be tech literate,’ she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, as per MailOnline.
‘This risk is all the greater when there is not a legal framework limiting the access that governments can obtain over the data collected by private companies.’
While the Smart City sounds like something straight from an episode of Black Mirror to many of us, China already has a number of restaurants and factories manned entirely by robots.
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