Are GAFA dangers for our cities?

by bold-lichterman

Telecommunications, transport, health, commerce… The digital giants are attacking all the building blocks of the world in which we live. With their influence growing on a global scale every day, they nurture ever higher ambitions. Instead of just creating products, these behemoths, led by GAFA, are looking even further. After having launched a plethora of services to improve our daily lives, they are now interested in the management of our cities.

Thus, Google will develop its vision of the city of the future with the construction of an entire district in Toronto, Canada, where cameras, sensors, microphones or even interfaces will make it possible to analyze activity in real time and life quality. Other giants, such as IBM, are also looking to invent the city of tomorrow in which algorithms will be at the service of citizens. However, by becoming town planners, don’t these overpowering firms represent a risk for the sovereignty of cities and a danger for our individual freedoms? Jean Haëntjens, economist-urban planner, specialist in urban strategies, looked into the subject through his book How the digital giants want to govern our cities (Street of the chessboard).