By: Nick Gambino
According to a recent report from The Information it seems as though Google is tossing around the idea of building an entire city from scratch to serve as a test-bed for new and cutting edge technology. To say this is a Google endeavor isn’t exactly correct as it’s a potential endeavor of Sidewalk Labs which is a subsidiary of umbrella corporation, Alphabet.
Alphabet was created as a parent company to Google and other companies and projects so that they wouldn’t have to brand everything “Google.” But let’s be honest, it’s basically Google. Sidewalk Labs is putting together a proposal to start soliciting bids from states and counties to create a digital district and then eventually an entire city. Apparently they’re eyeing parts of Detroit or Denver as possible locations.
The Information had this to say:
“The idea under consideration is for Sidewalk to create an area in the U.S. that serves as a test-bed for new technologies from super fast Internet to autonomous cars, according to several people involved in the effort. Some 100 city planning experts, researchers and technologists have been involved with the project.”
What this entirely digital city would look like is anyone’s guess. I’m thinking self-driving cars, smart hubs to control everything from traffic lights to utilities like gas and electric, central WiFi, air traffic lanes for flying cars, robots handling basic service duties like drive-thrus, flying cars, robots secretly plotting to take total control of Google City and enslaving all resident humans, flying cars.
This is all speculation of course. The question is: will everything be electric? Will we see a city built without the need for gas-powered machinery? It could be an interesting test to see if we could in fact live without oil. As for now the Alphabet/Sidewalk Labs/Google digital city remains a rumor. I’m sure we will hear more of this in the coming months.
While the idea excites me and fills me with hope that this will be a step in the right direction with green energy solutions a definite possibility, I can’t help but to think we might be a living prequel to a couple of my favorite Sci-Fi films – Blade Runner and Terminator. I’m all for faster Wi-Fi, less auto accidents and electric-powered machinery but I’m less than thrilled at the idea of computers becoming self-aware á la Skynet.
What do you think about an all-digital, smart city built from scratch? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.
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