Waterfront Toronto hires Element AI to gauge human rights impact of smart-city plan


The Montreal company will review the effect of the 12-acre proposed waterfront project’s myriad sensors and data-collection points on residents’ privacy. (The Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: The move comes amid continuing debate over privacy rights in the age of purpose-built smart cities like the one proposed for Toronto’s Quayside. Google sister company Sidewalk Labs has heralded Quayside’s uber-connectivity, modular design and garbage-collecting subterranean robots as the wave of the future; privacy advocates decry it as a giant data-harvesting exercise designed to fatten Google’s bottom line. Element has previously partnered with Amnesty International to use machine learning in measuring the scale of abuse women face on Twitter.