24 August 2013
Our brave new world starts with these brave new cities.
So-called smart cities aren’t just some far off futuristic abstract twinkle in the New World Order’s eye…these are being built right now.
Think privacy and freedom are limited commodities now? Try having either of those things living in a smart city control grid where everything you do is tracked, traced, chipped and monitored 24 hours a day.
Masdar City: ‘City of the Future’
Currently being built in Abu Dhabi at a price tag of $22 billion, Masdar (which means “the source”) is a six-kilometer walled smart city shaped like two squares that resemble The Borg’s Unicomplex from the sci-fi TV show Star Trek. Set for a target population of 50,000 people, the city promises to be carbon emission-free with 100% renewable energy. Traditional cars are completely out; while walking, biking and mass transit are encouraged. Futuristic driverless ‘personal rapid transit’ (PRT) pod cars are being considered, but are apparently quite costly. The tiny cars look like a smaller version of the little electronic cars featured in the 1980s film Total Recall.
As a research and testing ground for smart technologies, The National reported, “The officials running Masdar’s power grid will have access to detailed data on how energy is being used at any given moment and will have the means to directly moderate high rates of consumption to balance supply with demand.” [emphasis added]
Sensometrix SA – a Geneva-based company and leader in next generation biometric technology with products including “SensoBrain” and the eerie biometric slogan “Your hand is the future” – will work with Masdar to continue developing the company’s security technologies such as identity access management.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) headquarters is set to reside in Masdar as well. After the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) signed on to the project in 2010, Hillary Clinton spoke at The Masdar Institute, remarking, “the partnership that we have established between the United States and Abu Dhabi around renewable energy and climate change and sustainable development that takes advantage of human capital is one of the most important partnerships for the future that we could be pursuing.” Clinton also noted the work in Masdar is “in the interest of global progress”.
While truly sustainable, renewable green energy sources are a positive thing on the surface, the flip side to this community is that everything will be wired into a top-to-bottom, completely controlled smart grid. As experimental technologies are tested out over there, the U.S. deal through the DOE ensures these technologies will be “shared” (or someday imposed?) over here.
Considering the rise of these smart cities, NY Times Nicolai Ouroussoff wrote,“What Masdar really represents, in fact, is the crystallization of another global phenomenon: the growing division of the world into refined, high-end enclaves and vast formless ghettos where issues like sustainability have little immediate relevance.”
The city was set for 2016 completion, but several delays, including dust storms that incapacitated the solar panels, have set Masdar back to a potential 2020 end date.
Songdo International Business District: A ‘City in a Box’
The 100 million square foot Songdo, a $40 billion project by Gale International and Morgan Stanley Real Estate, has been dubbed the “City in a Box,” and is set for completion by 2015. Smart Data Collective.com reports that Songdo will be completely wired, with microchips and/or wireless sensors in practically everything from houses to cars to children who will wear tracking bracelets just in case they get lost. TelePresence screens will adorn all businesses and shops. Even the garbage will offer the city’s central monitoring unit real-time data for instant analysis via microchip cards. As if the ubiquitous sensors and microchips weren’t enough, everything in Songdo will also be monitored via CCTV cameras as well.
“The data will provide valuable insights in how people work, live and think within the smart city,” wrote Mark van Rijmenam of Smart Data Collective. [emphasis added]
Smart Grid, Stupid Implications
At first, giving real-time data on everything you do from the utilities you use to the garbage you throw away to a giant computer to help regulate resources and waste might sound helpful. Leave your water running? No worries, a computer can send a signal to the main control hub to shut it off for you. But as David Sasaki points out, smart cities could lead to dumb citizens: “There is a real risk that as our lives become more automated we become more like automatons. We will follow the guidance of our smart phones without reflecting on how we live our lives, and how we engage in our communities.” [emphasis added]
Sasaki’s comment recalls the instance of Japanese tourists driving their car into an Australian bay because they followed orders from their GPS over their own eyeballs.
Beyond that, while Sasaki notes that citizens could be given tax breaks, for example, if they reduce their water consumption, the same hand that can give can also take away by penalizing those in smart cities who use what might be considered too much of any resource – a determination that could easily adjust over time to become even more restrictive.
Ever since 9/11 in America, we’ve seen a government that has completely abandoned the Constitution with undeclared drone wars that lack any form of due process; the declaration of the homeland as a battlefield and the ability to detain and disappear citizens with the National Defense Authorization Act; unprecedented expansion of the National Security Administration big brother surveillance state; the continual militarization of our police and further expansion of the Transportation Security Administration; and unfair targeting practices of certain political groups considered oppositional to the president’s agenda by the Internal Revenue Service just to name a few.
Smart grid cities have the potential to bring some really wonderful alternative energy sources to the table, but with the power balance shifted into all the wrong hands, these cities amount to little more than glorified electronic concentration camps with trendy façades that play on “green guilt”.
To put tyrannical governments in control of a network of these electronic concentration camps makes George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 look like a Sunday afternoon at a preschool playground.