Sidewalk Labs' Digital City Idea May Be Real


Not terribly long ago, Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs head Dan Doctoroff suggested that building a digital city as a test bed for all the latest and greatest technology wouldn't be a bad idea. Described in the wildest possible terms, the city or district would be a utopia, where new tech could be rolled out to a willing populace for testing and implementation and even analytics. There was even talk of setting up this city in an area without laws somehow, to allow the new tech to hit the streets without regulatory meddling. Speculation ran wild that the plan was real and already in the works after those words and it looks like speculation may have been correct. While Sidewalk Labs may be in its infancy, with only one project actually active and one other in the early phases, it seems that some parts of a very toned-down version of the possible plot that was talked about earlier are indeed in the works.

The rather far-fetched project is already in the planning stage, with a good number of high-ranking people involved, banding together to get a proposal ready. If Alphabet approves of the pet project, bids will be taken from municipalities in the U.S., possibly before the end of this year. With Dan Doctoroff having been the deputy mayor of New York City at one point, to say he knows a thing or two about urban planning and infrastructure would be the understatement to end all understatements. Aiding him in his quest to create a digital haven are, for the moment, are big names like Anthony Townsend of Institute of the future, as well as the CEO of home building company Lennar.


Although there are a good number of highly skilled individuals preparing a proposal, which would include full-scale plans for such a project, both Alphabet and Sidewalk Labs declined to comment on the matter, saying that this was all pure speculation at this point. For the moment, that's actually mostly true; there is nothing set in stone and no definite planning done at this stage. If the proposal gets the green light from Alphabet, however, that could change in short order, depending on how many cities want to be assimilated and how badly they want it.

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Senior Staff Writer

Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, Voice assistants, AI technology development news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]

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