Data Debate: Cities – Smart or Sinister?

A graphic illustration of a city forming out of the components of a computer memory board

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Are we heading towards an Orwellian future?

AI is increasingly being used to help transform our cities and manage traffic, crime, economic development, sustainability and improve our everyday lives. But at what cost? How much privacy are we surrendering, what are the implications and are they worth it?

Our panel of experts include:

Eva Blum-Dumontet is a researcher at Privacy International, where she leads the work on the intersection of privacy and social and economic rights. She is particularly interested in researching the impact of data exploitation on marginalised communities and people in vulnerable situations. Her previous work has included investigations into the intelligence services in Egypt, the use of social media intelligence as a tool for political repression in Thailand and research on the impact of smart cities on civil rights. Prior to joining Privacy International, Eva was a journalist covering European affairs for the Franco-German state television network Arte.

Sylvie Delacroix a Professor in Law and Ethics at Birmingham Law School as well as a Turing Scholar. Her research focuses on the intersection between law and ethics, with a particular interest in Machine Ethics, Agency and the role of habit within moral decisions (Habitual Ethics?,  Bloomsbury / Hart Publishing, 2020).

Christoph Lindner is Dean of The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment and Professor in Urban Studies at UCL, where he writes about cities, globalization, and issues of social-spatial inequality. He is an urban and cultural theorist whose work spans the fields of architecture, visual culture, geography, media studies, and urban planning and design

Malcolm Smith is Global Masterplanning and Urban Design leader at Arup. Malcolm sets the design strategy for a wide range of urban design projects both in the United Kingdom and internationally that have transactional urbanism at their core. Besides the physical issues of places, his work encompasses issues such as integrated systems, resource efficiency, cultural strategy, multivalent  infrastructures, risk and resilience, circular economy, and restorative landscapes. This approach comes together in the process of Integrated Urbanism.

Chaired by writer and broadcaster Timandra Harkness.  Timandra presents BBC Radio 4 series, FutureProofing and has presented the documentaries, Data, Data Everywhere, Personality Politics & The Singularity.

The discussions are encouraged to continue more informally, over a glass of wine (included), once the formal debate finishes.

Enjoy food and drink purchased from the Knowledge Centre Bar from 18.30 and after the event until the Bar closes at 22.00

Data Debates is a collaboration between The Alan Turing Institute and the British Library and aims to stimulate discussion on issues surrounding big data, its potential uses, and its implications for society.

Join the conversation #TheDataDebates


Name: Data Debate: Cities – Smart or Sinister?
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546