Smart Cities: Reviewing the Debate about their Ethical Implications
39 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2022 Last revised: 8 Aug 2022
Date Written: January 5, 2022
This paper considers a host of definitions and labels attached to the concept of smart cities to identify four dimensions that ground a review of ethical concerns emerging from the current debate. These are: (1) network infrastructure, with the corresponding concerns of control, surveillance, and data privacy and ownership; (2) post-political governance, embodied in the tensions between public and private decision-making and cities as post-political entities; (3) social inclusion, expressed in the aspects of citizen participation and inclusion, and inequality and discrimination; and (4) sustainability, with a specific focus on the environment as an element to protect but also as a strategic element for the future. Given the persisting disagreements around the definition of a smart city, the article identifies in these four dimensions a more stable reference framework within which ethical concerns can be clustered and discussed. Identifying these dimensions makes possible a review of the ethical implications of smart cities that is transversal to their different types and resilient towards the unsettled debate over their definition.
Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Data Privacy, Ethics, Smart Cities, Surveillance
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