Re-Imagining Tech for a Better World | On Civil Society | Sept 21, 2019

Re-Imagining Tech for a Better World | On Civil Society | Sept 21, 2019


Saadia Muzaffar: I think there is this almost
fetishization of data collection, it’s like it will come from the heavens and tell us
what to do, and we won’t have to make the hard decision. That will never go away. I think we’ve been collecting data forever. We collect it on paper. Now it’s ubiquitous, and there’s surveillance. I don’t think that we are lacking data to
tell us what we should be focusing on and funding. [music] Takara Small: Let’s start off with, what is
responsible innovation, and why is this important for a growing economy like Toronto? It’s a big word for people who may not know
what that term means and why it’s important. Beth Coleman: Yeah, I mean responsible and
it’s so brilliant to see all of you here. Again, gorgeous day, and that this is so important
to everyone and has been important for a long time now. That’s a sign of what responsible really means
today, where, yes, there are things like corporate responsibility. Historically, those have been very narrow,
but now we have more and more demand for a level of responsibility both in terms of federal,
municipal and civic responsibility, the kind of work that you guys are already doing by
showing up and having these conversations. In a… The biggest sense, to have the kind of data
relationships, sense of public space and how public transit works, how to sort out some
of the problems around housing. I don’t know. TS: I love it. Yeah. BC: I think technology is part of all this,
I do. Responsibility also is calling upon us again
in a really strong way because we’re now in a moment of shift where we’re not just passive
consumers, we are the city that we want to become. SM: I think I would just add that I have been
thinking a lot about responsibility, and often we talk about who is responsible. And in this, I think all of us are. At this table, we need to be present, so thank
you for being here, everybody. I think that… I’ve been personally thinking a lot about
how we think about end users when we think about responsibility, so reducing harm of
a product or a service. But I have been learning about how workers
are part of that conversation as well. When we are producing something that’s a product
or a service or a platform, we also have to look at who is being asked to do the work,
and what are the conditions in which they’re doing work. The responsibility extends not just to the
end user, but also the people who are enabling that to happen. All of those things to me play a part when
we think about innovation, which is literally just finding new and hopefully better ways
of doing things, what is the harm quotient in that, and being very, very aware of what
the trade-offs are, and who is making them. TS: I think you two said something that will
lead organically into the next question, you talked about being passive. People being passive when it comes to their
data, and also about thinking about the workers who create the products that we use. I’m wondering, how have you seen, or have
you seen any difference with how people are engaging with technology? In the last year or so, I feel like there’s
been a shift. We’re seeing private citizens as well as workers,
stepping up and saying, “Okay, I don’t know if this is okay. I don’t… I might not agree with what my company is
doing.” Have you seen a change at all? BC: I think that when we look at Toronto,
and we look at the arrival of Sidewalk Labs and the positioning of that project, what
we’ve seen is a small, vocal minority who essentially said, “Cease and desist, we don’t
understand why this private company is arriving from… Crossing borders and offering certain types
of services.” I think at the very least, we are indebted
to that kind of activist effort because they literally have started conversation. And now we’re in this moment, we’re having
this conversation. So one of the questions I would ask us, and
this is an abstract, this is everyday stuff that’s already baked into when we walk down
the street, the things that happened, instead of trying to simply hunker down and make this
about data privacy… We’re happy to talk about things that aren’t
data, but right now, that’s my obsession. [chuckle] What if we say, what are we willing
to risk for civic good? For example, right now, we have on King Street,
the King Street pilot, where you can’t drive a car down. If you bike down, you’re allowed to, but you
might get smashed ’cause the bike lanes aren’t really working. BC: But you can only… They’re trying to get the street car to go
faster, that was the basic bottom line request. How can we create efficiency over this going
faster? Instead of doing an infrastructure thing where
you change the shape of the street, they did a data thing, where they start to collect
data and move the cars off. That was the other actual thing. All of it sounds good. It’s the City of Toronto, and these are good-minded,
fair people who are putting the project together. With that said and pretty much leaving it
at that, everyone here would vote for faster moving street car, less traffic. Right. But this technology sniffs the address of
your cell phone. This technology sniffs the address of your
inboard dash on the vehicle that you’re riding through, not your bike. But if you have a car… TS: What is sniffs, for people who don’t know
what that means? BC: It means that, without asking your permission
as the human part of you and your machine, your… The individual identifier, the MAC address
of your phone, is taken up. And it’s taken up in this case as a counting
device. You’ve got one, you’ve got one. You… Maybe you don’t have a cell phone. You got one. TS: She knew. [chuckle] BC: Everyone in the room has got a cell phone,
it’s counted so they can accurately count. This is a Bluetooth, none of it’s new technology,
this is barely smart even. The purpose is to know how many people and
how many vehicles go by. In addition to that, there is a camera. I forget, like fish-eye camera, so it’s like
a 360 camera. There are cameras on the busiest streets in
Toronto all the time, and again, these cameras are to do the good work of cutting down traffic. But is there a sign that says, “If you’re
crossing the street, there’s a camera?” Do you have any idea what happens when the
image of people or cars is taken and put into kind of the data stream? I’m not saying this to be paranoid ’cause
I kind of roped you all into agreeing that this was a good experiment, and it’s not run
by a private company, it’s run by the city, and it’s for our good. But those kinds of things in terms of, if
we had a way where it didn’t cost us so much time, ’cause the work of civic engagement
is costly, and that’s a real thing in terms of how can we do this if we’re already so
busy? BC: But if you get a sense of, “Okay, your
data is gonna be taken up, and we’ll try to explain how it’s gonna be anonymized or hashed
or no harm will come from it, and we dump the data in 24-hour or 48-hour cycles,” many
of us would say, “Okay, I’m willing to take that risk. It’s kind of worth it.” But that there’s not even that level of how
can we understand actually what’s happening on the streets of the city, let alone what’s
going on with the private companies. I hope that’s where we are in terms of what
would it mean to be responsible, both companies and their assets. A long answer. TS: Have you seen any changes, Saadia, in
how people are engaging with tech or advocating for change? SM: I think I’ve noticed some healthy skepticism,
which is much more normal now. Like you’re not that odd person where you’re
like, “We shouldn’t trust them,” people are like, “Oh my God, don’t talk to that person.” It’s much more normal to be questioning it,
which is, I think, really, really good. We’re not doing it enough, and I think it’s
partially tied to what you’re saying, which is, we don’t know enough. You need to have a vocabulary, a shared vocabulary
that we can use to talk about these things. SM: None of this is a coincidence, I think
so much of this comes down to political will. Even our trade-offs are political will. While engaging the public is really costly,
it is also the only thing that’s gonna be sticky in terms of delivering justice for
us. That whole, again, the trade-off of, “Do we
educate the public about what it’s like for a driver to work for Uber?”, is really, really
important for them to understand that it’s a very extractive model, and there’s a side
where there’s a lot of money being made, but there are people who are not being paid enough
and being overworked and all of those issues. I would say that there is trickling awareness,
but more of an appetite, I think, since Cambridge Analytica, etcetera. SM: I would say that there is also a counter
of politicians being really, really afraid to say no to private companies and their proposals
because, unfortunately, we’re stuck in this two-year or four-year election cycle thing,
where they wanna announce a thing before you are gonna go to the polls to vote, and that
thing needs to have jobs. There’s a whole formula which is really dated,
and it’s keeping us from engaging with things in a long-term way, and this stuff is a long
view of time. SM: We can’t have a discussion about trade-offs
if we don’t understand what are we aiming to make better. These things don’t work in four-year cycles,
they just don’t. And our commitments and our investments need
to be looked at differently. I think that we need to get more engaged in
terms of how our politicians are acting and also give them permission to say no. I think a big thing with Sidewalk, for the
two years, Sidewalk Toronto has been… There are politicians who understand, if you
have a private conversation with them, they’re like, “Yeah, I know this is really messed
up. They’re trying to be the government. They’re trying to come in and do the work
of what a municipal government should be doing. What are they doing, talking about affordable
housing?” All of these things. But they would not go on public record to
say that, they say things… TS: Why do you think that is? SM: I think that they’re afraid of the penalty. They’re afraid of being labeled somebody who
is not pro-innovation or not pro-jobs. This is not a coincidence, they’ve been cornered
into this. BC: We also have problems that we haven’t
been able to solve in terms of city government. SM: Fair. BC: Housing, among one. This is not new that we see private industry
seeing an opportunity to take care of something better. In a platform economy, economics in terms
of profit, privatization, but we’re going to deliver this so the people of your city
are happier because the city is either too unorganized or doesn’t have the right funding. When you talk to people at City Hall or any
branch of local government, everyone’s way overworked and to ask them to learn new things
is a lot to ask, and yet that’s the nature of innovation and that is what is funded in
the whole ecosystem of these companies. That’s literally what they’re meant to do. I think some of what our conversation is,
is how do we change some of the framework in terms of, what does innovation look like? How can we reorganize some of those models? That is happening to a certain extent. I don’t wanna get too enthusiastic, but that
is happening a bit in Silicon Valley as well. SM: I do think that it’s bigger. It’s everywhere because I think that we’re… We turned a corner on a lot of these platform
companies. They’re around 15-ish years old. We have a track record now, which is, I think
we forget that sometimes, that we can actually go and look at their track record before we
hand them a contract or a proposal or what have you. I do think that that conversation is really
important, about what the dysfunctions are in our local government. Sometimes it’s really tempting and very human
to think, oh my God, nothing will fix the gardener or transit, and here’s a company
that’s coming in and saying, “We have the cash and we’ll do it,” and you’re like, “Oh
it’s like magic, you just have them do this.” But it’s… We can’t do that without having an appropriate
conversation about public consent, meaningful public consent, of the trade-offs. There’s no actual formula that says, if the
government was the only one doing all of this, it would be good. We need to have this conversation at a much
deeper level, and then decide. BC: Would you give a summary of the report
you were talking about in terms of employment and IT sector in Canada? TS: Yeah. Before this panel, I was just doing a little
bit of research. There was a report by IT Canada, and it found
that Canada’s actually suffering from a talent shortage. When it comes to senior ranking positions,
we don’t have enough of the engineers, the developers, the individuals that a lot of
companies in Toronto need to scale and grow. And it’s interesting because Toronto, I’d
say, arguably, on the world stage, is now seen as a leader when it comes to tech in
AI, and yet there aren’t enough people here, talented people, they say, here, that can
fill those jobs. It brings me back to a question about, you
guys are incredibly intelligent, experienced and knowledgeable in this arena. Do you feel that there is maybe a class issue? Is there… For people who are maybe from environments
or communities that are financially less affluent, they don’t have the resources to understand
how this will impact them. Do you see that there’s a divide at all, or
is this just an issue that is… That we’re looking at, discussing now because
Toronto has all this attention, this interest? SM: That’s a tangled question. I think that it’s never not an issue, the
access to information, knowledge, education is so stacked in terms of how much money you
have, or in generational wealth, or what have you. But I also… Specifically speaking about Sidewalk, I’ve
seen people who are really well-to-do, are tech savvy ’cause they work in the tech sector,
they’re… They can be very pro a lot of what is happening
because I think that they… They’re not alone in this, but they don’t
understand how city governments work, how governance works, and how difficult it is
to get control back if we give it away in terms of data. TS: Interesting, okay. That’s interesting, once you give it away… SM: I don’t know if it’s a class thing. I definitely think that information helps,
but I think that in terms of civic discourse, and I’d love to hear from you on this, we’ve
been… We’re a little starved. BC: The American president doesn’t know how
governance works. [laughter] SM: That’s a low bar though, Beth. [laughter] BC: It’s a low bar. The statistics and the study that you refer
to just made me think more about, okay, we don’t have enough people trained in this country
in that sector. There’s a bigger question there about, what’s
the future of work look like? Instead of trying to just get more and more
high school kids to go through STEM programs and do CS or business school, obviously, we’ve
had that push in terms of university education and engineering… Not engineering, high school and university. BC: I think we need to ask a broader question
about how we can better engage in, I don’t know, thinking about what skills and what
business and work can look like over the next five years, in the next 10 years. It seems like a panic attack just to simply
try to get more high schoolers to move through that tunnel. You’ve had direct experience with this. Those are a lot of the people who I teach,
and part of my job is to work with the engineers and work with the computer scientists to talk
about how do we look at broader factors, how do we think about context, how do we think
about, if this dataset speaks to a certain kind of outcome, what is it that went into
the dataset that would say this neighborhood looks very violent, this neighbourhood looks
very safe? Those are a combination of different kinds
of pieces of information that get picked up and put into the dataset. Even though we use some of the language of
data, and you’re an engineer and the rest of it, there’s… This is a good moment to try to take away
the panic of, “Canada doesn’t have enough IT workers,” and think about what is the big
question that’s actually being asked there? SM: I also think these reports… I’m not knocking on a particular report. I’m just saying there’s always these reports
around. I’ve seen one every 10… Every year, for the past 10 years. I’m not saying that they’re not true, but
it’s a very specific way of measuring something that may not be what it sounds like. On the one hand, we have talent shortage,
but on the other hand, apparently, we’re marketing ourselves as cheap talent. Around the world, we’re like, “Come, come
have… Open your subsidiary, branch, plant, thing
here because we don’t pay our workers enough, and you will like that.” SM: This is literally something that we are
saying and pitching to the world when we were… We sent our proposal for the Amazon headquarter
pitch, we actually had that in there. Something’s fishy. Either we don’t have enough people, or we
have lots of people, and we don’t pay them enough, and that’s supposed to be a [21:09]
____. What I’m saying in all of this is, I think
we need to change the framework of our conversations. I think if we… I have a bias because I work in labour, if
we were having serious conversations about workers’ rights, I think that a lot of what
we’re talking about segues into that. SM: If we were really taking care of people
in our city, things like homelessness have… We should not have that. We are such a wealthy country, and this is
the wealthiest city, the fact that we have 200,000 or so undocumented people here, these
are basic things. I’m saying this as somebody who loves technology,
has worked in it forever, I’m very passionate about it, technology is a tool. We need to get our priorities straight, and
technology could be a really amazing tool to help with that, but it will not help us
straighten our priorities. I think there is this almost fetishization
of data collection. It’s like, it will come from the heavens and
tell us what to do, and we won’t have to make the hard decision. That will never go away. I think we’ve been collecting data forever,
we collect it on paper. Now it’s ubiquitous, and there’s surveillance. I don’t think that we are lacking data to
tell us what we should be focusing on and funding long term and short term, and the
solution is not a more robust pipeline of high schoolers who can code. BC: Right, and maybe not a more robust oil
pipeline either. 22:47 SM: That either, yeah. [chuckle] 22:50 BC: But… One of the questions that we have for all
of you is, what are we asking in terms of re-framing the conversation? Because if we come to these companies and
say, we need to rethink this because we’re not getting the outcomes we need, we’re having
more disparity, more fallout in society, is there a way that we can have this conversation
that it’s not simply pegged to financial outcomes? Because to the best of my knowledge, that
has been the bottom line. [chuckle] 23:20 TS: It depends where they go to. 23:21 SM: And it depends on who’s been driving
it. It’s been driven by actors whose bottom line
is the bottom line. 23:27 BC: Right, but then there are boards,
there’s a whole structure… 23:30 SM: For sure. 23:31 BC: But we’ve got a lot of people here
who’ve been thinking about this, so we’re interested in knowing, how have you been thinking
about how do we restructure some of these frameworks? Because it’s like we’re being shoved down
certain shoots, and I just don’t think it’s gonna serve us. 23:50 SM: I think that’s such an important
point too ’cause, I think part of what’s happened with Silicon Valley, I’d say, culture, ’cause
it’s an export, the hype is also part of what’s going around the world, and there’s this inevitability
attached to it. It’s like, “Well, it’s gonna happen anyway. If you let it happen tomorrow or three days
from now, what’s the difference?” And it’s so not true, but sometimes when we
forget where we’ve been, what our histories are, and how much we’ve been able to get away
from when it also looked inevitable, when the king was the most powerful person. So many kings have been toppled, I think we
forget that. This is something that we can do for each
other, to remind ourselves that it’s not inevitable, we can say no. That needs to happen in so many conversations. What is the off-ramp for any negotiation? 24:48 TS: It’s… We’re in the midst of election season. If you didn’t know, we are. [chuckle] We’ve kind of talked about re-framing
the discourse and how we think about technology, the economy, the future workforce, etcetera. I’m wondering what are your thoughts on what
role the government should play? We touched on it a little bit, but all three
parties… Four, depending on who you count… 25:14 SM: Three. Let’s pretend three. 25:15 TS: Three. Have somewhat of a digital platform on their
website, but doesn’t go into too much detail about how much… What role the government will play when it
comes to private and public working together. Is there a blueprint, or are there things
that the government needs to think about in the short term, in the long term? I think education would be one. I feel like sometimes the next generation
don’t have a firm understanding of what it means to give their data away, what the future
repercussions are, but I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on that… That’s a toughie. 25:54 BC: Honestly? 25:55 TS: Yeah. 25:57 BC: I don’t think they’re gonna change
anything. 26:00 TS: No? 26:00 BC: This is job building, and what are
you gonna do? At best, there could be more regulation around
data privacy. But as was discussed in the last panel, they’re
not going to become like Germany and set up much more rigorous laws around privacy and
protection. 26:23 TS: Why do you think that? 26:24 BC: Nobody wants to. [overlapping conversation] 26:28 BC: Have you ever heard anyone here
say that? [chuckle] 26:32 TS: True. 26:36 BC: Perhaps the lower-hanging fruit
is, what do you do with open data and city open data? The City of Toronto is an open data portal,
as you guys know. I’m not gonna ask how many people bid on it,
or how many people use that data because no one really uses that data. If you go to Civic Tech Toronto on Tuesday
nights, 50 people use that data. 27:02 TS: What is this data? 27:04 BC: Traffic data, bike lane data, maybe
things around housing availability, crime data, but data that’s public because it’s
collected by the city. But the data that is really fraught is the
private data. Google sends me monthly notes telling me where
I’ve been because I use Google Maps, I use Gmail, I use the Docs. And as a service to me, they literally will
list every place that I’ve been. If I don’t read the email… I was in New Orleans the other day, and I
had forgotten where the restaurant was that I went to six months ago, so I looked at my
phone on that date, six months ago, and there it was. If I know it, Google knows it too. I think that some of the entanglement here
is, let’s say cities become brilliant around protecting public space and civic data in
better ways, the data that people want is the private data, or the data that’s super
valuable is the private data. Right now, there’s not sufficient leverage,
but I think there could be in terms of what we’re asking these companies that were fuelling. 28:32 TS: Is there anything in youth that… 28:34 SM: There’s so much there. There are so many layers to this in terms
of… I do think that the government can play a
very critical role, and it should be because private companies are not public stewards. We elect our government to be our stewards. I’m very, very hesitant to make individual
people responsible for all the data choices that they need to make, the level. Yes, there should be education, but it’s also
a lot. If you’ve ever tried to read terms and conditions
for the things that you’re signing up, like that’s your weekend. Maybe you’ll get through one of them. They’re designed to be inaccessible. This is not a coincidence. And they change. When you’ve said yes, something in there says,
“And by the way, we can change it at any time. You’re also saying yes to all the changes
that we will have in the future? Yes? Yes, good.” 29:29 SM: What I’m saying is that it’s not
like we’re buying a widget. The government needs to understand that. This can’t be a responsibility of my grandmother
or a young child, and we cannot say, “No, don’t use it.” There is a role to be played where we need
to have a lot more moral courage, I think, to say no to things, just to slow down. I think that’s been a big disappointment with
this whole engagement with Sidewalk Labs, where not enough people were like, “Hey, we
don’t have enough of a framework to assess this well, so let’s slow down a bit. What’s the hurry? The port lines are not going anywhere, they’ve
been here for a really long time, and they will be here… Let’s take our time to figure this out.” 30:16 SM: A lot more of us need to be able
to say that, and the government is where we should be looking at. I think it’s also part of austerity, and how
we’ve gutted our governments and our public service where we don’t have expertise in there. The people who are in charge now also don’t
understand what they’re saying yes to or not, that’s why there is so much lobbying from
a company like Sidewalk Labs, where I think in April, they were there 60 times or something. It’s bananas. But that’s where the information is coming
from because… You can see how that can have a domino effect
in how decisions get made. Literally, lobbynomics. [laughter] 31:00 TS: Title for a new book. [laughter] 31:01 SM: Yes. It sounds like a depressing book. [laughter] 31:08 TS: You mentioned about how people move
so fast, things move so fast, we just need to slow down. Do you see that maybe as a participating factor
in why we’ve seen so many privacy… I don’t even want to… Alarms in recent years, from some of the big
tech companies. It seems like almost every other week you
hear about big data being misused or abused in tech. It’s… The idea is you have to move fast so you can
outpace the competition, but also to implement new apps, gadgets, opportunities. Do you see that as any way linked? I’ve stumped them. [chuckle] 31:55 BC: Yeah, I watched the Cambridge Analytica
documentary that they put out on Netflix. I didn’t do further research to see if everything
they said was true, but it did… The degree to which Facebook has been accused
of allowing this group to take up data that clearly should have been illegal for a private
company to hand over to another company. Maybe I just didn’t pay enough attention to
that part of the story. The other part of it is just some of the language
around the… I forget… Whichever the… 32:53 BC: It wasn’t Parliament, but the legislative
group that people were bearing witness to, they had to acknowledge that Cambridge Analytica
was historically a military intelligence company, so this was all… This was military-grade intelligence, counterintelligence
weaponry or strategy that they’re bringing to bear on the public. The level of depth in terms of, “Oh yeah,
they told us they erased that data from the hard drive,” it seems… It really begs credibility that such clever
people with so many rules about what we can do and we can know would just go with, “Oh
yeah, they wiped the data.” 33:44 BC: That kind of chain of enabling is… It’s helpful for that to be eliminated, but
it’s deeply, deeply troubling. In the US, with things like the Patriot Act
and the extension of executive powers, so much can be just covered over. And then if we go to China, you’ve an entirely
different set of rules and standards, and part of the problem with acceleration is we
still are seeing that the companies that innovate the fastest, move the hardest in unregulated
territories, gain the advantage. We’re in a pretty serious game of winner takes
all that looks even different than the industrial landscape because of data, because data is
a different kind of good than oil or cars, and all the rest of it. Right now, China, because they’re proceeding
in a different regulatory space and different cultural context, they have a… There’s essentially a Chinese internet. You’ve got Alibaba, you’ve got these huge,
huge companies that now are having global impact, and they’ve got levels of just in
the wild testing things out with AI that would be illegal here. 35:19 BC: We don’t have… Sidewalk Lab looks laughable in relationship
to the scale of some of this experimentation. The problem is people get very nervous because
like with the old language about the Cold War, “They are arming up, we’re not arming
up, what are we supposed to be doing? Be quiet, you crybabies.” [laughter] That didn’t work out so well the
first time. We won, I think, I don’t know. But to have some sense also of what the international… I don’t know, it’s like gamesmanship, like
you said. 36:00 TS: Yeah, landscape. 36:01 BC: Yeah, what that looks like. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t insist on
a kind of sense of civic engagement, that there’s protections here, that there are rights
here, but it’s part of these weird pressures of the different aspects that are going into
what’s happening. 36:25 TS: I have a… I’m interested… You talked about just for instance like the
King Street car, about how it’s monitored, and how your data is sniffed. I’m wondering, aside from moving to the wilderness
in the middle of nowhere, is there any way you can opt out? Is there an easy method for the average person
to opt… [chuckle] Smile, I see Saadia smiling. [laughter] To opt out of their data just continually
being soaked up? Or is it just the price you pay when you’re
living in a society that’s very innovation-forward and tech-focused? 37:00 SM: I don’t wanna confuse innovation
with surveillance. I don’t wanna confuse that. I think it’s very, very easy to do that these
days, so I’m constantly reminding myself to be very, very mindful of how we talk about
this, and this is the inevitability thing. Can a single person, an individual, do something? It’s almost the wrong question, I think, because
I think that what we need to grapple with is very collective, and we need to take responsibility
for each other. It’s not me trying to save myself and my children,
it’s not about that. Again, I don’t wanna burden individual people
with having to navigate… 37:43 TS: That’s true. 37:44 SM: The yes or no, or opt in or out,
because it’s not accessible, it’s too much to keep up with. You… It’s a full-time job if you have five apps,
just to keep up with what they’re doing. I think that the better question to me would
be, how do we want… What is the world that we wanna live in? Who is carrying all the risks? So much… There is a… A tiny example of that is, a lot of people
in the tech sector would say, if you’re gonna live in the Quayside area, which is where
Sidewalk Labs wants to build the smart city, then you are agreeing to the terms of living
in that city. 38:35 SM: And then in the same breath, we’re
having a conversation about there being affordable housing there, and low-income housing. Are you choosing to live there, and are they
making the decision? Are you… Is the choice that I’m being given, if I’m
a low-income person, that you either get housing, or get your… Or give up all your data and your privacy? That’s not a choice. I’m much more interested, I think, in exploring
our collective power as residents, as workers, and saying no to things that don’t work for
us, that we know historically. We don’t need more data to tell us. Surveillance has been done for hundreds of
years on particular people. We know this, these are our histories, right? 39:21 BC: Yeah, but we also have to have the
courage to work again across lines of difference that we haven’t had for such a long time. Some of you were part of different movements
of solidarity and really disruptive social change, some of us to different degrees. We’ve been both the inheritors of it and carried
that on. But that’s the other thing, some of these
things are really tough questions, if indeed we need a collective, really a city to speak
and say no, or we’re moving in this direction. But it’s very difficult for it not to fall
down around district, neighbourhood, block, house. I’m having difficulty sharing trash cans with
my neighbour. There’s a lot of kind of… It’s not collegial, but how do you call it,
neighbourliness? As far as I can tell, it’s not a tech issue,
neighbourliness. 40:35 TS: Interesting, yeah, yeah… 40:37 BC: But the lack of it is… 40:37 SM: I’m sure there’s an app for that. [laughter] 40:40 BC: I think there must be an app, Meet
Your Neighbour app. 40:43 TS: Yeah. [laughter] 40:44 S?: I think it’s called [40:45] ____. [laughter] 40:48 BC: Halloween is the most neighbourly
night we have… [laughter] 40:51 SM: Yes, so true… 40:52 BC: Oh my god. 40:52 SM: Because of candy. 40:53 BC: Yes, [40:54] ____ a stranger. Yes. [laughter] 40:56 SM: But it’s so true, and this is what
I mean. I think the questions are actually different… The ones that we should be wrestling with
are different questions. It’s really easy to fall into whether a technology
solution can come in and fix it. 41:11 TS: Just fix everything. 41:12 SM: But these are hard conversations. We need to have hard conversations. However, that does not mean that we don’t
push for good regulatory frameworks. That does not mean that we don’t say we don’t
have policy to regulate this thing or legislate it, and therefore, we’re gonna pause, we’re
gonna reset it, we’re not gonna do this right now. We’re gonna do this in two years. In these two years, we’re gonna have public
engagement, and we’re gonna figure out what our risk threshold is. Full circle, back to where you started. Because I don’t think that we can move forward
towards a more fair and just city, which I believe that most people want, without having
those hard conversations, and we need to, and they need to happen in churches, in city
council, in schools over trash cans. All of these things need to happen. In some of these instances, there are efficiencies
that technology can introduce, but we can’t give it more credit than it deserves. It’s just a tool amongst many other tools,
and it’s really… 42:26 SM: I think it’s not sexy to talk about
the things that I’m talking about because it’s so much more sexier to go look for money
for an app that will introduce you to your neighbour. But I think that that’s where we are, we have
to reckon with the time and the place where we stand, and pick our priorities. Can we use the tools that we have to make
it better or faster? I love… Twitter is a cesspool, but also Twitter has
changed my life. I’m connected to people I have no business
being connected to, and I’m learning from them. It’s a trade-off. I know that it’s a cesspool, and I’m like,
“Okay, here’s the log-off button for two weeks because sanity.” But also you can go back. I think that we need to get to that point
where we’re able to make those decisions collectively as well, and say we don’t want cameras everywhere. The decisions that we need to make for our
city, we already know. What we need is money. Where is money? Rich people, let’s tax them. We know, we know.

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