Last week we covered Telosa, a technocratic metropolis slated to be home to 5 million people by 2060. Previously we’ve investigated plans to turn Nevada into a hub of technocracy. These stories need telling but we by just looking into the future we can miss sight of the fact that the truth the technocratic city is already here.
For better or worse, London has long been considered one of the world’s great cities. It has produced many of the world’s great artists, writers, and thinkers. Many of the world’s most renowned museums are here, housing priceless historical artifacts and works of art. London’s palaces, parks, gardens, and squares make it an architect’s playground.
Conversely, London is also known as a place where freedom and privacy are nearly extinct. It is one of the world’s most surveilled cities, ranking second globally in CCTV cameras per square (1,138) and third in CCTV cameras per person (73 per 1,000). The city’s police have recently purchased facial recognition technology in order to process historic images from these CCTV cameras as well as social media platforms and other sources. This is in addition to the Live Facial Recognition (LFR) technology already deployed in the city.
But this is just one small part of life in one of the world’s most technocratic and surveilled cities. In 2018 the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan launched Smarter London Together, his roadmap to make London “the smartest city in the world.” This initiative builds on an older so-called roadmap from 2013, the Smart London Plan which was rolled out by then mayor and current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. This perfectly illustrates how politicians may come, go, and move around while the technocratic agenda moves forward without resistance.