The European Union Institute for Security Studies is the independent, autonomous, totally separate advisory agency chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (i.e. the de facto Foreign Minister of the EU). It is the place that prepares the EU deities with their briefs on foreign policy. In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis Senior Analyst Alice Ekman wondered what China is actually up to. And she found the next hot thing, smart cities, which is whatever blinks and is remote from a barnyard.
If Europe does not act ambitiously, our cities could fall behind, become uncompetitive and antiquated, just as they were before Europe came up with Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter…*cough*. Meanwhile China’s is selling its ‘smart city’ technologies to developing countries and China being China bakes in authoritarianism tools and workshops along the way. Alice wonders if local authorities will resist to put Western citizens into shackles once the East Asian salesmen knock on their doors? And more questions arise for the rest of us. Will the Chinese sell smart building cranes to Tehran that smartly integrate gallows? Is the stuff even that terribly integrated at all?