Google is investing in a new tech-focused Toronto neighbourhood, Netflix ups its funding for original content, and a Colorado-based political candidate is disrupting the government with an app.

From Twitter today, Google’s urban innovation group Sidewalk Labs is teaming up with a Toronto organization to design and build a technology and sustainability-focused community on Toronto’s eastern waterfront called Quayside. The project, which will be in a consultation and planning phase for at least another year, has received $1.25 billion dollars from the federal, provincial, and municipal governments, as well as a $50 million US dollar investment from Google, who has also committed to moving its Canadian headquarters to the area. Quayside will be built on 325 hectares of mostly publicly-owned land and emphasize innovation around energy use, waste disposal, transportation, retail space, and affordable housing. It will also establish clear policies on data protection and privacy.

And from Reddit, Netflix has upped its commitment to producing original video content in 2018 from $6 billion to $8 billion. This move comes as the streaming giant pushes to have 50 per cent of its library made up of original content in the next few years, with other companies like Apple, Amazon and Facebook following in its footsteps. Netflix has already done well in creating original shows like Stranger Things and The Crown, but it’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said on an earnings call this week that the company plans to focus more on movies, and hopes to release about 80 films next year.

Finally from Reddit again, a political candidate running for city council in Boulder, Colorado this November plans on giving the seat back to the people – with a twist. Camilo Casas says that if he wins, he will be using an app he developed called Parti.Vote so that his constituents can vote on issues. If more than 50 per cent of people in his community vote ‘yes’ on an issue through the app, Casas says he will vote the same way, and only make a decision based on his own beliefs in the case of a tie. He calls the app “liquid democracy,” a concept that’s gaining traction particularly in Europe and South America and emphasizes giving the power back to citizens instead of their elected representatives. Casas and his team plan to vet all signups on the app to avoid fraud. Casas also hopes to eventually incorporate biometrics for verification to further increase security.



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