Smart Cities: Human or Machine Oriented?

Taryn Andersen, Investor Relations Director, Telegraph Hill Capital

Taryn Andersen, Investor Relations Director, Telegraph Hill Capital

Are smart cities driven by technology or by people? Would cities end up been smarter than their citizens? Are humans creating their own enemy or using their own creature? There seems to be a debate around the role people and technology will play in the future environments that they will co-habit.

Technology appears to make human life easier in more than 70 percent of the cases by using products and services that they incorporate in their daily lives: domotics, kitchen robots, utility measurement services, and connected cars.

We believe that technology is a tool that optimizes life quality through new smart infrastructures, increased mobility, more efficient healthcare, reduced energy and water utilization and tightened security systems among others; simultaneously creating “engagement” and “community”.

The goal of the technology is to answer the desires and needs of the society in an effectively and dynamical way by reducing cost of living, giving real time data, transparency, offering tools that can save lives and time reducing fatalities, preventing crimes, and reducing waste through Greenhouse gas emissions to create wealthier urban areas.

The government acquires the data of the citizens as the natural owner. They use techniques such as; ride sharing use (like sharing electric cars, bikes, motorcycles), real time navigation alerts (apps like WAZE, Google Maps), Smart parking app, intelligent traffic signals, public transport traffic mitigation to cover the map of the city and know where the biggest concentration of people during the day is, and video protection (as they want to use it in the underground tunnels of London underground to prevent the behavior of people who want to commit suicide).

Besides, some of these issues provide the government institutions with access to credit card numbers and personal details.

The government needs to save all the citizens’ data to have better knowledge about the society, and provide them with a better quality of life.

This ensures that the citizens will be more responsible, and vote for the right political leaders.

Therefore, we should have better compromise in the near future, given that we are not only voting for those who will manage the economy and the legal issues, but also our personal data.

All that data means a red flag for those concerned about privacy issues in areas such as law, medicine, and education.

Digital apps are a new channel for the public institutions to communicate through social networks, citizens apps where you can collect data, residents’ concerns, ideas for the city, and reports.

The applications performance differs between cities for different reasons.

European cities are actively involved with their citizens by using issues as consultation, and co-creation, the American strategy is based on a federal government competition, and the Indian smart cities plans are being co-created with the support of the government.

Besides the new era of social apps, people with common interests are creating their own communities.

Another point that we should be aware of is the way millenials under 25 years old behave while managing their privacy—personal data. We know that they give their information being claimed from the advertisement and social media without preserving their privacy. If they get an economic advantage in exchange, they do not care about the consequences in the long run.

Besides, the population aged between 25 to 50 years is offering their data as a professional tool, but are much more preservative with the personal one.

There is a clear gap between governments and education systems. They are disconnected. Due to new technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, chatboots, robots, and drones, from high school to the re-education for employees; that would transform their actual employment, and this gap would not exist.

It is clear that technology and humans will share the same space at the same time in a very close way and we need to find new ways and rules of coexistence that permit us to benefit from the technological advantages without losing our human essence and independence (freedom).

Are humans creating their own enemy?

Weekly Brief

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