Ms. Ruhi Lal, Assistant Director (Adjunct), Centre for Liveable Cities
Kuang Jin Yi, Centre for Liveable Cities
Mr. Philip Kang, Economic Affairs Officer, ESCAP
Cities are witnessing the onset of the Industrial Revolution 4.0, and the resulting opportunities it promises. Smartphones and Internet of Things (IoT) devices are reaching the critical mass, allowing unprecedented access to information and ability to connect devices and individuals. The vast amount of data generated in real time from sensors across the urban environment provides us the ability to understand and respond more effectively and promptly to the challenges in the cities. The ease of accessing services on the web and on the go is catalysing a lifestyle shift in cities. Applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) such as chatbots and machine learning algorithms have broken the boundaries of what is conventionally regarded as human intelligence. These technological shifts are transforming the way we connect with one another, conduct business, provide services, and live our life in cities. To the city leaders, the technological advancement also offers numerous opportunities to tackle the urban challenges in ways unimagined before.
While smart solutions enable cities to solve problems better, they are no panacea to all problems cities have to face. If not planned or governed well, smart solutions can cause just as many problems as they set out to address. In this regard, smart technologies and data do not remove the need for good planning, governance and financial management. In other words, good planning and governance are essential to safeguard an orderly market space and protect privacy and data security.