Are Cities Ready to Embrace the AI

Are Cities Ready to Embrace the AI

If we were to start relying on AI for running the city, our lives would drastically change. Traffic control, driving, orientation, shopping, access to information and many other things would be significantly more streamlined. However, we need to ask ourselves if are ready for this type of massive disruption. Not only does it require massive technological improvement, but the general public must also adjust to the idea. Of course, there are cities that are more progressive than others, but it seems we are not there yet.

Current state

Currently, there is no city on the plant that is ready for disruptive AI change. 105 cities were scored based on 4 vectors (Vision, Activation, Asset Base, and Trajectory), but the number of challenges posed by such change is just too much to handle. Singapore had the best scores, but massive changes are still required in order for such a shift to work. Cities need to create better environments that are capable of handling the potential and implications of this technology.   

More about the research

In order to gather relevant data, research had a discussion with government officials and city leaders and evaluated their AI policies. Cities were categorized into 4 groups, megacities, large cities, medium cities, and small cities, depending on their population. As mentioned the parameters used in the research were:

  1. Vision – used to showcase the city’s understanding of the AI’s potential and readiness to tackle the disruption its implementation would bring about. 
  2. Activation – used to showcase the ability of the city to execute the advance implementation strategy, and ensure all of the stakeholders are included.
  3. Asset Base – used to showcase the financial capabilities of the city to acquire necessary talent, and provide support for relevant research/development programs.
  4. Trajectory and development – used to showcase the progress that cities have made over the past few years that could indicate their readiness for this change. 

Highest scores

Although all of the cities underperformed, some of them had decent scores. New York, London, and Paris had the best results in the mega-city category. Singapore, Chicago, and Berlin had the best score among the large cities. In the medium city category, the best ones were Sydney, Boston and San Francisco, whereas Amsterdam, Munich, and Stockholm scored the most points in the small city category. Cairo, Lagos, and Nigeria scored the lowest out of 105 cities.

This type of study is very significant because technology has the most impact within the city, and with increased urbanization rate we might become reliant on AI in the near future. On an individual level, however, there is a concern that AI will ultimately lead to massive job losses and dissatisfaction. This in a way suggests that education systems need to be tweaked and prepare the people for the jobs of the future, whereas some programs might need to close down. For example, renewable energy education will replace fossil fuels and mining jobs, so by spreading awareness of potential future jobs, young people can make more prudent career choices. 

Kevin