Artificial Intelligence and Robotics





Nicolas Miailhe  -  Co-Founder and President, The Future Society and Sam Pitroda, Internationally respected telecom inventor, entrepreneur, development thinker

As we will see in this edition of the FACTS Reports, the promise the AI revolution hold to deliver sustainable urban development is
immense; so too are the risks. Through a rich and diverse series of article and interviews of leading practitioners, scholars and experts, we have worked to combine forward-looking analysis, case studies and reports from the field. Our objective has been to provide a panoramic view of how the fourth industrial revolution is and will play out in cities. According to our analysis, it may prove to be a creative destruction raising incomes, enhancing quality of life for all and generating previously unimagined jobs to replace those that get automated. Or it may turn out to be a destructive creation leading to mass unemployment, privacy abuses, discrimination and loss of control over key collective decision-making processes. This depends on the velocity and magnitude of the development and diffusion of AI and robotics technologies. But it also depends on how societies react individually and collectively.

"Though they stand to be at the epicenter of the automation revolution and benefit from it largely, cities alone will not be able to deal with it".





► Understanding the rise of Artificial Intelligence

Improvements and convergences in machine learning and neurosciences combined with the availability of massive datasets and the ubiquity of high-performance scalable computing are propelling us into a new age of Artifi cial Intelligence (AI).




The third age of artificial intelligence

If the definitional boundaries of Artificial Intelligence (AI) remains contested, experts agree that we are witnessing a revolution. “Is this time different?” is the question that they worryingly argue over when they analyze the socio-economic impact of the AI revolution as compared with the other industrial revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries. This Schumpeterian wave may prove to be a creative destruction raising incomes, enhancing quality of life for all and generating previously unimagined jobs to replace those that get automatized. Or it may turn out to be a destructive creation leading to mass unemployment abuses, or loss of control over decisionmaking processes. This depends on the velocity and magnitude of the development and diffusion of AI technologies, a point
over which experts diverge widely.

Keywords: Artificial Narrow Intelligence, artificial general intelligence, robotics, political economy, big data
Thematic: AI revolutions



The relevance of informational infrastructures in future cities

Cities around the world are installing digital architectures of sensors, computational cores and telecommunications in the urban fabric, transforming existing infrastructure systems into multi-functional informational and services platforms in the process. The fast pace of digitization is often hard for cities to fathom, many of which are challenged by a silent privatization of the informational value of public spaces and the under-development of the potential of 21st century digital infrastructures due to a mono functional non-inclusive process of design. This is compounded by the power behind large-scale data ecosystems, which when paired with technologies such as machine learning will have profound impact over our future urban services and lifestyles. Cities need to adapt their design mentality and institutional models, but it is through social participation, and open technology standards that true inclusive synthesis of the future digital systems that enable our interactions with cities and allow for the myriad of new services and experiences can be achieved.

Keywords: Smart cities, digital infrastructure systems, IOT, machine learning, future society
Thematic: AI infrastructure




AI and robotics for the city; imagining and transforming social infrastructure in San Fransisco, Yokohama, and Lviv

This article looks at how existing and planned AI and robotics projects in three cities – San Francisco (United States), Yokohama (Japan), and Lviv (Ukraine) – aim to extend or build social infrastructure to achieve a particular desired vision of city life. The author has chosen contrasting cases both to highlight how particular cultures’ ways of thinking of the human-machine relationship matters for the kind of AI and robotics are envisioned and developed as well as to surface the core characteristics of AI and robotics-supported social infrastructure that transcend cultural, economic, and civic histories. San Francisco houses many of the entrepreneurs, software engineers, and multinationals that create AI and robotic in various markets, including applications for cities. Its proximity and relationship to Silicon Valley provides a “close to home” perspective of AI city imaginaries. Yokohama was selected as Japan’s “Future City” and offers a perspective of government-named and-organized experimentation in the realm of AI and robotics to achieve the so-called “Society 5.0”. Lviv provides a nearly opposite (to Yokohama) example in that the city is in its infancy envisioning how AI may transform its future, and grassroots organization drives the current projects.

Keywords: Socio technical imaginaries, social infrastructure, artificial intelligence, robotics, yokohama, lviv, San Fransisco
Thematic: AI and social infrastructure



Accelerating sustainable mobility with autonomous vehicles

Autonomous mobility has great potential for transforming mobility, especially towards greater sustainability. But contrary to what advocates of autonomous mobility are saying, its future is far from certain: several different scenarios could play out, both in terms of how they develop and their impacts on the transport system. Public authorities will have a key role to play in steering this technology towards the desirable scenarios and setting the conditions for the integration of autonomous mobility (planning road systems, regulating local mobility, supporting experiments and pricing services). Early on, authorities need to determine under which conditions AVs can help them to achieve their sustainable mobility goals. The private sector also needs to examine how the technological and industrial solutions it develops will be integrated into a sustainable future mobility system. This shared vision of autonomous mobility should be developed with local and national public authorities.

Keywords: Autonomous mobility, sustainability, autonomous vehicles and car sharing, levels of automation, mapping
Thematic: AI and mobility


AI, robotics and mobility as a service: the case of singapore

With a land area of 719 square kilometers and a population of 5.61 million (as of June 2016), Singapore is known to be one of the most densely populated country in the world. Land use for roads accounts for approximately 12% of Singapore’s total land area. By 2030, Singapore’s population is projected to reach 6.9 million, hence the demand to set aside land for housing, infrastructure, and amenities is expected to rise. While tools such as the vehicle quota system and road pricing system to control vehicle growth and manage road congestion have proven to be effective thus far, it is unlikely that these strategies can continue to sustain future needs. Physical constraints also coincide with economic needs to be a more service-based economy, and the government has announced its plans to be a “Smart Nation” that leverages advances in digital technology to create a more liveable, innovative, and economically city. Five key domains have been identities – transport, home and environment, business productivity, health and enabled aging, and public sector services – as areas where technology can drive impactful solutions to address current and future challenges.

Keywords: Policy, technology, smart nation, partnership
Thematic: AI and mobility


► AI in the city, the age of predicition and anticipation

In this second part, we perform a deep dive into some of the most interesting cases of the deployment of artifi cial intelligence systems in cities. AI can be essentially analyzed as a “prediction technology,” the diff usion of which can drastically bring down the cost of processing historical data and therefore of making prediction for a wide array of crucial tasks such as risk profi ling, inventory management, and demand forecasting.



Hubgrade smart monitoring centers: measuring resource consumption and moving towards a circular economy

How can cities, businesses and industries boost growth in the face of resource scarcity? Firstly, they can start by measuring their consumption in order to manage it more effectively. Then, all of us can to move away from a linear model of consumption. We can accelerate this transition today, thanks to IoT1, the digital revolution. At Veolia, we are the fi rst to monitor and to optimize water, energy and material flows in real-time. We are developing smart monitoring centers called Hubgrade relying on connected products and artifi cial intelligence. With these centers, we are creating new jobs and business opportunities to save resources. Hubgrade boosts energy effi ciency and water conservation measures. It optimizes material recovery and maximizes the use of renewable energy. However, this is only possible, with the focus on the human factor.

Keywords: Resource savings, circular economy, urban metabolism, digital revolution, real time, change management, machine learning, artificial intelligence, industry 4.0, digital transformation, operational performance
Thematic: smart monitoring in cities



Urban tech on the rise: machine learning disrupts the real estate industry

The practice of AI-powered Urban Analytics is taking off within the real estate industry. Data science and algorithmic logic are close to the forefront of new urban development practices. How close? is the question — experts predict that digitization will go far beyond intelligent building management systems.
New analytical tools with predictive capabilities will dramatically affect the future of urban development, reshaping the real estate industry in the process.

Keywords: Prediction, data analytics, real estate, machine learning
Thematic: machine learning




Dubai's artificial intelligence roadmap - the journey so far

Duba i i s at  h e forefront of adopting transformative technology and has already embarked on its journey to transform into an artificial intelligence (AI) enabled city. The journey started in October 2016 when Smart Dubai Government Establishment, Department of Economic Development and IBM collaborated
to launch “Saad”, an AI-based government service powered by IBM’s AI capabilities. “Saad” is a service that allows users from the business community to ask questions and get up-to-date answers on business licensing and registration process in Dubai. An example of a question could be “Hi Saad, what are the documents needed to open a coffee shop in Dubai?”

Keywords: Capacity building, government as a service, skill development, augmented intelligence
Thematic: public planning and AI



The role of (augmented) collective intelligence for municipal governance

In municipal governance around the world, the use of collective intelligence methods with dedicated tools and platforms is becoming the norm as a way to involve citizens, users and stakeholders in the design and implementation of policies. This new “open policy making” approach stands to benefi t from the rise of artifi cial intelligence which can act as a cognitive agent to organize and summarize content, as well as a social agent interacting directly with participants. AI can also help fact check information and help generate automatic summaries and map concepts.

Keywords: Collective intelligence, co-creation, mobilization, citizens
Thematic: collective action and AI




Economic, social and public policy opportunities enabled by automation

According to a majority of experts, the potential benefits of the rise of artificial intelligence & robotics are of the same magnitude as the three preceding industrial revolutions. The expected wave of productivity gains triggered by automation has the potential to sustain growth and development over the next decades, counterbalancing the decreasing working-age population. How? By making decision-making processes and resource management of complex systems much more effi cient through the systematic mining of the growing stocks and flows of data. By commoditizing expertise and prediction, the rise of AI could also radically enhance quality of life for all, through revolutions in healthcare, transportation, education, security, justice, agriculture, retail, commerce, finance, insurance and banking, as well as other domains. The benefi ts that can be reaped need to be better understood, supported, and governed.

Keywords: Productivity gains, resource management, intelligence augmentation, predictive technology, preventive maintenance, health monitoring
Thematic: economic opportunities of AI



Digital tools for low income housing in indian cities

mHS CITY LAB was founded in India as a social enterprise to develop innovation housing solutions for the urban poor. The vision has been to enable aff ordable and safe housing for housing living in informal settlements. mHS successfully implemented pilots with micro-fi nance agencies on housing and is currently incubating a series of digital tools for improving quality of the built environment. The interdisciplinary team works closely with organisation such as SAATH and SEWA, agencies such as the World Bank, financial institutions, micro-fi nance agencies and think tanks such as Centre for Policy Research.

Keywords: Informal settlements, incremental housing, urban resilience, digital networks, social design, lean technology, user testing, microfinance
Thematic: AI in developing economies




Blockchains and the civic nervous system

In this article, Alessandro Voto takes us on a journey to explore how the rise of Blockchains protocol will transform city management enabling more distributed city governance and the emergence of a range of new urban services where machines and humans collaborate in new ways to store, move and transact. Projected to operate at a fraction of the cost of centralized protocols, those new services will be particularly adapted to underserved populations by providing mobile and secure identity for them and the value that they create.

Keywords: Blockchain, bitcoin, smart contracts, crypto currencies, self governing protocols, digital identity, decentralized city management, government as a service.
Thematic: Blockchain



► Will we succeed in making the AI revolution work for everyone?

Is this time different?” is the question that expert worryingly argue over when they analyze the socio-economic impact of the AI revolution as compared with the previous industrial revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries.


The policy challenges of automation

According to our analysis, making the AI revolution work for everyone will require systemic reforms, and the potential reinvention of social security, redistribution mechanisms, as well as education and skill development systems, to allow for repeated and viable professional transitions. Policy and regulatory frameworks will also need rebalancing to protect the most vulnerable from socio-economic exclusion, to prevent algorithmic discrimination and privacy abuses, to ensure control and accountability, as well as to avoid an exacerbation of wealth and opportunity inequalities.

Keywords: Universal basic income, personalized education, active labor market programs, technological unemployment, job automation, stem education
Thematic: Social challenges of AI



Marianne reloaded: a design-thinking scenario that speculates on the roll-out of a new generations of civic bots

It’s late 2027 and the residents of the city of Lille meet Marianne Reloaded, artifi cial intelligence in a civic bot that brings residents and elected offi cials closer together. Marianne is a harbinger of a new era of trust in politics. Launched by private company Civitar, its roots lie in a crowdfunded campaign that saw the city’s inhabitants collectively fund and design the template. The people of Lille can now use the interface’s instant messaging feature to pass on their opinions, complaints and suggestions directly to the city council, which can keep in touch with what people think with unparalleled ease and fluidity.

Keywords: Civic technologies, chatbot, cybersecurity, future studies, municipal government
Thematic: Technologies and civic life



Smart cities and innovative uses for personal data: scenarios for using data to restore the balance between public and private spheres

In the face of the contradictory imperatives of the smart city — personalizing everything while respecting the right to privacy, optimizing without rejecting — and in response to the new landscape, particularly the arrival of major data companies, the challenge now is to produce new models for regulating city data, ones that respect individuals and their freedoms.

Keywords: Open Data, personal data, informal commons, free flow of data, public private partnership
Thematic: AI and data management


Solving artificial intelligence's privacy problem

Artifi cial Intelligence (AI) has potential to fundamentally change the way we work, live, and interact. There is however no general AI out there and the accuracy of current machine learning models largely depend on the data on which they have been trained on. For the coming decades, the development of AI will depend on access to ever larger and richer medical and behavioral datasets. We now have strong evidence that the tool we have used historically to find a balance between using the data in aggregate and protecting people’s privacy, de-identifi cation, does not scale to big data datasets. The development and deployment of modern privacyenhancing technologies (PET), allowing data controllers to make data available in a safe and transparent way, will be key to unlocking the great potential of AI.

Keywords: Privacy, data anonymization, pseudonymization, de-identification, large data-sets, identity, k-anonymity, unicity
Thematic: AI and privacy




The geopolitics of AI and robotics

In this interview, Laurent Alexandre explores the geopolitical issues raised by the rise of AI and robotics. He takes a harsh view of how Europeans have fallen behind in this sphere, and paints a picture of a new type of conflict.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, robotics, geopolitics, digital giants, neurotechnologies, augmented intelligence, education, eugenics, transhumanism, gafami, batx, industrial strategy
Thematic: geopolitics of AI



The expansion of algorithmic governance: from code is law to law is code

“Code is law” is a form of regulation whereby technology is used to enforce existing rules. With the advent of Blockchain and Machine Learning, we are witnessing a new trend, whereby technology is progressively taking the upper-hand over these rules.

Keywords: Code is law, blockchain, smart contracts, cryptocurrencies, self governing, protocols
Thematic: Algorithmic governance



The challenges of the march towards autonomous vehicles 

In this interview, Andy Palanisamy walks us through the dynamics and challenges associated with the rise of self-driving vehicles. He also discusses the limits of the technology in addressing 21st century mobility needs around the world.

Keywords: Self driving cars, mass transit systems, autonomous vehicles
Thematic: Autonomous vehicles



Uberization of the city

In this interview, Roland Ries, Mayor of Strasbourg shares his perspective about the challenges and opportunities triggered by the rise of large digital platforms and marketplaces which are powered by matching algorithms. He advocates for a measured approach whereby municipal decision-makers need to embrace change wisely to maximize the upsides and minimize the downsides of the rise of these new actors and services.

Keywords: uberization, sharing economy, digital revolution, sharing
Thematic: AI and uberization