Andrii ZABLOVSKYI | Artificial intelligence technologies serving for “smart cities”: Ukraine and the world

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Technologies developed on the basis of artificial intelligence are widely used for the needs of “smart cities”: starting with traffic handling (such as in Barcelona or London) and ending with a comprehensive management system of the city’s infrastructure (e.g. Seoul). In order to create a comfortable, sustainable and safe place to live for their citizens in the near future, national governments and local authorities are spending huge costs on budgets.

According to forecast, provided by the analytics firm Frost&Sullivan, by 2025 there will be 26 ‘smart cities’ in the world, where technologies based on AI will become part of everyday life. 16 of these cities will be located in North America and Europe, and the rest – in the countries of Asia and Oceania. Cities such as Amsterdam, Seoul, Singapore and Copenhagen will be among the leaders.

The rapid development of ‘smart cities’ will be caused by the post-epidemic situation, as well as increased demand for new technological solutions that will enable more effective reactions to climate and epidemiological challenges.

Today, the use of artificial intelligence technology is primarily related to such elements of modern city life:

  1. A whole new level of data set. Artificial intelligence helps officials to keep an eye on how residents “exploit” the city. Meteorological data from different streets, recognized faces of criminals, fire and flood sensors are helping local authorities to create more comfortable conditions for the lives of their residents.
  2. Fast collection of photo and video materials. Cameras recognize the numbers and brands of cars, the number of pedestrians and vehicles at intersections, their speed and so on. The system creates algorithms for the movement of cars and pedestrians, indicating optimal direction of movement and changes in traffic lights.
  3. Medicine. Smart solutions also helped us to achieve results, that were unimaginable 10 or 15 years ago. Such systems, for example, detect rare diseases, thanks to ultra-rapid development of test results and symptoms, and increase the level and availability of public medical services.
  4. Public sphere. China, as one of the leaders in the development of AI, actively uses technologies to track people’s behavior. Their analysis system sends reports even about people who have not paid for a ticket, cross the street in the wrong place or message about the place, where people are beginning to fight. At the same time, criminals are punished not only with fines. For violation of the rules of behavior, e.g. for non-sorting of waste, a resident may be deprived of the right to travel, study at the university or park his car.
  5. Human rights. In the West, human rights and tolerance are protected with cameras on the clothes of city service personnel. Thus, in the United States, the AI system recognizes human rights violations when a person is detained by the police. Compliance with the interrogation procedure, checking the road patrol, calling 911 – any action of the police authorities can be controlled by artificial intelligence.

An interesting experience while using the artificial intelligence technologies has Dubai. Using AI it had reduced the number of accidents, caused by fatigue of car and public transport drivers.

In early 2020, Dubai’s Director General Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) Mattar Al Tayer announced the completion of several major projects as part of the state’s 2031 AI development strategy, which was signed in November 2018. This strategy provides the implementation of smart corporate projects, the development of “smart infrastructure” and vehicles, as well as the introduction of a data management system and the introduction of AI technology in public transport. In addition, according to the authorities, residents should also change their cars to those that are more environmentally friendly.

In turn, recently, the largest Japanese car manufacturer Toyota Motors and the leader of the Asian telecommunications market – NTT company, concluded an agreement on the construction of “smart cities”. The project will cost both companies about 200 trillion yen ($1.8 trillion). Construction of the city of the future will begin in 2021 near Mount Fuji. The project’s creators anticipate that transport in it will provide zero-emission, and vehicles will be autonomous. Energy supply and electronics will be as efficient and economical as possible, while the comfort and improved quality of life will be provided by the robots. Artificial intelligence will also keep all systems functioning properly and examine the health of residents.

An interesting solution was also presented by a startup from Cambridge – Fetch.ai. Together with German blockchain company Datarella, Fetch.ai have created a network of autonomous economic agents as part of the M-ZONE project, near the Connex Buildings business centre in Munich.

Agents analyze the demand for parking spaces in real time, and automatically distribute customers according to the load, motivating them with rewards for effective decisions, such as not using the parking lot on certain days.

Ukraine is also actively trying to use AI-based technologies in city management and urban infrastructure, first of all it concerns the capital – Kyiv.

In May 2020, the Kyiv Smart City team presented a study entitled “Policies and principles for the use of AI technology in Kyiv”. The main task of the project is to develop practical rules for the transparent use of AI by the services, subordinate to the Kyiv City State Administration.

This is the first document in the country that examines in detail the basic terminology of AI, helping to determine and understand its most important concepts. As part of the project, the Kyiv Smart City team developed the issue of ethics and transparency of automated decision-making.

The wide range of spheres of use of technology on the basis of AI leaves no doubt that smart technologies, regardless of our will, become an important part of everyday life. Even disputes about the possible impact of AI on rising unemployment will not stop the development of technology. The city’s regulated use of AI technology can bring a tangible benefit to residents: a new level of security, comfort and economics, the development of socially responsible policies, more efficient management of business processes.

However, in order to properly and efficiently exploit and introduce such technologies into the ‘smart cities’ ecosystem, business, science, authorities and the public sector should cooperate and ensure an adequate level of inclusion of the different interests of residents, and reduce the risk of ‘misuse’ of decisions taken on the basis of AI both at the stage of their development and implementation.

Andrii Zablovskyi, Head of the Secretariat of Entrepreneurs Council, Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine

Translated by Maksym Valko

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