Smart Cities definitely do exist in this world. Who wouldn’t want to live in a city so orderly that the infrastructure and software are linked together, to use public data collected for the improvement of all the residents’ day-to-day lives? It may sound futuristic, but the traffic in this city in China is solely controlled by an artificial intelligent (AI) brain which cuts emergency response time in half and lessens congestion.
Back in 2016, Hangzhou City, which 9 million people call home, built the ‘City Brain’ project in collaboration with 13 companies including Alibaba and Foxconn. This project that is led by the local government uses all information from residents, traffic cameras, web-mapping and navigation services to make real-time decisions such as controlling all stop lights for smoother traffic.
Over time, City brain has also monitored water supply to crowd numbers, which has had remarkable success that shows in the decrease in numbers of crime, road accidents and traffic congestion. Not only does it feed information to authorities during emergencies or crises, it is also available on everybody’s mobile phone for traffic information, or the weather.
All the data that it has stored is being used to work out future scenarios to further improve the traffic and congestion, as well as safety of all residents. The project has become such a big success that even Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has started using the City Brain program.
With all this project’s favourable results, there is still the matter of protest regarding violation of privacy and how the data could be used and abused.
Xian-Sheng Hua, an AI manager at Alibaba, told an audience at the World Summit AI meeting that “in China, people have less concern with privacy, which allows us to move faster.”
Privacy aside, its not hard to admit that China is the best country to experiment on extremely ambitious and innovative electronic projects.
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