Cities in the Beta Phase of Automating
Every idea has its benefits, and the idea of robots running our public services is a noble idea. But, each action has intended and unintended consequences. This thought also provokes the feeling of contention.
Automation’s actual playground is cities. Governments around the world are taking bold initiatives of automating cities; for instance, Saudi Arabia plans to automate a city with an investment of $500 billion. The government is in the beta phase of testing how the cities of the future will emphasize on equality, entirely taking the benefits of the technological progress. Increasingly, the world is witnessing trends pointing at cities and companies that take considerable strides in automating the logistics and closing the problem of the last mile.
National and local governments are experimenting with robots in social spaces, where robots have both a practical purpose (to make everyday life more comfortable) and a very symbolic role (to demonstrate good governance of the city). Whether autonomous cars, automated pharmaceuticals, or service robots in local stores or autonomous drones supplying Amazon parcels, towns are automated steadily.
Many large cities (including Seoul, Tokyo, Shenzhen, Singapore, Dubai, London, San Francisco) serve as test beds for self-driving vehicle tests in a competitive race. Ports and warehouses are automated and robotized more and more. Testing delivery robots and drones take place beyond the gates of the warehouse. Automated control systems monitor, control, and optimize the flow of traffic. Automated vertical farms innovate food production in urban ‘non- agricultural’ areas worldwide. New mobile health technologies are promising “outside the hospital” healthcare. Social robots appear in many ways in urban public and commercial spaces, from police officers to restaurant waiters.
“Smart Cities” offer an innovative worldview where everything is as smooth as the latest iPhone. Need a parking lot? App tells an individual where space is available and informs you when their time is up (and their friendly neighborhood parking inspector). Many towns are testing, incorporating sensors into their city streetlights, curbs, and buildings to monitor parking, traffic, and air pollution.
When they are full, smart bins notify the collection crews, allowing them to send rubbish trucks to areas where they are needed, rather than sticking to set routes. With driverless technology into the mix and it is easy to see how waste collectors can follow lamp lights into the dark past of urban life. Of course, driverless buses can also change some of the interactions of urban life.
Identifying what skills are needed in the public service and how they can best be combined with automated urban life systems is a requirement that no city can afford to ignore.