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Artificial Intelligence will have a direct impact on Future Urban Planning

When we think about a future city, we imagine flying cars and robots selling coffee when we head out to work, like in a Sci-Fi movie. But upcoming technology, especially Artificial Intelligence has real potential to deeply and fundamentally impact the shape of our cities. AI, at its core, is powered by algorithms.

From a simplified process perspective, data is pumped through these algorithms, or models, to find patterns in data. With enough data and improved accuracy in this pattern recognition, companies/products can generate actionable insights that help a user.

In simple words, AI can be understood as developing machines and enabling them to perform tasks that traditionally require human intelligence like speech recognition, decision making, language translations, etc.

Today, we are used to AI when it comes to face and voice recognition on our smart devices and secretly get excited at the prospect of having self-driving cars transporting us through long and tedious commutes.

Ravi Bedi

This same excitement around AI’s potential to transform urban spaces led us, here at OpenGov, to Ravi Bedi, Technology Innovation Principal Director at Accenture and an SME for Intelligent Automation and AI. He is also the GTM lead for Accenture’s Data Business group in ASEAN and Automation Engineering Lead for APAC.

Ravi first recognises and highlights two fundamental occurrences that one, lots of data is now digital and two, reduction in the cost of processing data (especially with cloud providers). These changes have positioned Automation and AI to play a key role in today’s world.

Moreover, Ravi believes AI technology can drastically improve the planning and functioning in modern cities. He understands Intelligent Automation solutions as a constellation of various technologies, when combined together, represent the functionality of a digital co-worker, encompassing both rules-based activities as well as judgment-based activity.

He believes it is important to focus on creating Intelligent and connected platforms that look at the constellation of various technologies such as blockchain, AR/VR, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), natural language processing (NLP) and computer vision.

Urban Planning and AI is already a hot topic of discussion in the tech world, especially after the release of the study, Artificial Intelligence and Life in 2030, which outlines the dramatic impact Artificial Intelligence (AI) is having and will continue to have for our cities and the way we live and work in them over the next couple of decades.

Ravi too delved deeper in it to explain how Data Analytics solutions, machine learning, and eventually the 3rd tier of AI solutions using deep learning, will be able to create a digital crystal ball, allowing us to peer into the future, and predict outcomes, with a high degree of accuracy.

He explained that there are three tiers of applications for AI-backed solutions that can be used in Urban Planning:

The first is, Data Analytics, which takes raw data either in real-time or historical, and provides current insights, for example, intelligent traffic lights. Intelligent traffic lights can use data analytics to coordinate and track time changes in traffic lights, based on the current flow of traffic, making daily commutes smoother.

The second tier of AI applications uses Machine learning. Ravi explained, “ML is a more advanced form of AI. When machine learning is applied to data sets, the algorithms look for patterns in the data, in order to make near term predictions and deeper insights into the data.

A good example within urban planning could be road maintenance. Instead of road crews looking round for potholes to repair, or to wait for citizens to complain about potholes, urban planners can use computer vision techniques to collect and annotate data sets, so that machine learning models can be applied to predict which roads will have more “wear and tear”, resulting in potholes. These maintenance crews can then focus their energy on repairing potholes, instead of looking for them.”

The third tier of AI solutions uses Deep Learning: an advanced version of machine learning. Ravi explained, “Deep Learning AI solutions use highly advanced and complex algorithms. Deep learning is used to crunch very large data sets over a fairly long period of time, to be able to give planners, predictive insights, into the data”.

He provided the following example, of how Urban Planners may use Deep Learning techniques to help design the cities of the future. “Assume a city has won the bid to host the next Olympic games. A multi-year project to build all the sporting facilities is underway.  Using deep learning models, urban planners will be able to look into the future, and understand how the nature of traffic will change, how to best manage new traffic flows, how best to design the roads leading up to sporting venues and leading away from sporting venues, how best to design new public transportation etc.”.

Further, on the wider debate between the Tech optimists and pessimists on how much we should let AI take control, Ravi is an optimist who believes AI should be democratized and humanized. Today, most major corporations are incorporating AI as an effective tool to boost their businesses and one such example is Netflix that suggests users shows to watch content based on the pattern of previous views.

Hence, as businesses increasingly adopt the AI-first and Data-first approach in their operations, AI is bound to be a prominent trend across various fields in 2020. Enumerating some of them would include: AI improving healthcare accuracy and cost, empowering cybersecurity, enabling more data synthesis methods, driving efficiency in manufacturing, etc.

Despite these current and prospective adaptations and use cases, AI is still in its infancy stage. Currently, we are at the “Narrow AI” solutions stage that translates to applying algorithms to solve very narrow problems of work. But, even within these narrow applications, when AI is applied, it can work at a scale, that far outstrips what a human can and could do.

Hence, while Automation is inevitable, the focus should be on humanizing it. For instance, AI still needs good data to function well. If the data at hand is biased and not curated carefully, the algorithms will learn wrong patterns. In essence, it is equally important that we (tech users) and the governing authorities understand AI’s potential but also be mindful of its limitations to ensure holistic wellbeing in the long run.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.