Artificial Intelligence in smart city plans

By Author   |   Published: 8th Nov 2017   12:59 am Updated: 8th Nov 2017   1:20 am
Smart City

According to Medcrave, in a smart city, an AI Platform tracks citizen’s habits, activities, and behavioral characteristics. Data and products can be personalised to meet and anticipate each user’s unique and changing needs. Each citizen will have one’s own digital personal assistant. Artificial intelligence can help governments handle their regulations monitoring by creating a natural language processing system to read through the legalities of regulations and reassemble the words into a set of computer-understandable rules.

As per Digit, in the recent times, IBM Watson has been partnering with Indian Government to bring Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the daily lives of its people. Sriram Raghavan, Director of IBM India Research said, “The key is to encourage certain schools and institutions to come forward and set precedence, which will work wonders in removing initial notes of inhibition among many about automated technology.” IBM Watson is a comprehensive AI solution that addresses the needs of various sectors, which is why it should be considered for implementation of smart cities.

For instance, the core platform is now being implemented in farmlands, to provide farm statistics, future predictions, and status of farm produce. Thus, it brings a cutting edge technology like Artificial Intelligence to the rural hinterland and empowers the end users – the farmers- with knowledge based decision making.

Attrition is a bugbear of Indian industry. IBM Watson’s integrated HR portals can make use of the algorithms to gauge attrition factors in office, and hence, reduce inefficient employment. They can also use this to design sound principles of hiring. This is just the tip of the iceberg when we consider the ways in which it can shape HR practices.

For students, Watson can provide insight into career interests, and relay instant statistics, hence being an interactive job-academic platform to improve skill training in India. This helps students study subjects that directly lead to employment.

Let’s now look at what the developed world is saying. The smart cities council of North America suggests the following ways in which AI can be woven into the tapestry of smart cities :

Avoid unintended policy consequences: Sometimes policy measures in cities affect the very people they are supposed to help. This is because it is humanly impossible to visualize all the scenarios of policy implementation. AI leads to smart models that let policy makers see all the possible impacts of decisions — impacts they may not even be aware of today.

Anticipate citizens needs: It is a globalised world and the call centres here are ideally able to service people from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds. By 2020, all the call centres that exist today are likely to be automated as Artificial Intelligence spreads its wings. In smart cities, they could be connected to the various departments of Government and improve the quality of service.

Improve real-time insight: Take the case of daily traffic. Chetan Gupta, Hitachi’s chief data scientist, says the issue is that today’s services are based on what the traffic sensors are seeing right this second and some historical data. In a more significant use of Artificial Intelligence, users could see what else was going on in the city and make smarter forecasts about the traffic and what means of transportation they should take.

Always put people first: Though AI technology has the power to be all-pervasive, it is wise to let people take the final decisions involved. AI can feed on data, provide insights, statistics and scenarios, but they should be subject to human reasoning and values for technology to aid people and not replace them altogether. This is all the more important when you consider a mega project like smart cities mission.