Smart City Strategy and Artificial Intelligence as the ‘New Electricity’

Dr. Oualid Ali is the President at the Future Cities Council. He's a futurist, technologist and future cities expert. We discuss trends and opportunities for African Cities, Artificial Intelligence as the ‘new electricity’, Smart Cities and its challenges in Africa, Smart City projects in Africa, the future of education and his vision of African cities in 2040.

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Key Takeaways

Introduction

  • Oualid expands on his background and 10 year’s involvement in the future and smart cities.
  • He expands on the establishment and role of the Future Cities Council.

Trends and Opportunities for African Cities

  • There is an advantage: The acceleration of the digital transformation of cities, affecting every sector.
  • 4IR technologies are helping to combat the current pandemic, he explains how with big data, AI, drone technology, etc.
  • We are accelerating the move towards smarter cities.

Artificial Intelligence as the ‘new electricity’

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the new electricity. It is used everywhere and in every sector.
  • There is a dark side of AI: Cybersecurity, ethical issues, and ‘Big Brother’ (facial recognition).
  • Oualid explains why there are more advantages than disadvantages. You can drive a car and make an accident.
  • We have to apply AI. We should go slowly and be cautious.
  • AI is the tip of the iceberg of technology.
  • Many countries are developing AI solutions without a strategy, this is not recommended.

Smart Cities and its challenges in Africa

  • Dubai is investing a great amount of money and recourse into smart city initiatives, what is keeping African from doing the same?
  • Smart Cities are very expensive, many do not have the funding or funding models.
  • Many African countries do not have a Smart City strategy.
  • Oualid uses India as an example of having a good Smart City strategy as they’re planning to have 100 smart cities and have figured out how to fund it by not only relying on government like PPP.
  • The business case is not presented well, Oualid explains how to present it well with top-down and bottom-up approaches.
  • Smart Cities are not simply about technology as it is just a tool, the citizen should be in the center of it all.
  • Implementation cannot happen in siloes.

Smart City Projects in Africa

  • Countries that have a Smart City strategy like Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, and more - Oualid expands.

Oualid’s vision of African cities in 2040

  • Great opportunities for Artificial Intelligence, autonomous driving, drones, vertical farming, a high number of IT startups, some ‘New York-like’ cities in terms of urbanization, great quality of life, impressive road networks.
  • Africa has great talents and many young people which will benefit Africa greatly.
  • Africa can be the best continent on earth.
  • Smart villages can become the new smart cities.

On the future of education

  • Our current education system does not prepare students for the future, but for the past.
  • Universities will have to adapt to new trends and jobs.
  • This is a global issue.
  • Lifelong learning.
  • People need to be taught how to learn.
  • You cannot build smart cities without smart citizens.


About Dr. Oualid Ali and FutureCitiesCouncil
Founder and President of www.FutureCitiesCouncil.org, connecting the dots between government, academia, business and citizens in the field of smart, sustainable and innovative cities of the future: www.FutureCitiesCouncil.org

Now I'm in the Sultanate of Oman as Director at Training and Smart Solutions Center (TSSC) at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), the number one tech and innovative university in Oman.

What do we do in FutureCitiesCouncil?

First of all “Future” here mean smart, sustainable, innovative, safe, creative, healthy, etc. cities, due to the confusion in the definition of these concepts, we preferred to come up with a generic name “Future” because the ultimate goal is to tackle Future challenges for cities.

In FutureCitiesCouncil (FCC), which is based in the smartest cities in the world Toronto, Canada, we are connecting the dots of the quadruple helix, cities (government), business (industry), academia, and citizens together to work on developing future cities. Building future cities needs a collaborative effort from everybody. In FCC, we are developing digital strategies and transformation strategies for both greenfield and brownfield cities in order to help them face future challenges and to be technology-driven and citizen-centric at the same time. We cover all the verticals of future cities (mobility, health, education, safety, etc.). We have more than +70.000 members from all the quadruple helix (government (Cities), Industries, Citizens, and Academicians) from all over the world.

We have studied more than +200 cities across the globe (from Konza City in Kenya to Rio in Brazil) in order to learn from their success and failure and advise other cities that want to become smart, sustainable, and innovative.

We provide the following services related to future cities (smart, sustainable and innovative): Consultancy, training, events management, etc. See all services in www.FutureCitiesCouncil.org

See: www.linkedin.com/in/dr-oualid-ali-490809106

About The-Mind.ai

The-Mind.ai offers an entirely new approach to Artificial Intelligence. Our Artificial Mind can see and perceive, understand our language, think as humans think and make decisions, learn like us on its own: A real intelligence. To make of the world where no one is alienated and everything is at our fingertips.

In The-Mind.ai, we want to push the limits and boundaries of AI to a whole new level. We work on long term goals of developing and commercialising the next generation of Artificial Intelligence engines based on the AGI and ASI theories. This engine can power a wide variety of intelligent applications in several verticals.

www.the-mind.ai

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