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CogX: What will your city look like after 2040?

As IBM quote in their recent advertising campaign ‘AI isn’t just for selfies’. We are already using artificial intelligence in more ways than we realise, and have been for the last decade. Anyone with a social media account, who uses Google, sends emails, uses LinkedIn or has their geolocation enabled on their iPhone may already be fairly dependant on AI. It is integrated into our banking, our retail experiences, and even our healthcare. This morning, we cast our minds forward 21 years to consider what our city will look like in 2040.

The Host:

Daniel Murray, Co-founder @ Dawn

The Panel:

[PM] Pippa Malmgren, Co-founder @ H-Robotics

[RD] Ronan Dunne, Executive VP and President @ Verizon Wireless

[AS] Anna Strongman, Senior Projects Director @ Argent

[GG] Georgia Gould, Leader @ Camden Council

So, how can we understand our future city?

PM: "To understand the city of the future, we must use our imagination. We have to learn to move from a 2D to a 3D vision. In the words of Mark Twain 'The eyes cannot see clearly if the mind is out of focus’. I don’t see a city where the sky is full or drones, most of the data will be collected at night.”

RD: “In the US there are already commercial flight paths for drones, they are being used to gather data and can even be used to locate a gunshot. Through the development of AI, manual processes will be fully automated by 2040. Connectivity will provide the context for a much more diverse, creative community. With AI making room for more creatives, we can expect to see more creative spaces.”

GG: “AI is creating spaces for people to gather, come together and form communities. Tech can be used to enable radical change in the way that we work. Trust is at the forefront of data sharing, we need to find ways to put people at the forefront when it comes to choosing how their data is used. Businesses must aim to do good in order to gain trust. Are the business models you are creating formed around making a social impact? Creativity comes from diversity, so we need to encourage more diversity.”

AS: “Cities should be places of education, creativity and fun. We need to think about how we seamlessly design, develop, build, service and personalise our buildings. How do we incorporate data from the start? At the heard of our city is the life of our city. How do we create those moments of exchange? You have to start with the public realm. Build safe, clean, accessible public spaces and build around that.”

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AI and data-driven society v’s Eco-friendly, sustainable future. Which will win?

RD: “AI and sustainable futures can come hand in hand. 5G can be used to improve education, reduce time spent online and therefore your carbon footprint, and carbon fibre is energy efficient.”

PM: “I see cities made up of different levels, with urban farming on one level, residents on another. Buildings will be created with moving walls so that spaces can be repurposed. The idea of retro-fitting existing buildings is slow to be explored, but there is a future within this.”

GG: “Technology needs to be used to reduce a life of long commutes for little pay. We need to create a world where we can work and live locally.”

AS: “As we have learnt through Brent Cross, the more efficient we are, the more costs we save. Until we work more closely with the industry and properly educate employees in how to use the tech, we are at a stand-still.”

[*You can read more about change management and properly integrating digital transformation into businesses via]

PM: "400+ buildings as tall as The Shard have been approved to be built, not that they necessarily will be built. A lot of very tall buildings are coming to the city, yet we can’t yet put out fires that high. Drones are being used to navigate this.”

RD: "Your carrier doesn’t own your data because it is your data. In the future we will partner with people we trust to create trust, transparency and values-led public-private partnerships.”

If you see the future of cities as a film, which film would you choose?

  • "Breakfast at Tiffanies: It sounds like a strange choice but I hope to see a city where people are walking down the street like Audrey Hepburn having a bloody good time.”

  • “I don’t think the film has been made yet, I don’t want to limit our creativity.”

  • “Hunger Games: I think some people will have access to the best medicine and tech, whilst others will be left behind.”

Image by @tinycactus

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