One of the battlegrounds for innovation and security is the concept of a ’smart city
’. While the idea of data-driven cities has been around for decades, the reality of sensor based technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) paired with machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) has taken longer to execute, so it’s been more of a concept than an actual thing
Smart cities are more than just locations where there’s wifi in the main square, or where the lights turn off when there’s no movement in the street. They are places where digital data on citizens drives service provision and urban planning, where data helps to improve traffic control and unmanned, automated transport is facilitated, and where wellbeing can be monitored en masse.
For technology entrepreneurs, smart cities are a flourishing opportunity
. But for all the boons of smart cities, there’s also the issue of how to educate citizens about how to protect their devices, networks and resilience to malicious forces. A smart city requires a robust cybersecurity infrastructure, but it also requires digital literacies and an informed and aware citizenry. That’s not just a technological challenge, it’s a public education challenge.
Investing in innovation is a requirement for sustainability in business. But it’s not just a matter of buying in technology. Without considering the decidedly human frailties of smart cities, we are planning for a future that will not just leave us vulnerable
, but may expand the gap between the haves and have-nots
, and may compromise the very intelligence we seek to exploit.