The smart city challenges are not a challenge for AI…but for us’.
From the day one, human civilisation has always tried to seek out ways that could make our life better and better each day by overcoming the challenges that come by. We always look for new ideas, innovations, and strategies that could augment our existence as effectively as possible – as they say, the sky’s the limit.
And even with artificial intelligence, it’s the same – smart city challenges are easy for AI to be accomplished but how it does accomplish is also important. The path chosen to reach the destination is more important than the destination itself. How easily can AI solve smart city challenges and how AI poses a challenge for the smart cities in future is discussed ahead.
1. AI Can Solve Driving Challenges
At the global level, the estimates of deaths and injuries on the roads reach millions each year. The reason is always a human error. And this human error can be completely eliminated by replacing the traditional vehicles with the self-driving vehicles.
The report developed by Stanford University confirms that self-driving cars can efficiently decrease the number of traffic-related accidents. It is not just that. It can also help us live a better lifestyle where we can dedicate more time to work or entertain ourselves while we commute. The report also says that “The increased comfort and decreased cognitive load with self-driving cars and shared transportation may affect where people choose to live”.
The driverless vehicles are anticipated to advance in the next few years as per the number of carmakers. The plan is to create vehicles that can automatically perform the primary functions such as steering, accelerating and braking for a longer period of commutation. Currently, there are cars available with pre-installed sensors that are capable of detecting people and vehicles ahead of them and warn the driver against collisions.
Google has developed its autonomous cars and deployed on the roads as well. These cars have run through millions of miles with very few collisions recorded. The cars handle the uncertain situations by just stopping.
Take it for example what Sebastian Thrun, the Founder of Google X have to say, “I have a 9-year-old. I would love to put him in a driverless car and say, go to school on your own. And he would love it because it would give him the ability to go around and organize his own play dates”.
The Challenge For Smart Cities:
Many of the smart cities are already simulating the use of driverless cars on the roads. But, as the driverless technology advances, it brings out cars that are capable of construing more complex situations. So, at this point in time, these self-drivers need to make decisions on the spot within a fraction of seconds which poses ethical issues.
2. AI Can Be A Boon For Energy Industry
As the smart cities are incorporating more and more advanced infrastructure to every city sector the need for energy demand rises. With the demand, the greenhouse gas emissions also rise that lead to environmental problems. On the other side, we also need to deal with resources that are exhausting and switch to more reliable and renewable resources for sustenance.
Thus, in this case, AI powered tools can be of great help. In future AI can prove to be a game-changer in how we produce, supply and consume energy resources. In fact, smart cities are already implementing AI.
Tech giants like Google have a huge data centres with servers operating 24/7. These servers require a massive amount of energy to operate and remain at a cool temperature without getting heated up. To solve this Google uses recently developed artificial intelligence platform called DeepMind. This platform curbs down unnecessary energy use by analysing when the cooling system needs to be activated. With this AI has been beneficial to Google in saving about 40% of energy costs at its server centres.
AI-powered delivery networks can monitor and control consumer consumption as well as the contact points. This ensures that electricity is supplied simultaneously with energy information supply. Beginning from 2010, U.S Department of Energy has invested $4.5 billion in smart grid infrastructure with 15 million smart meters installed in different smart cities. These meters help in monitoring energy usage and send alerts to authorities regarding blackouts. As per estimations, when the U.S energy demand will rise to 25% by 2050, the use of this AI integrated meters will lead to just 1% increase in the peak electricity load on the grid. So, there are tremendous opportunities for savings and benefits.
Furthermore, according to Bloomberg News reports, General Electric is finding out ways to optimise the flow of the batteries and the point of consumption. Steven Martin, the chief digital officer at GE says this tech could eventually save $200 billion globally.
The Challenge For Smart Cities:
The challenge in smart cities mainly lies in the increasing use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) which depends on the internet, computing, and processing power to run. When the number of smart grids and smart sensors doubles, more data needs to be processed which requires number of machines and computing power. Eventually, as the usage of AI-powered machines increases, the adverse impact on the environment from greenhouse gas emissions also increases. Hence, the solution to this challenge is being sorted out in smart cities.
3. AI Can Solve The Educational Challenges
The Georgia Tech University in U.S revealed that one of the main reasons behind students quitting their education from the halfway is the lack of support. So to deal with this challenge, the university created a teaching assistant in the form of a robot. The artificially intelligent robot is able to answer the student’s questions with 97% accuracy. And student’s are really excited to be with their new digital teacher.
It’s actually not just the lack of support that can be resolved. On the other side, it’s important to note that every student has its own way of learning and understanding concepts at different speeds – some are quick graspers and some are slow learners. So to overcome this challenge one-to-one personalised teaching sessions are important which is impossible to achieve through our conventional way of teaching. Thus, this is where artificial intelligence can be of great help. AI can prove to be a smart teacher and solve all learning problems of students through its extensive knowledge in every subject. It can teach exactly like the humans.
The Challenge For Smart Cities:
With the implementation of AI in education sector, smart cities would have to rethink our entire education system and possibly build a convenient infrastructure that meets the ongoing demands. Besides, fully automated teachers for one-to-one sessions is quite an expensive idea for every individual.
Besides, with personalised sessions taken by AI teacher there are possibilities where the AI uses unethical way of drawing conclusions. Plus, It cannot be as affectionate as a human teacher and cannot understand a student’s feelings as much as a human teacher can. Hence all these questions need to be answered diligently before deploying AI teachers.
As we have created this unpredictably powerful thing, it’s us who need to decide over how AI could be used in solving the challenges faced not just by smart cities but by every city in the nook and cranny of the globe. Of course, AI is good and can prove to be great in solving the city challenges. Not to forget that anything is not a challenge for AI but for us because they assimilate what we make them assimilate. It might just happen that we make them follow a designated path in the maze and out of superhuman capabilities the AI drives the self-created path out of the maze causing adverse consequences.