Cities are undergoing a profound transformation: the convergence of digital information (bits) and physical environment (bricks). As virtual systems become spatialized – entering our world through the Internet of Things – no industry remains unaffected. From utilities to transportation, construction to environmental resilience, the 21st century condition presents new challenges… As well as new opportunities. In May 2016, The MIT Senseable City Lab presented the 2016 Forum on the Future City: Bits and Bricks in partnership with Mahindra, the City of Boston and the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of Cities. Major stakeholders in the development of cities gathered to propose innovative solutions in urban development and to discuss the challenges of the urban future in terms of higher sustainability, better use of resources and infrastructures, as well as improved equity and quality of life in cities. In support of this initiative, the World Bank Group Open Learning Campus (OLC) has prepared a series of bite sized learning videos captured from the Bits and bricks conference organized by MIT and World Economic forum. On this page, you will find interesting and innovative information from experts in urban development and smart technologies.
Dr. Demis Hassabis is the Co-Founder and CEO of DeepMind, the world’s leading General Artificial Intelligence (AI) company, which was acquired by Google in 2014 in their largest ever European acquisition. Demis will draw on his eclectic experiences as an AI researcher, neuroscientist and video games designer to discuss what is happening at the cutting edge of AI research, including the recent historic AlphaGo match, and its future potential impact on fields such as science and healthcare, and how developing AI may help us better understand the human mind.
CRISPR gene drives allow scientists to change sequences of DNA and guarantee that the resulting edited genetic trait is inherited by future generations, opening up the possibility of altering entire species forever. More than anything, the technology has led to questions: How will this new power affect humanity? What are we going to use it to change? Are we gods now? Join journalist Jennifer Kahn as she ponders these questions and shares a potentially powerful application of gene drives: the development of disease-resistant mosquitoes that could knock out malaria and Zika.
"I want you to reimagine how life is organized on earth," says global strategist Parag Khanna. As our expanding cities grow ever more connected through transportation, energy and communications networks, we evolve from geography to what he calls "connectography." This emerging global network civilization holds the promise of reducing pollution and inequality — and even overcoming geopolitical rivalries. In this talk, Khanna asks us to embrace a new maxim for the future: "Connectivity is destiny."
As the development of the Internet of Things is taking up speed, connected devices are producing staggering amounts of data. Estimates say that by 2020, there will be 26 times more connected things than people – devices which will produce 400 zettabytes of data per year (one zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes). Managing this flood of data is one of the biggest challenges facing policy, industry and civilian societies. The task of scientists is to test and propose rules, frameworks and technologies to support this process, reveal opportunities and prevent risks and abuse. Dirk Helbing is a physicist and professor of computational social science with a particular interest in modelling and simulating complex socio-economic systems and scenarios. With his team at ETH Zurich, he is researching how big data from connected devices can be fed into a so-called Planetary Nervous System, a transparent, open-access information system which can support real-time measurements of the world. A system like this could revolutionise many sectors, from urban planning and traffic control to the early detection of epidemics and earthquake prediction. In the wrong hands, however, big data can pose enormous risks to privacy and personal freedom. As opposed to corporate or state-owned data mining tools, Dirk proposes a citizen-owned participatory platform, with extensive features to protect users’ privacy and the ultimate goal to treat big data – and the information extracted from it – largely as public goods. At Falling Walls, he presents this model of a democratic data ecosystem as an alternative to gloomier “Big Brother” scenarios.
BREAKING THE WALL TO DIGITAL DEMOCRACY How Socio-Physics Shapes the Future of Smart Societies Dirk Helbing Professor of Computational Social Science, ETH Zurich
What is the blockchain? If you don't know, you should; if you do, chances are you still need some clarification on how it actually works. Don Tapscott is here to help, demystifying this world-changing, trust-building technology which, he says, represents nothing less than the second generation of the internet and holds the potential to transform money, business, government and society.
"A forest is much more than what you see," says ecologist Suzanne Simard. Her 30 years of research in Canadian forests have led to an astounding discovery -- trees talk, often and over vast distances. Learn more about the harmonious yet complicated social lives of trees and prepare to see the natural world with new eyes.
For four billion years, what lived and died on Earth depended on two principles: natural selection and random mutation. Then humans came along and changed everything — hybridizing plants, breeding animals, altering the environment and even purposefully evolving ourselves. Juan Enriquez provides five guidelines for a future where this ability to program life rapidly accelerates. "This is the single most exciting adventure human beings have been on," Enriquez says. "This is the single greatest superpower humans have ever had."
Why is Al Gore optimistic about climate change? In this spirited talk, Gore asks three powerful questions about the man-made forces threatening to destroy our planet -- and the solutions we're designing to combat them.
Does collecting more data lead to better decision-making? Competitive, data-savvy companies like Amazon, Google and Netflix have learned that data analysis alone doesn't always produce optimum results. In this talk, data scientist Sebastian Wernicke breaks down what goes wrong when we make decisions based purely on data -- and suggests a brainier way to use it.
Challenges and problems can derail your creative process ... or they can make you more creative than ever. In the surprising story behind the best-selling solo piano album of all time, Tim Harford may just convince you of the advantages of having to work with a little mess.
Complexity Digest's insight:
"Just because you don't like it, it does not mean that it is not helpful"
Ever wondered why kids say they’re bored at school, or why they stop trying when the work gets harder? Educationalist Carol Dweck explains how the wrong kind of praise actually *harms* young people. This short video is essential viewing for EVERYONE – from teachers and education workers to relatives and friends - and will totally revolutionise the way you interact with children.
Today complex systems science is rapidly growing as a discipline, with relevance to many areas of science and as an approach to addressing a wide range of real world problems. Understanding the fundamental mathematical origins of complex systems science reveals its conceptual richness and ability to advance science and expand its application. I will review these origins, describe some current applications, and point to the opportunities of the future.
Complex Systems Science: Where Does It Come From and Where is It Going To? Yaneer Bar-Yam
Opening plenary address at the Conference on Complex Systems 2015, at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.
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