This report is part of ” A Blueprint for the Future of ,” a series from the Brookings Institution that analyzes the new challenges and potential policy solutions introduced by and other emerging technologies.
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Cities are an engine for human prosperity. By putting people and businesses in close proximity, cities serve as the vital hubs to exchange goods, services, and even ideas. Each year, more and more people move to cities and their surrounding metropolitan areas to take advantage of the opportunities available in these denser spaces.
Technology is essential to make cities work. While putting people in close proximity has certain advantages, there are also costs associated with fitting so many people and related activities into the same place. Whether it’s multistory buildings, aqueducts and water pipes, or lattice-like road networks, cities inspire people to develop new technologies that respond to the urban challenges of their day. Author
Today, we can see the responses made possible by the advances of the second industrial revolution, namely steel and electricity. Multistory buildings and skyscrapers responded to our demand for proximity to do business in the same locations. Electrified and subterranean railways offered faster travel for more people in tight, urban quarters. The elevator, escalator, and advanced construction equipment allowed our buildings to grow taller and our subways to burrow deeper. Electric lighting turned our cities, suburbs, and even small towns into 24-hour activity centers. Air conditioning greatly improved livability in warmer locations, unlocking a population boom. Radios and television extended how far we can communicate and the fidelity of the messages we sent.
We are now in the midst of a new industrial era: the digital age. And like the industrial revolutions to precede it, the digital age doesn’t represent a single set of new products. Instead, the digital age represents an entirely new platform on top of which many everyday activities operate. Making all this possible are rapid advances in the power, portability, and price of computing and the emergence of reliable, high-volume digital telecommunications.
Some of the most important developments are taking place in the area of (). At its most essential level, is a collection of programmed algorithms to mimic human decisionmaking. Definitions can vary widely on exactly what constitutes , what its applications will look like in the real world, the solutions applications will provide, and the new challenges those same applications will introduce. What is not in question is the heightened curiosity and eagerness to better understand to maximize its value to humanity and our planet.
How will function in the built environment certainly fits into that category—and for good reason. Even though is still in its infant stages, we already encounter it on a daily basis.[…]