How smart cities can serve citizens

How smart cities can serve citizens
At the Dentons Rodyk Dialogue 2020, Minister for National Development Desmond Lee joined a panel of experts to discuss how digitalisation can help to transform cities. Credit: Singapore Management University

Although cities and urban areas only make up a small proportion of the world’s land mass, they are home to more than half the global population and that number is going to keep rising. As cities swell to capacity with more and more inhabitants, city planners have turned to technology to cope with the challenges that accompany urban density.

The role of digital technologies in overcoming urban development challenges have become even more apparent in the COVID-19 pandemic, said Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for National Development and Minister-in-charge of Social Services Integration.

“This pandemic has starkly shown us that we need to transform the way we design, build and maintain our city so that we move away from a heavy

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New migration maps serve as tools to help big game in West

male elk
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The life-or-death journey made by mule deer during the second-longest big game migration in North America came down to their ability to squeeze through a fence—a discovery made by scientists using wildlife GPS tracking techniques to map animal migrations in the West in unprecedented detail.

The resulting atlas of migration corridors in Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming published by the U.S. Geological Survey can help elk, mule deer, antelope and other animals by focusing efforts to reduce man-made obstacles along their journeys, biologists and wildlife advocates say.

“The new technology, the GPS collars and the computer programs that are able to analyze this data, is giving us such a different picture of what migrating wildlife do,” said Miles Moretti, president of the Salt Lake City-based Mule Deer Foundation, which funded some of the research. “This has given us some information like we’ve never had

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A record number of women will serve in the 117th Congress, including at least 51 women of color

<span class="caption">Jahana Hayes (left) and Lauren Underwood were reelected to the House of Representatives.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite">AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite</a></span>
Jahana Hayes (left) and Lauren Underwood were reelected to the House of Representatives. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Women will gain at least 14 seats in the 117th Congress, setting a new record for female representation.

In 2018, the nation elected 127 women – and 48 women of color – to the House and Senate. Next Jan. 3, at least 141 women, including 51 women of color will be sworn in. Eight races involving women had yet to be called as of Nov. 16, meaning this number could still grow.

Women will be at least 27% of the House and 24% of the Senate. The Senate numbers do not include Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, or Kelly Loeffler, a Georgia Republican involved in a runoff that will take place after Congress is sworn in. Women make up 50.52% of the U.S. population.

A strong showing by Republican women helped drive this trend,

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Pope Francis urges followers to pray that AI and robots ‘always serve mankind’

Pope Francis has asked believers around the world to pray that robots and artificial intelligence “always serve mankind.”

The message is one of the pope’s monthly prayer intentions — regular missives shared on YouTube that are intended to help Catholics “deepen their daily prayer” by focusing on particular topics or events. In August, the pope urged prayer for “the maritime world”; in April, the topic was “freedom for addiction.” Now, in November, it’s AI and robots.

Although the message sounds similar to warnings issued by tech notables like Elon Musk (the Tesla CEO famously compared work on artificial intelligence to “summoning the demon”), the pope’s focus is more prosaic. He doesn’t seem to be worrying about the sort of exotic doomsday scenario where a superintelligent AI turns the world into paperclips, but more about how the tech could exacerbate existing inequalities here and now.

(We should note also that the

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Pray that robotics and AI always serve humankind

.- Pope Francis has invited Catholics around the world to pray that robotics and artificial intelligence will remain always at the service of human beings. 

He made the appeal in his prayer intention for November.

“We pray that the progress of robotics and artificial intelligence may always serve humankind,” reads the prayer intention, which is publicized each month by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.

The prayer intention is the latest expression of concern about the direction of cutting-edge technology to emerge from the Vatican. 

In February, the Pontifical Academy for Life signed an appeal for the ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI), a branch of computer science devoted to building machines which can perform tasks that ordinarily require human intelligence.

The document, which was also signed by presidents of IBM and Microsoft, called for the promotion of “Algor-ethics.” It defined

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