How cities of the future are shaping up to be smarter and more sustainable

Today’s cities are grappling with problems ranging from gridlocked traffic and overflowing landfills, to unaffordable housing and growing inequality. Without action, those problems will only get worse.

© CourtesyEko Atlantic

The United Nations predicts that by 2050, the world’s population will reach 9.7 billion. Nearly 70% of people are projected to live in urban areas, placing a greater strain on cities and the environment.

As urbanization is expected to be fastest in lower-income countries, the UN warns many cities will face challenges to meet the needs of their growing number of residents, including providing adequate housing, transportation, and energy systems.

At the same time, cities are a key contributor to climate change, responsible for an estimated three quarters of global CO2 emissions.

To address this, architects and designers have come up with innovative solutions — from vertical farms and biome greenhouses, to self-driving cars and underground recycling systems —

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New electronic chip delivers smarter, light-powered AI


IMAGE: The light-powered AI chip – prototype technology that brings together imaging, processing, machine learning and memory.
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Credit: RMIT University

Researchers have developed artificial intelligence technology that brings together imaging, processing, machine learning and memory in one electronic chip, powered by light.

The prototype shrinks artificial intelligence technology by imitating the way that the human brain processes visual information.

The nanoscale advance combines the core software needed to drive artificial intelligence with image-capturing hardware in a single electronic device.

With further development, the light-driven prototype could enable smarter and smaller autonomous technologies like drones and robotics, plus smart wearables and bionic implants like artificial retinas.

The study, from an international team of Australian, American and Chinese researchers led by RMIT University, is published in the journal Advanced Materials.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Sumeet Walia, from RMIT, said the prototype delivered brain-like functionality in one powerful device.


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Implementing carbon pricing during the pandemic could help countries recover greener, smarter — ScienceDaily

Countries across the globe have been struggling to deal with the impact of Covid-19 and its accompanying economic slowdown. As economies “build back better,” it may be an opportune time to introduce carbon pricing to tackle climate change, according to new Princeton University policy research.

While endorsed by many economists, carbon pricing has been slower to gain traction because of its potential to shock economies and the difficulty of securing political support for increasing taxes. However, fuel prices are already low and people are buying fewer goods and traveling less, so there could be greater benefits to introducing or strengthening carbon prices, the authors argue in the journal Climate Policy.

Carbon pricing — whether in the form of taxes or emissions trading — is an economic approach to account for the environmental costs of emitting greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels. Carbon taxes typically apply to the producer with

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Modi Seeks Funding to Build Smarter Indian Cities Post Pandemic

(Bloomberg) — Prime Minister Narendra Modi is keen to attract foreign investment to modernize India’s urban centers as the world’s second-most-populous nation rebuilds its economy after the coronavirus pandemic halted activity.

Narendra Modi holding a phone

© Bloomberg
Narendra Modi

Covid-19 has given governments the chance to accelerate the “process of making cities more livable for people,” Modi said in his speech at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum on Tuesday. “We are looking at a future where a major chunk of education, healthcare, shopping, may happen online. Our cities need to be ready for the convergence of the physical and digital worlds.”


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India plans to continue raising funds in areas including urban technology and transport, he added. The country will have to develop up to 800 million square meters each year till 2030 with more than 40% of population expected to live in cities, according to Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.


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Pininfarina Battista is smarter than your phone when roaming

Pininfarina had to overcome a lot of issues on the way to designing its Battista electric hypercar, but one problem that the legendary design house likely didn’t expect to have to sort out is the issue of cellular data connectivity.

a close up of a car: Going on a grand tour of Europe in your new electric hypercar? Now you don't have to worry about SIM cards. Pininfarina

© Provided by Roadshow
Going on a grand tour of Europe in your new electric hypercar? Now you don’t have to worry about SIM cards. Pininfarina

See, if you live in the US, the odds are good that you’re probably not doing a lot of driving across international borders the same way that you would if you lived in Europe or Asia or even South America. That means you’re not being forced to continually switch between cellular providers the way that people in those locales might have to.

a close up of a car: Going on a grand tour of Europe in your new electric hypercar? Now you don't have to worry about SIM cards.


Going on a grand tour of Europe in your new electric hypercar? Now you don’t have to worry about

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Startup Founded By Cognitive Scientist Gary Marcus And Roboticist Rodney Brooks Raises $15 Million To Make Building Smarter Robots Easier

Despite the enormous promise of robotics to change life as we know it, today’s robots are largely dumb and inflexible as they confront a complex and ever-changing world. “Nobody was doing it right, and it would be huge if we could do a better job,” says cognitive scientist Gary Marcus.

So Marcus, a former NYU professor and founder of another startup called Geometric Intelligence that was bought by Uber, teamed up with roboticist Rodney Brooks, cofounder of iRobot and co-inventor of the Roomba, to start a new company. Their Palo Alto, California-based startup, Robust.AI hopes to bridge the gap between what robots can do today and their promise by building what they call “the world’s first industrial-grade cognitive engine for robotics.” Its goal is to help

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