Alibaba and Making Cities Revolve Around People

This article almost reads like a press release, but I like that Alibaba is always thinking big and thinking in terms of how to use technology to help connect people, stores, and in this case, cities, into smarter networks.

…the city of tomorrow should be able to adapt to its surroundings and inhabitants, almost like a living organism, so that municipal services like public transport, health care and education can be delivered in the right measure and time to minimise waste and optimise usage.

If you’ve ever been stopped at a red light, with no other cars in the same zipcode, it’s easy to see how this could make small incremental changes for the better. Alibaba already claims to have improved traffic speed by “up to 11%” in one city district by simply sending out instant traffic alerts and route suggestions to drivers.

But zooming out to a city-wide view, seeing the city not as chaos, but as an adaptable, interconnected system is something else entirely. Connecting people, automated vehicles, buildings, and other services together could bring about much larger changes that we might not yet even imagine.

Though it’s really easy to imagine the problems this might cause given bias built into systems by accident or by fiat.

Alibaba’s next moon shot is to make cities adapt to their human inhabitants, technology seer says