Technology has grown tremendously over the past few years. More buildings have Wi-Fi, smartphones are capable of running programs, and sensors can collect multitude of information. Artificial intelligence, robotics, and digitalization have changed the world we live in. While tech is continuing to improve lives, it has also created a significant problem across the United States – an income disparage.
The Industrial Revolution resulted in a new standard of living but it’s also created a new paradigm where half of the existing jobs could disappear within the next 10 to 20 years. With levels of inequality and unemployment already at unmanageable levels, this Industrial Revolution has made building utopia possible. Smart cities allow for the highest level of innovations to be realized and universal basic income (UBI) to balance the income distribution system. It can help improve social cohesion and cultivate innovation, consumption, entrepreneurship, and safeguard access to everyday services.
WHAT ARE SMART CITIES?
Smart cities are metropolises connected to the internet. Cities integrate internet of things (IoT) to ensure that everyday objects have sensors. It enables more data to be collected so that insights can be used to continually make the city smarter. The data is used to allocate resources, manage assets, and ensure services run more efficiently.
Creating a smart city is critical to maintaining urbanized areas of the world. It has been anticipated that by 2050, over 60 percent of the population will live in cities.
Those in smart cities have the ability to connect with a mobile app. It allows citizens to have real-time visibility into the city.There are also digital kiosks that provide details on bus and train routes along with bike and car share programs.
Smart sensors link with traffic signals to warn of congested areas, identify an overflowing dumpster, find a parking spot, and avoid traffic jams. Smart cities are already happening, including Singapore, Dubai, Oslo, Copenhagen, and London. Boston and New York City are some of the U.S. cities leading the way. Boston opened an Innovation District at their seaport and offered “participatory urbanism” with a series of apps.
SMART CITIES SPAWN FROM GLOBALIZATION 4.0
Smart cities are all about providing connection. They help to eliminate the wait time that has become part of the human experience. People wait wherever they go – the coffee shop, the deli, the doctor’s office, in traffic. With constant, present internet connection, and more devices connected to the internet, waiting is eliminated in most scenarios. It gives more time back to the person, ensuring that they have time to live their life. A study by Juniper research and Intel showed that simply providing a better traffic route for residents in Singapore gave them back 60 hours a year.
With the fourth Industrial Revolution comes the early stage of Globalization 4.0. Edge computing transforms the way data is handled and delivered from millions of devices. The IoT provides more items connected to the Internet, creating real-time computing power. With cities equipped with faster networking technologies, edge computing brings about smart cities.
A person wakes up in the morning after their alarm has gone off. Their blinds have been opened and their coffee is already brewing because the alarm was triggered. A traffic system identifies when the roads are crowded and provides an alternate route to be followed. It can eliminate a significant amount of time being spent in traffic.
While at work, a person develops a fever. Rather than making a doctor’s appointment for later in the evening or several days later, they take advantage of Telehealth services on their app. With the click of a button, he is in a video chat with a doctor and vital signs are measured in real time. A prescription is called in and delivered directly to their front door. On a lunch break, a person walks through the city and visits kiosks to get directions, and buy tickets for a show that was advertised at a kiosk.
UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME
UBI is a solution that has been in place since the 16th century when it was proposed by Thomas More and popularized by Thomas Paine in the 18th century. Today, many thought leaders are looking towards UBI.
Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, has been a huge proponent of universal basic income. Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur and former Democratic presidential candidate, and built a case for universal basic income, discussing the importance of it for the economy moving forward. Dorsey was so convinced of its benefits that he gave Humanity
Forward, Yang’s group, $5 million to build a case to show the benefits. Silicon Valley has the potential to come together to prepare the market for automation and the benefits of AI – and the impact it will have on the job market.
UBI can offset the automation curve where 20 million jobs could be replaced by machines by 2030, according to Oxford Economics. Half of the tasks humans perform today will be replaced by technology. It isn’t simply low-income jobs in jeopardy. Approximately 60 percent of jobs are impacted by tech, CEOs, insurance agents, financial advisors, and more could all be at risk.
Universal basic income would be a base pay given to everyone in the smart city. The income would be paid for by the tech companies improving their bottom lines. It would also be paid for by the local and federal governments that are saving billions due to the greater efficiency.
UBI is being tested around the globe – and those in Dauphin community saw positive results when it was tested in the late 1970s. With UBI, it doesn’t necessarily solve homelessness and job loss. However, it covers basic necessities, including medical and mental healthcare.
A UTOPIA IN THE MAKING
When smart cities are embraced, automation takes effect, and universal basic income is available to 50% of the population — the homeless, the poor, and those who have lost their jobs to machines.
According to a Brookings Institute study, San Francisco, California held the second highest level of household income inequality, falling just behind Atlanta, Georgia. Those in the 95th percentile were earning over $350,000 a year while those in the bottom 20th percentile were at below $20,000. As a result of the wealth disparity, there has been a spike in homelessness in the city. Approximately 8000 homeless people met the federal definition of homeless in 2019, which is a 17% increase from 2017.
There is obviously the need to invest in shelters, affordable housing, and specialists support. With a smart cities framework and a data-driven approach, San Francisco can start to overcome the constant homeless problem.
Robust smart cities generate universal basic income, and can move the homeless statistics towards the rest of the country until it dissipates entirely.