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, the fourth Industrial Revolution has made building utopia possible. Smart cities allow for the highest level of innovations to be realized with universal basic income (UBI) to balance the income distribution system. It can help improve social cohesion, cultivate innovation, consumption, entrepreneurship, and safeguard access to everyday services. 


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 being implemented in Singapore, Dubai, Oslo, Copenhagen, and London. New York City is leading the way in the U.S. while Boston opened an Innovation District at their seaport and offered “participatory urbanism” with a series of apps.


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.


UBI has been tested around the globe and 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. In the late 1970s, those in the Dauphin community saw positive results and 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, built a case for universal basic income, discussing the importance of it for the economy moving forward. Dorsey believed in its benefits and donated $5 million to Humanity Forward, Yang’s group, 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 will 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, engineers, and other white collar jobs are at risk. 

Robust smart cities generate income and UBI 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 save trillions due to the greater efficiency. With a smart cities framework and a data-driven approach, large urban cities can overcome many of the challenges that automation and overpopulation creates. Conjoined with UBI for 50% of the population — the homeless, the poor, and those who have lost their jobs to machines — we can curtail poverty statistics until it dissipates entirely as we build towards utopia.