AI and Machine Learning
According to an article published in the Harvard Business Review, “The most important general-purpose technology of our era is artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning (ML)”. ML is the machine’s ability to keep improving its performance without humans having to explain exactly how to accomplish all the tasks it’s given. Within just the past few years machine learning has become far more effective and widely available. We can now build systems that learn how to perform tasks on their own.
Blockchain and Smart Contracts
Blockchain, the distributed ledger technology, has the potential to eliminate huge amounts of record-keeping, save money and disrupt IT in ways not seen since the internet arrived. It is a public electronic ledger that can be openly shared among disparate users and that creates an unchangeable record of their transactions, each one time-stamped and linked to the previous one. Each digital record or transaction in the thread is called a block (hence the name), and it allows either an open or controlled set of users to participate in the electronic ledger. Each block is linked to a specific participant. Blockchain can only be updated by consensus between participants in the system, and when new data is entered, it can never be erased. The blockchain contains a true and verifiable record of each and every transaction ever made in the system. In layman’s terms, blockchain is a write-once, append-many electronic ledger. Blockchain isn’t a single technology. Rather it’s an architecture that allows disparate users to make transactions and then creates an unchangeable record of those transactions
Through blockchain technology, smart contracts are set to revolutionise legal and commercial transactions. Smart contracts provide contracting parties with clarity on the terms of the agreement. The terms of the contract are written in code (rather than legalese) and are accessed via an agreed data source. Identical, dynamic copies of the contract are kept across the blockchain. Amendments to the contract are verified by the computers of all participants, in accordance with a ‘consensus algorithm’.
Smart cities aren’t just a dream of the future. Thanks to wildly innovative Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, many are already active and expanding rapidly.
A smart city is a framework, predominantly composed of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), to develop, deploy and promote sustainable development practices to address growing urbanization challenges. A big part of this ICT framework is essentially an intelligent network of connected objects and machines that transmit data using wireless technology and the cloud. Cloud-based IoT applications receive, analyze and manage data in real time to help municipalities, enterprises and citizens make better decisions in the moment that improve quality of life.
Citizens engage with smart city ecosystems in a variety of ways using smartphones and mobile devices, as well as connected cars and homes. Pairing devices and data with a city’s physical infrastructure and services can cut costs and improve sustainability. Communities can improve energy distribution, streamline trash collection, decrease traffic congestion and even improve air quality with help from the IoT.