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Future

Smart Cities International: Autobahn 2.0, Dakar Hub, Speeding Songs

Here is a preview of our exclusive newsletter to keep up-to-date and stay inspired by Smart City innovations from around the world.

In Dakar, Senegal
In Dakar, Senegal
Emily Liedel
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JOURNALISTIC EXCELLENCE·TRANSLATED INTELLIGENCE
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As we read about machine intelligence, driverless cars and increasing workplace automation, it’s hard not to wonder whether there's any room left for a personal touch in our high-tech world. In the wake of tragedies stemming from human error (or malicious intent), one can lean toward the argument that we would be better off if machines handled sensitive operations like controlling an airplane or car.


But where to draw the line in the human vs. machine continuum depends on many factors, including cultural differences. This week, in addition to other smart city news, we’ll look at how Berlin is embracing driverless cars, even as Amsterdam is looking for more human input on how to best use its high-tech sensors.


— Emily Liedel

THE NEW GERMAN AUTOBAHN

Germany has long been known as a country that loves its cars, at any speed. Now Berlin wants to be known as the city that loves its self-driving cars, Der Tagespiegelreports (German). There is already a self-driving car “trial area" on a part of the autobahn that connects Berlin to Munich, and the head of Economy, Technology and Research in Berlin’s senate recently said that Berlin aims to be the “city of reference” worldwide for self-driving vehicles.

VERBATIM

“For me, a city is smart if it can solve the basic problems for the people who live in the city, if it can guarantee sustainable human development,” José Blandón Figueroa, the mayor of Panama City, was quoted as saying in Estrategia y Negocios (Spanish), about his city’s recent contract with Cisco to develop "smart city" infrastructure.

SMART PEOPLE

In Amsterdam, the Waag Society is working on making citizens — not just cities — smarter. The group is opening a Smart Citizens Lab to invite people to share their concerns about the city, beginning with traditional complaints about noise or stenches from the canals, Futurezone reports (German). It’s not all low-tech, though: After listening to concerns, the group will then determine how sensors can be used to both identify and help solve the problem, and then to evaluate whether or not the solutions are effective. The Waag Society plans on measuring things like noise, air quality, CO2, humidity, dust and water quality, but also aims to fine-tune the city's policies based on the concerns voiced by residents.

SECURITY VS. PRIVACY

Many conversations about smart cities revolve around the Holy Grail for app developers: open data. But many specialists shy away from discussing how secure the data is, and how well private, individual data is protected in the race for more information — a concern shared by cities around the world. In an upcoming conference on digital security in Tel Aviv, French and Israeli officials, businesspeople and experts are hoping to figure out how to best strike that balance between entrepreneurial accessibility and privacy for citizens,La Tribunereports (French).

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Society

How Iran's Women-Led Protests Have Exposed The 'Islamist Racket' Everywhere

By defending their fundamental rights, Iranian women are effectively fighting for the rights of all in the Middle East. Their victory could spell an end to Islamic fundamentalism that spouts lies about "family values" and religion.

Protests like this in Barcelona have been sparked all over the world to protest the Tehran regime.

Davide Bonaldo/SOPA Images via ZUMA
Kayhan London

-Editorial-

Iran's narrow-minded, rigid and destructive rulers have ruined the lives of so many Iranians, to the point of forcing a portion of the population to sporadically rise up in the hope of forcing changes. Each time, the regime's bloody repression forces Iranians back into silent resignation as they await another chance, when a bigger and bolder wave of protests will return to batter the ramparts of dictatorship.

It may just be possible that this time, in spite of the bloodshed, a bankrupt regime could finally succumb to the latest wave of protests, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of the so-called "morality police."

Women have always played a role in the social and political developments of modern Iran, thanks in part to 50 years of secular monarchy before the Iranian Revolution of 1979. And that role became the chief target of reaction when it gained, or regained, power in the early days of 1979, after a revolution replaced the monarchy with a self-styled Islamic republic.

Whether it was women's attire and appearance, or their rights and opportunities in education and work, access to political and public life or juridical and civil rights — all these became intolerable to the new clerical authorities.

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