Friday, November 10, 2017

The 25 Most High Tech Cities in the World

The Shard. London's tallest building.

A Facebook friend posted this article today from the World Economic Forum about the world's most high-tech cities. I don't think there are many surprises in there and London comes up as the number 3 behind San Francisco and New York. That's good to know as a Londoner and working in and around tech.

The article makes for interesting reading and highlights the tech strengths of the cities it lists. It's great to see how well represented Europe is. There's also good representation in the USA and Asia. Cities in Africa, Australia and South America don't make the top twenty five.

The article also reiterates that world populations are becoming ever more urban. It's something I'm aware of. It's certainly happening in the UK. The regions are suffering as London grows. The tension between London and the rest of the country also grows. As someone who regularly spends time in the regions as well as London, I can feel the difference. It's like I'm living two lives sometimes. My London life and my Midlands life.  I note this quote from the article:
'In less than 35 years, the World Health Organization (sic) estimates that two-thirds of the world population will be living in urban areas (PDF) . That's an additional 2.5 billion people. The cities that will flourish the most are those that rely on cutting edge technologies and create opportunities for people to develop new ones.'
How the world will sustain another 2.5 billion people, I really don't know. I imagine we'll have to learn to live in smaller homes and using a smaller environmental footprint. As for transport to get that extra 2.5 billion people moving around - be that country to country or a commute to work, that's a whole load of extra traffic fumes unless we move to cleaner energy sources. I rather like breathing. And having spent time in hospital with breathing difficulties, I know first-hand how debilitating it is and how particles in the air are really bad news for our lungs.

As for the comment about cutting edge technologies... that's making me go 'hmmm'. What's important is to make sure that things work surely? We need reliability and consistency of service and things working and not just cutting-edge technology. We need to be able to roll services out and not have them in isolation. We need, I hate to use the cliche, but 'joined-up thinking'. We absolutely need to make things better and we need innovation to drive that. And we definitely need to experiment. We probably don't do enough of that as start-ups, entrepreneurs and investors are usually chasing the money above all else. We also need a population who are educated and have the skills to drive this forward. That's a huge challenge to know what and how to teach our children, teens and young people when their lives will be so vastly different in a short space of time and we're educating them for jobs that don't even exist yet.

I'm thinking we're possible now in a post-app world with the rise of AI, machine learning and robots. And that has major implications when it comes to privacy, security, ethics and unintended consequences. I don't think success is limited to being cutting edge.

Counting up, I've spent time in 10 of the top 25 cities, albeit a few of them before the massive growth of tech in the last 15 years or so. How about you?

Day 9/30 NaBloPoMo