Project Zero aims to leverage AI to enable an Internet of Cities

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A breakthrough team established at a recent global AI summit has launched Project Zero to establish an ‘Internet of Cities’ – a global network powered by AI to enable smart cities to share data and learn from each other’s experience.

“The idea of a ‘tailored smart city’ is a very important one. We can, through AI, enhance the cultural heritage of each city to make sure that there are as many different definitions of a smart city as there are cities in the world,” says Alexandre Cadain of Ecole Normale Supérieure, co-lead of the ‘Breakthrough team’ on ‘AI and smart cities and communities’ at the second AI for Good Global Summit earlier this month.

The Summit connected AI innovators with public and private-sector decision-makers.

Four breakthrough teams – looking at satellite imagery, healthcare, smart cities, and trust in AI – set out to propose AI strategies and supporting projects to advance sustainable development. Teams were guided in this endeavour by an expert audience representing government, industry, academia and civil society.

The matchmaking exercise introduced problem owners to solution owners, building collaboration to take promising strategies forward.

The smart cities breakthrough team pitched seven projects to the summit, projects that aim to support linguistic diversity within cities, combat gender violence, enable blockchain-based decision-making, and provide virtual testbeds for the simulation of smart city projects.

These projects include ‘Project Zero’ targeting the establishment of an ‘Internet of Cities’, a global network able to share the data, knowledge and expertise required to replicate successful smart city projects elsewhere in the world.

“We want to express a point about community,” says Renato De Castro, smart city expert and co-lead of the breakthrough team. “We are going to focus on the idea that people, citizens, can actually be the first source to help us identify problems to be a part of this bottom-up approach we believe in.”

Alexandre Cadain – Ecole normale supérieure, co-founder and CEO of Anima, and XPrize Ambassador – said Project Zero would entail three main elements: the definition of a global repository to share best practices; the development of AI-driven simulations of city environments; and the connection of these best practices and simulations with a more human approach, one enabling ‘city builder video games’ empowering citizens to identify solutions to local problems.

The original version of this article first appeared in ITU News

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