Weekly 'Pulse' Issue 62


The Connected City

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Chinese tech giant, Ali Baba, are tackling Asia's crippling crisis of traffic congestion. Their cloud-based AI platform, "City Brain", integrates and analyses vast amounts of data from traffic cameras, public transport systems and other environmental monitors. It then feeds back into live traffic control and issue management systems across all transport types, to smooth conditions as best as possible and respond to unforeseen incidents. 

The system significantly increases the efficiency of efficiency of public infrastructure monitoring and response times. Hangzhou, Ali's home city has already experienced a 15% improvement in traffic flow and 92% accuracy in the calculation of traffic violations across the 80,000 connected intersections.

The system is now being rolled out in Macau and Kuala Lumpur, cities with some of the highest percentages of vehicle ownership in the world. 

Watch a video on the Hangzhou implementation here, and read about the launch in KL here.

As population growth and urbanisation continue to increase, in what other ways can artificial intelligence reduce the burden on public infrastructure?

China's Pollution Problem


While traffic might be crippling Asia, pollution is their much larger problem. China in particular have taken an aggressive stance in their pursuit of renewable energy sources to reduce their reliance upon oil, coal and gas. Understandable, considering the pollution created by those energy sources contributed to over 366,000 Chinese deaths in 2013 alone.

China has just completed construction of the world's largest floating solar farm, ironically enough in a large lake created by the collapse and flooding of a large coal mine. With 166,000 panels and total capacity of 40 megawatts, the farm is capable of powering 15,000 homes.

China remains the world's largest polluter, consuming half of the world's coal, and it will be a long transition from their past reliance on carbon intensive industries, however it's promising to see Chinese government and industry investing heavily in the infrastructure and innovation to support a greener future. Not only will th

Read an in-depth expose here. 

How else can we reduce our reliance upon

Big Data, Big Secrets


In a very well publicised technological blunder (although not one of their own fault), it seems that fitness app Strava have accidentally revealed highly classified information about a number of secret military bases around the world. 

The app, which tracks fitness activity and routes, recently released their explorable "Global Heatmap", a collation of all of the activity on their network across the globe that could be explored by the user. 

Eagle eyed observers noticed pockets of high activity in what were otherwise quiet areas of countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. These areas were in fact military bases and the map was revealing classified (and quite detailed) information about supply routes, layouts and access points. 

Get the details here.

Although innocent in nature, this incident raises some extremely valid questions around the potential side effects and ill uses of the vast amount of data now being captured by our connected devices.