HLPF 2018 Side-Event: Leveraging Frontier Technologies for Sustainable Development


This High Level Political Forum side-event addressed the current and future implementations of technology as nations seek to develop ‘smart’ cities and societies.

Singapore employs computer simulations of wind patterns and sun radiation on a visual 3D terrain backdrop to determine the most energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing configurations for public housing estates. They superimpose interactive simulations of humans and weather conditions to determine potential barriers for the handicapped, the elderly, cyclists and pedestrians. The state also employs a network of energy and water consumption sensors to better conserve and distribute resources. Kala Fleming from IBM suggested that data produced by such networks could be fed into artificial intelligence algorithms to determine usage patterns, thus allowing for further minimising of resource wastage. The urgency to utilise technology to meet the SDG’s is not prevalent enough, with cities such as Singapore, New York and San Francisco attempting to illustrate that to build a ‘smart’ city, one must know what is happening in that city first. These signify how data ‘mining’, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) can be utilised to surpass the sustainability development goals in ways unthought-of until today.

Training the elderly to utilise internet-based public services in ‘smart’ cities is an important factor in urban development. To facilitate technology deployment and adoption rates, platforms to increase public and private sector cooperation, particularly with the academic and technology sectors, should be established. A common arresting factor is to technology deployment is outdated regulation. Thus, a greater emphasis must be put on rapid regulation adaptation. Finally, with 61% of the world’s population employed within the informal economy, the deployment of ‘smart’ cities must attempt to include the variouscivilian sectors.

Date / Location: 9th July 2018, 18:30-20:00, Conference Room 4, UNHQ, NY, USA

HE Burhan Gafoor (The new Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations)
Norma Munguía Aldaraca, Martha Chen (Senior Advisor and Co-founder of Wiego)
Purnima Kapur (Executive Director Of City Planning As Part Of Agency Reorganization)
Emily Mohohlo (Know Your City Representative)
Kala Fleming (Innovation adviser to AI team of IBM Watson)
Jonathan Reichental (Chief Information Officer of CIO of Palo Alto)

Author: WIT Representative, Farri Gaba

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