In the midst of what is termed the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the world has seen unprecedented advances that have come together to impact everyday life like never before. The convergence of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and many related innovations in the past five years has brought about profound change and disruption to countries, industries and the people who are part of them. In many ways, the future looks bright. Autonomous cars promise more efficient, safer travel on the roads. A connected city gives citizens up-to-date information of changes in train schedules, allows them to check in at an airport without fuss and enjoy many e-services that they increasingly depend on. Yet, safety and security are still at the heart of everyday life in urban societies. At a time when city living is promising to be safer, more pleasant, things could change in an instant with the spectre of terrorist attacks. Meshed in with this are the increasing scourge of cyber threats, which target anything from critical infrastructure such as dams to personal computers. The senseless bomb attack in a concert in Manchester in May 2017 killed scores of innocent victims, some of them children. Just weeks before that, an unrelated malware had spread globally on vulnerable computers and locked out users at home, in offices and even at hospitals. They are reminders that the world continues to face severe threats. Since the terrible tragedy of September 11, 2001, the concept of safety has never been far from the priorities of city life. Technologies have to work together to empower city planners, so they can protect citizens and enhance their quality of life.
This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat.