Director of technology and digital innovation of Barcelona Francesca Bria opened his lecture conference In The City in Saint-Petersburg. In it she told how, under her leadership in Barcelona is becoming a smart city whose residents decide what data to provide to the authorities and what programs to implement, have access to all the information about the actions of the municipality, to remotely participate in decision-making and learn new digital skills.
Single living ecosystem
I’m going to talk about how important it is to think about the digital city or intelligent city, from the standpoint of public policy, from the point of view of what can make a city, municipality, local government.
But it is more important to think about how we can build a partnership with by the citizens, with industry, start-UPS, local ecosystem, business and educational environment institutions and research institutions. Need a single living ecosystem that really happened smart city. The government can not do it alone. It must be inclusive, participatory process. I’m going to talk about what we do in Barcelona that it really happened.
Before I start diving into the idea of smart cities, how we build our digital strategy in Barcelona, I want to say that we have a lot of ties with Moscow and with the “Arrow” about these studies. They come every year at the Smart City Expo in Barcelona, invited thousands of cities around the world. Many countries participate in this exhibition to learn from each other and find opportunities for cooperation. I believe that this is the value of cooperation between cities. Why is this region so important for the future.
Let me start with a little contextualisation of what we mean, speaking about the smart city. I studied Economics, worked for many years in the field of technology, digital innovation. Worked with multidisciplinary teams with economists, designers, technicians, and officials. There are slogans, brands we use, “smart city” is one of them, we are all talking about it. By using it, I have the water that we are indeed living in a period of deep changes, especially if we are talking about technological evolution, or even revolution, that we are doing now.
So I want to tell you about a new industrial revolution. We’re talking about it in Europe, calling it industry 4.0. Of course, was the first industrial revolution in the eighteenth century. Based it on steam and water engines. Then came the mass mechanical production. Then the revolution of the twentieth century. There was a rise in the automotive industry and the consumer society. The third industrial revolution included the information technology upgrade and automation of the merger of computerization of production, the emergence of personal computers.
We are now in what is called the fourth industrial revolution. That is, cyber-physical systems, integration of large technological and techno-economic trends which lead to the fusion of artificial intelligence, mass calculations, a new high-speed networks such as 5G and the Internet of things. This new ways of combining physical production with the help of atoms, bits, digital reality. It’s really an inspiring time because we see a radical change in key industries of our time.
Let’s think of automation, robotization of production, logistics, transport, environment, those sectors that require a lot of manpower, manual labor. These sectors soon radically change thanks to the technological revolution. At the same time we should not underestimate the fact that this technological revolution also has an impact on the officials and on the government and on society, and institutions with whom we live and work.
Therefore it is very important not just to believe that it is only technological, trends. No. This requires the participation of institutions, participation of citizens, workers, all of us, so that we understood what economic and social models that are waiting for us? Where are these technological changes? If we look at indigenous revolutions that happen, I’m sure the fact is that today we see many examples from different industries, which is the fourth industrial revolution.
For example, robotization and automation of production. Many economists are deeply studied in these sectors because it is the first industrial revolution, where will lose a huge number of jobs. Many experts say the hundreds of millions of jobs that will be changed in the next years worldwide. At the same time there will be new specialty. We may have to revise our social security system, which will change due to the technological revolution.
Public health, agriculture, cyber security
Of course, we see the use of these technologies, machine learning, including in health care, when the diagnosis is made on the basis of machine learning, when there is the generation of treatment programmes due to robotics. This will change healthcare. We see changes in agriculture, because now, remote drones and sensors in agriculture greatly increases the production efficiency. They provide insights and information to farmers.
Food production will change dramatically in the coming decades. We also see other trends, such as cybersecurity, the use there of artificial intelligence. We understand how even now cheating on national security issues. It is becoming more and more a key aspect, especially when we look at network sensors and Internet of things.
Again, do not forget about the penetration of 5G. Drones and machines that are running on autopilot, becoming more common. This especially applies to cities. We need to experiment in the cities, to understand what is going on with these technologies that increasingly permeate our social fabric. Of course, this affects our economy. And of course, our financial system. We can observe that the latest trends, if you look globally, the financial sector, are that we see a very strong, high level of inequality of distribution of wealth around the world.
We also see an increasing level of costs. Of course, we can actively, to introduce a large scale robotization, but as we are in this situation make sure that the quality of life and the situation on the labor market will not become worse? We see the emergence of new business models, I think that we are seeing in many sectors of the economy. We’re talking about the framework of capitalism. This is a new algorithmization institution. We see that all businesses are themselves converted to the platform. I’ve heard many economists talk about Uber’ization companies.
The power of tech giants
What happens when you see all these giant platforms, operating on the basis of the data? How they interact with the market, medicult supply and demand? They begin to be mediators in the social life of the people from the rental of your home before you move in transport, to education, all the basic services and needs of the people. All of these platforms intrude into these areas of human life. Given this considerable digital revolution, a radical change, we see some difficulties, especially if we are talking about those who make the decision at the state level. One of the key issues today is what it is. When we have large, very strong technical company, very strong players, can we somehow work with these giants that are holding the huge market potential?
From the point of view of capitalization in the world’s largest corporations, high-tech companies: Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook. It’s an American company. And of course, you see the Chinese large companies: Alibaba and Tenсent. They grow every year.
If we look at the list of the world’s largest high-tech companies, 10 years ago there would have been oil workers, pharmacists, gas companies. And now it’s a big technology companies. Their total market property is approximately 3 trillion U.S. dollars. And 1 trillion is their finances in offshore companies. All of this is spent on the payment of dividends and repurchase of shares. This means that we have a very powerful concentration of capital and power in the hands of tech giants. 80 percent of corporate wealth today is in the hands of 10 percent of the largest companies in the world.
Policy, at least in Europe, today, do not sleep peacefully at night, thinking about how we can tame the strength of technology companies, how we going to regulate? Use antitrust legislation to introduce some digital taxes, or we need to split them into small companies using antitrust approach?
Society black box
What can we do with all these questions? The protection of your privacy and liberal democracy — today is a very important topic in Europe and in the United States. I think, in Russia about it, too.
How do these companies monetize their research and all these companies, all of the digital economy? Many of these companies use our data to monetize their business models. That is, that the raw data is the raw material of the digital economy. Our data from mobile phones, smart city infrastructures, social networks — it’s all raw material for the new digital economy.
Of course, information about our health, financial information, extracted and monetized all of these companies. Data is the most important commodity, commodity resource in the near future, because they are necessary for the operation of artificial intelligence, which will lead economic growth in the near future.
Looking at the statistics, we see that machine learning will increase the return on investment in all sectors by 10 — 30 percent, at least, is high. It really is a huge economic potential, and it will open a new, critical industries, which operate on the basis of artificial intelligence.
I want to quote Vladimir Putin: “We often see politicians willing to work with private capital to develop artificial intelligence and to own the future.” This is what I can say again and again. You can read a lot of books, listen to many presentations of the economists who talk about the digital economy. This so-called data mining, data extractivism as though they produce oil, they also only produces data. Using these data, automatiseret processes and work.
It is clear that this world is not alarming message when automatiseret all. But actually inside this world of reporting, accountability, and transparency we cannot see. We’re talking about the company black box. The fact that artificial intelligence, machine learning is the technology that is used everywhere and by everyone. At the present time there are technologies, which invested in Google, Amazon. In this infrastructure they annually invest 10 to 20 billion U.S. dollars — the same amount that the government invests in these platforms. Despite the fact that there are ambitious plans, for example, in China. In artificial intelligence on an annual basis, invested over 150 billion US dollars. And we must also take this into account.
The struggle between the models of the US and China
Will touch on the ethical and social underpinnings of the applications of artificial intelligence. Now the European Commission’s expert group, which States that the algorithms are black box, the government must come to an end. This means that government officials and regulatory authorities should be able these technologies to learn, to explore, to be sent and prepared a report that was not racial or social discrimination against us, the users. That is, to avoid discrimination based on the field or sexuality, or something else.
Summing up the first part of my presentation I want to say that we are now seeing a huge opportunity in terms of digital transformation, the fourth technological order. But beyond that, we see a huge number of calls. These challenges relate to the huge market force, a large technology circle. In fact, a technological struggle between the model of silicon valley, the US and China, on the other hand, are creating their own tech giants and Champions. They rose on the wave of artificial intelligence, factory of the future. Strange Europe, the BRICS, Russia should pursue the same approach. We are now seeking to monopolize the digital economy to become more competitive, open to national governments can provide their digital sovereignty, to continue to develop a national digital strategy.
Cities as laboratories of the future
Talk in this context about the role of cities. Let’s see what role is given to them in this new technological digital revolution, and what they can do. There are some things that are not under the power of it, because the scale transformation and the amount of funds invested in it is huge. Society is changing and needs to be some initiative that comes from the bottom, from the cities.
In this initiative should get in touch or rasparallelivanija with what is happening on a more global level. I wrote the report together with Evgeny Morozov, who is called “Rethinking smart cities, the democratization of urban technologies.” We’re talking about what this revolution needs to be put at the service of people, must include everyone, to be inclusive, sustainable. We believe that the city must become a laboratory of the future, where we can test these more inclusive, more transparent approaches.
The mayor of Barcelona, Hell Cola, the mayor of Barcelona, the Guardian calls the most radical mayor in the world. The fact that she leads a democratic revolution in Barcelona. The heart of this revolution are precisely the citizens, the city itself, the people who live in the city. Before she got into government and she was elected mayor, she was an activist, worked in housing, in the field of affordable housing, led the campaign. In connection with the financial crisis and the problems that arise for the payment of mortgages, many people were driven out of their homes. Had to take the flag and carry it. Now she’s four years on the position of mayor.
She reinterprets a huge number of practices in town, sends them to more social channels. To do this, she called me, though I’m not from Barcelona, and do not katalanca. I’m from Italy, worked in London, the British innovation Agency Nesta. It is now one of the British funds. She asked me to come to Barcelona to work with the city, becoming head of the division of technological innovation, which she founded, thanks to its existing mandate.
The terms of reference from the mayor
The brief, terms of reference, which I received from the mayor, was as follows. She wanted data technology was to its people. Don’t start with technology goals. Don’t need to do anything for a technological breakthrough. Let’s start with identifying the needs of citizens. It seems to me that this TK was very interesting, and the brief was throwing me a challenge.
Based on this TK, I created the “digital Plan of Barcelona”. This five-year strategy, which is now actively being implemented in Barcelona. My role was to lead the digital transformation that took place in the city. This was the first pillar of our strategy.
How to use these technologies to transform government from the inside to change the approach to shopping how to change the provision of public services, digital services to the population? How to use data in particular the strategy according to the government was more efficient, open and collaborative?
As part of a plan for digital transformation in a smart city, we used technology in urban transport, air quality maintenance, water — all those things that are needed to make the city better breathing, better living. We also work with many local companies, start-UPS, SMEs, designers, and technology sectors, with the tech industry, with large and small companies, enterprises. Our task in this area is that even small companies were able to provide city services. Thus we are trying to develop the circular economy, a digital economy which is having a real impact at the local level.
And another pillar, which we think is very important. Is the provision of equal rights and opportunities in numbers. In English it’s called digital empowerment. We promote the direct participation, participatory democracy, promoting digital skills, digital training, which do not only in schools.
Collective intelligence for democracy
As I said, for us it is extremely important that we form and define a digital city, including in the work of the citizens. We call this “collective intelligence for democracy.” We want as well as in political decision-making, this collective intelligence has been used in implementation of urban projects. And Barcelona now leads one of the world’s largest experiments in participatory democracy. We want to define a city plan and implement a hybrid process: online and offline democracy. I’m talking about the mechanism more meaningful and effective than “midst a Facebook democracy”, which only allows you to look at all of the proposed solutions on the platform.
We created a digital platform called Decidim.Barcelona. It opensource free software. We invite the community, the community to continue working. We are traveling from one area to another, communicate with citizens, organize for them meetings. Loadable and visualize the decisions they make on this platform. Citizens can continue these suggestions to prioritize and vote for the best.
Currently we are involved in the preparation of the plan for Barcelona. It should be noted that this is a very bureaucratic process which takes place behind closed doors, and ordinary citizens do not participate in it. But now we have given them access, and 4 thousands of citizens participated actively in the preparation of this plan. 70 percent of all proposals, which are now discussing the government of the city, came from the citizens themselves.
Let’s look at the digital platform Decidim.Barcelona. On it the citizens of the proposed participatory planning process. We conduct 20 such participatory processes in parallel. For example, in relation to the mobility of workers, cultural policy and policy on climate change. Then aggregate all the solutions obtained in the framework of such meetings and then given the opportunity to vote for the best presented solution. (…)
Smart city — this is where we have more opportunities and connections, more sensors, smart things. Smart cities must start with technology. Instead start with a technology policy, we start with the actual urban social challenges, problems of the city. For us it is affordable housing, health care, sustainable mobility, energy aspect. We are constantly working on it. We want our city to be more efficient in terms of energy, the creation of large green areas, reducing CO2 emissions, fighting climate change. We visualize, we invite people and then ask them how we can use technology data to all of these issues are addressed better and more effectively.
How can we steer technology in a direction that will help the city and its residents? Will give a few examples of how to implement this approach. The fact that in Barcelona there is a private management company for renewable energy, by which we mean mostly solar power and wind power. We launched a participatory process to citizens, unions, cooperatives, could purchase a share of a municipal company and become part of the management structure of the organization.
Another very interesting project: Barcelona Superblock http://www.bcnecologia.net/en/conceptual-model/superblocks. I’m pretty sure that the architects or the planners heard about it. We have an ambitious plan, and we are trying to implement it, which blocked the through vehicular traffic in 16 blocks. Now cars can not get there, only to drive around.
What we do within these areas? We invite designers, planners, architects, and residents to create green space, to override the functionality that needs to saturate these neighborhoods. To decide which children’s playgrounds, businesses and companies need to be there? In areas which are exempt from the traffic, we returned 60 space public space. It is those spaces that we call the civil public. We just picked up and returned into the fabric of the city that was once occupied.
Let’s see how we solved different issues, again relying on this collective mind, on the advantages offered by these technologies. One of the challenges that we faced is the transformation of the government itself, the process of managing Barcelona administrative tasks. I am often asked how to invite people. Many say that there may be cultural differences. We the people civic engagement, seek to ensure that our government was more participatory. We have an internal digital revolution within the city administration: we have identified a digital code. This digital code includes agile (agile software), digital services, services.
Even in the approach to the development of new public services we use an open data strategy, published all the information, all decisions online. We are in the process of procurement of the technology according to certain standards. I’m sure that you don’t even know what a purchase. That’s what mainly engaged in the government: 80 per cent of the budgets of the various control structures is spent on purchases on state contracts. It is very important to change the policy of procurement to be more agile, more nimble, open to government money were spent not only on large companies, but fell into the hands of SMEs, start-UPS. So they could also participate in the state tenders could also participate in the development of public services.
Now all contracts all tenders of Barcelona are published online on the digital platform. We strive to ensure that the software used for free. And the code that we use, published on GitHub (the largest web hosting service for IT projects and their joint development) so that developer could collaboarate with citizens to develop new code and enter new applications. This is an ethical, sustainable and innovative public procurement process. (…)
Code and control over data in the hands of citizens
We specify in the contract that there is a certain sovereignty of data. This means that whichever company won the tender, they have to transfer all the data in machine-readable formats, that information, this code belonged to the citizens. This is a new policy that we are now actively trying to implement using OpenSRS solutions and open standards. Naturally, when such a transformation happens in the government.
What we need to do to the people were trained to turnover, the turnover to new people with new backgrounds? The new generation must be at the forefront of digital transformation. I know it sounds very strange. But in fact, even the bureaucrats can change much they can get.
Yet we do control the data, writing the strategy for sustainable work with them. This legislation is now actively deployed throughout Europe, called the GDPR, or “Act on data protection, EU”. We want control over the data remained in the hands of citizens. The fact that the data that we continue to produce now collected and stored by large companies such as Google, Amazon and so on. We want these data were distributed, spread, and their owners were men.
First of all, we strive to maintain privacy, security, so people themselves decided to leave these data in itself or something from them, they can reveal? Who they can send and on what terms, to the citizens themselves do not become guardians, curators of these data.
When we discuss this ambitious plan data management, he translates the question of the data is not in the scope of contracts that assign a large company. Rather, we start talking about the democratic contract, which is created by the citizens themselves. We call it “new data contracts”. Data sovereignty should remain in the hands of citizens.
We work with a large number of projects to initiate work with data more transparent. We always welcome the use of open data. We allocated to this budget, and it is open: everyone can see what we spend money, where we invest, what our priorities are. Also we have the infrastructure Bustia Etica, it uses the same technology as Wikipedia, to encrypt the system and to identify means of corruption. Thus, we can automatically determine instances of corruption in procurement, and immediately to punish the guilty officials.
We develop the infrastructure of the Internet of things in Barcelona. It is based on open standards. If the audience is techies, you know that you can just take all of these publicly available technologies, and implement them in your city.
The provision of the services
Within this infrastructure, we provide a lot of services. We also use them to monitor levels of noise, consumption of energy, water. We try to maximize the distribution of water in our city. Also it is a kind of urban laboratory. Startups can use this infrastructure to test new products and then use them in local businesses, industries. We are now trying to make more efficient garbage collection. We install sensors in the bins to maximize the route of the trucks that collect garbage from them. We also provide residents the opportunity to find Parking, so people have less to ride around the city in search of Parking spaces.
Of course, the IOT platform complemented by what we call City OS — operating system of the city. This is a huge pool of data platform to analyze data about Barcelona, which works on the basis of OpenStack and OpenSRS. We are now working with other cities so that they could use our model. This has allowed us to build a common standardised anthology, all the different datasets that we collected on the city, to machine learning could implement various artificial intelligence algorithms on these data using them.
We had to create a Department of city government to work with the data and data analysis. Now the team has about 40 people who answer directly to the mayor and me personally. They use the data simply to make the decision-making process more efficient. They help us to answer questions about arcelona at the highest level of urban planning and management.
One of the main issues of the future city is, who will control that data, big business, the state, or the citizens themselves? We are now conducting a lot of projects, trying to answer this question. For Barcelona it is very important to create prototypes of technologies that allow the citizens to control these data. The project, which we are very proud of, is called Decode. In the framework we use blockchain: added level to its information is encrypted, what is called encryption. We let users point, detailed control over their data, so they decide what to keep private and what to share and under what conditions. For example, if you want to share data about your health with doctors, but don’t want to give their insurers. You want to share with the city information about your move, but not with Uber.
You decide how and with whom to share your information. Also, we test this technology in some very specific projects, for example, is our democratic platform Dicidim.Barcelona. We are now integrating blockchain technology in the voting process, so it is possible to vote and referendums in digital form. We want to avoid what happened with Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, when was the stolen data about the huge number of users. Russia not to blame. Just had invented the technology of Facebook, and we understand that. We want to avoid this kind of problems and be sure that the data that we work with in Barcelona, transparent. So that citizens could see who they get to use them.
Another interesting project is the IoT date shares, that is, the ability to share data from the Internet of things. We work with a place called the Pub Lab. We have in Barcelona a large workshop, which helps us to install in houses sensors that measure air quality, noise level. Thus, we identify problems in a particular area. We integrate these data to the Sentilo platform, and then give people the ability to encrypt data of Internet of things and share them with different communities. Therefore, the data are under control. You share them with neighbors, but not with the city. Or you share with neighbors, and with the city authorities. You control your data the Internet of things.
We collect data, they move in streams, and all this is visualized in our dashboards. In fact, you can visualize only the data that you need by getting personalized information about what you can do with them, how to help others and yourself.
Here is the General scheme of a larger plan that we do in Barcelona, using the data as an element of urban infrastructure. Like it’s electric or water supply, or public transport. For us data is the same, is as utilities which are very useful in solving urban problems.
In fact, local industry, medium, small businesses and citizens should have access to this data to their base, together they can create effective solutions for public transport, education, utilities. It helps talented professionals to grow, to create new ways of working with the city of the future.
The innovation lab
Let me tell you about one innovative project that we’re launching right now. It’s such a Technopark, which is in many cities. But in Barcelona it is located in the heart of, this building in the port. Now there are thousands of startups. We work together with the municipality to help them to grow, create better services and attract them for investment.
One cool thing we just launched in Barcelona is an urban laboratory, UrbanLab. It’s an old factory, which many years ago was textile, but now turned into an industrial production cluster. The building is now rebuilt, updated, and now there is innovation lab. We test the approaches on the basis of calls. Barcelona can work with large companies and with startups simultaneously to solve major urban challenges. For example, how can we improve the situation with affordable housing, using new materials for building, how do we solve the problem of public transportation, how to build a circular economy.
The city has such problems and we understand them. So we are talking with citizens, and with startups and with large companies, which can help the municipality and city hall to solve these problems, creating new products and services. If we look at what happens in the space of this sharing economy, where all share with each other, we will see that this sort of economy upon request. And even see that many innovations have been limited. They were not maximized because there is a large, powerful companies such as Uber, Airbnb. I see that Russia has found a very clever way to work with Uber. We need to learn this in Europe. You have a local company just bought a Uber is a good decision.
But in Europe a lot of problems, because we cannot control companies like Apple, Airbnb. We see how they operate in the city. For example, increasing the rent is: people move out of the city centre, because it can no longer afford to rent a house there. We need to balance the benefits of technological innovation with their negative consequences. Must be able to regulate them, to create local alternatives, which will contribute to the creation of a model that has a more positive impact on the population, if we talk about the standards of the labor market, taxation and so on. We have created a platform of cooperatives, or cooperative platforms. On the one hand, the employees work for the company, on the other, are part of this platform. Thus their rights are indeed upheld.
The future of digital production
We have also thought about the future of digital production. In Barcelona we have a workshop FAB LAB, various workshops, working with Industry 4.0. They are engaged in automation, working with the future urban and digital production.
Now we have created a project called “District artisans.” It is part of a global movement called FAB City. Together we combine a variety of artists, artisans, designers, connecting them with large corporations, developing effective technologies and together they are developing a model for a sustainable future to work with renewable energy in order to consume more local resources to consume them more efficiently.
We are also testing 5G technology, working together with startups and small businesses to develop services for the city. It happens worldwide, where 5G technologies will be very important for the machines on autopilot, for health.
We, of course, could be nothing to create, if not worked with the entire population of the city. I believe that education is a key aspect of what we should do. Highlight the project that we developed in Barcelona. Is the creation of a FAB LAB, small workshop, open to public secondary schools. That is, children may acquire these new digital skills for writing code, programming, use of open platforms for computers. All children learn with elementary, middle school.
Now we are launching something called steam Barcelona — the steam engine. This program, which involves working not only with technology but also with the different humanitarian sectors and spheres of art. We are launching this program throughout Catalonia, and are talking about the era of automation. A work, jobs that exist today will disappear, so we need to teach people to work in the new digital future professions. We have also introduced a digital cryptocurrency B MINCOME to provide a basic income people.
We work with small companies and with people who are not working in the field of education that they receive minimum income that is paid in capovalle. This project is now working in one of the districts of Barcelona. Such experiments are vital to the city. In local experiments, small companies are more efficient than government, which can deploy many effective point experiments. But the city can implement them, to use digital technology to test whether a particular decision. If it is really effective, it can be used across the country.
The center of the digital revolution
I — a woman who became a leader of the digital transformation of Barcelona. And I believe that women in techsector is very small. Therefore, we must improve the situation in Barcelona. We are now in Barcelona to actively help the girls to learn to work in technology, so their work was seen to take up more important positions, receive equal wages. I believe that we need to turn the digital revolution to the feminist revolution that women really had opportunities for work, growth and development.
Barcelona have a lot of partners. The city cannot cope with the digitalization alone. They should work with research institutions, large companies, start-UPS, which is poured into energy in order that the city could implement their projects. In Barcelona we constantly Smart City World Expo, mobile conferences, congresses on the blockchain. We organize a lot of events, trying to create a strong local ecosystem, which will help to promote all those projects about which I told you about.
The last project on which I want briefly to mention is we have created a coalition of cities on digital rights, including the principles that they adapt. Started with Amsterdam and Barcelona, and now many cities want to join us. Protect digital human rights, we thus place it at the center of the digital revolution, innovative development of the future of any city.
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