One of the great challenges of the 21st century is how to leverage technology to solve a variety of problems that accompany the global trend toward urbanization. In cities everywhere, increasing population density strains physical systems and resources. Individual systems have been developed to collect and manage data for each of functional unit. When critical information cannot be shared across critical services, managers often cannot anticipate safety issues or opportunities to optimize services.
The promise of cognitive computing is to enable metropolitan areas to take advantage of data to evolve and become smarter, and deal with expected and unanticipated events effectively. The objective, therefore, is to learn from experience and patterns of data to improve the way cities function over time. This chapter reviews the problems confronting cities and demonstrates how cognitive computing has the potential to transform the way cities operate.
How Cities Have Operated
A city is more than the roads, buildings, bridges, parks, and even people found within its borders. Cities around the world have evolved in a similar way for centuries—agencies are created to provide services to the population in response to changing conditions and technologies. These agencies justify their existence based on their ability to collect the right data and manage that data to support their constituents. For example, population density ...