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GLOBAL GOALS S02E03: Technology and Cities

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Information and telecommunications infrastructure is our most recent urban amenity. Today, wireless voice, data and Internet connectivity and increasingly digital transmission are enabling new types of economic and community interaction. In this episode, we discuss how information and communications technology (ICT) can shape the urban environment, and how cities can create opportunities for ICT.

To quote Dr Maria Lema, the ‘Smart City’ should be one which “improves efficiency and provides a better quality of life for all citizens.” For this, we need to address challenges, from a lack of standardisation and processes, to lagging infrastructure and domineering telecoms providers, to technology negatively impacting the climate. Digital infrastructure and technologies must be accessible and affordable if they are to create employment opportunities, improve quality of life, and manage resources for all.

Data is what makes a city smart. It helps optimise - and even democratise - services such as transport and healthcare. 5G, with its lower cost of ownership, is changing the way cities operate. A local authority can provide services without relying on traditional network operators. Through artificial intelligence, as Briana Brownell states, there could be fundamental changes in how we live our lives from birth, but citizens must be engaged so that they are able to have agency. This is starting to change. In all these areas, policy and financing need to be strategic, and mindful of the contexts in which the technology operates.

In summary, when deployed well, ICT enables cities to make judicious use of the planet’s resources and creates new, equitable social and economic openings and interactions.


Author of A Circular Economy Handbook, Consultant and Host of the Circular Economy Podcast Catherine Weetman is an international speaker, workshop facilitator, coach, consultant and host of the Circular Economy Podcast. She founded Rethink Solutions to help businesses, social enterprises and community groups to use circular economy approaches to build a better world. Catherine's award-winning book, A Circular Economy Handbook, explains the what, why and how of the circular economy. The second edition, due out in November 2020, includes a new chapter on packaging, over 100 new examples, and many more updates. Catherine qualified as an Industrial Engineer and began her career in garment manufacturing, before moving onto logistics solution design, project management, business intelligence and supply chain consulting, including senior roles with Tesco, Kellogg's and DHL Supply Chain. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport,  a Fellow of The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), a university lecturer and has a Master's Degree from Cranfield University. She supports the Circular Economy Club as a mentor and Chapter lead for the Tees Valley, in the UK.



Weaver Labs

With a PhD in Telecoms, Maria is the Co-Founder of Weaver Labs, a Tech Start-up innovating in the telecoms industry. After a short life as a researcher, she joined the Team at King's College London to work at the 5G Tactile Internet Lab powered by Ericsson. I led projects and teams working on connectivity solutions to real-life business problems: from transmitting the sense of touch to doctors while teleoperating, to connecting different musicians around the world to give the audience a different concert experience. She is also an ambassador of Wagora, a Women in Tech society.

Founder and Creative Director, Biomimicry Innovation Lab  Richard loves to explore fresh ideas and concepts and is ever curious about the environment around him. He is an award-winning designer and has worked worldwide in cities, manufacturing, food systems and product design. Richard’s passion is to develop innovation models to reduce costs and improve efficiency and resilience in the design and manufacturing process. He taught at some of the top design schools in the world: from The Royal College of Art (UK); The Pratt Institute (USA); Vellore Institute of Technology (India); and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (Hungary). Richard is also the founder of the non-profit Biomimicry UK, an equine technology startup, Smart Stable Limited, whilst sitting on several advisory boards. He combines design work with research development via the Design Society and the ISO Standards in Biomimetics.



Pure Strategy Inc.

Briana Brownell is a data scientist turned tech entrepreneur, investor, futurist and innovator. Widely considered a visionary technologist, she is a frequent keynote speaker, expert and author, known for making highly technical topics accessible to non-experts, as well as leading a thoughtful technical discussion on the science behind AI.

Brownell is founder and CEO of Pure Strategy Inc., a technology company whose leading edge Automated Neural Intelligence Engine (ANIE) combines natural language processing, machine learning, and neural networks to give organizations the insights needed to make decisions confidently.


For this episode we will be supporting ELEVEN CAMPAIGN by donating £100 for Every 100 Listeners which will allow :

  • 100 packages of food, 1 educational workshop & 10 footballs

Eleven Campaign is an UK-based international non-profit organization that uses the unifying power of sport, to celebrate diversity, promote equality, cross-cultural collaboration and youth development.


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