How building a smart city means building a city’s climate resilience?

Recently a heavy rainstorm broke out in Western Japan, bringing serious landslides and flooding, resulting in one of the worst climate disasters in decades. While it is vital to carry out remedial measures, preventive ones are just as critical. This caused me to reflect on a city’s resilience to climate change and how a city can be smartened up against sudden climate catastrophes.

A smart city can be the key to boosting up a city’s resilience against natural hazards. A smart city is one that adopts information and communication technology (ICT) for a better management of urban resources to achieve a higher quality of life and work efficiency. If a city is smart enough, it should be resilient to sudden climate disasters and emergencies. For example, Internet of Things (IoTs) sensors and big data analysis can be adopted to establish monitoring and alarm systems against many types of climate hazards, like earthquakes, flooding, storms, etc. Such an alarm system can be adopted in the form of a mobile app, to be easily and widely accessible to the public. Emergency navigation can be provided on the same system to guide people to safe places as well.

While it is important to build a city’s climate resilience, it is essential to make the city eco-friendly to cut down carbon emissions to fight against climate change in the first place. Copenhagen for instance, set a role model in transiting to a zero carbon economy by implementing a climate plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025. This shows that a smart city does not simply folster climate resilience but can even combat climate change!

Hopefully in the future technologies and innovations can be adopted to solve many more urban problems and make life happier.


近期日本西部暴雨成災,造成嚴重山泥傾瀉和水浸,是近幾十年來最嚴峻的暴雨。救災行動固然重要,但未雨綢繆的預防工作亦必不可少。是次水災讓我反思到城市適應氣候變化的能力的重要性,以及發展智慧城市(Smart City)能如何提升城市面對氣候變化的抵抗力,減輕天災禍害的影響。

智慧城市以資訊及通訊科技(Information and Communications Technology)來管理城市和城市資源,以提高生活質素和工作效率。建立智慧城市同時有助增強城市抵禦氣候變化的能力。一個有足夠「智慧」的智慧城市足以抵抗突發的氣候災禍和緊急狀況,例如,利用物聯網(Internet of Things)感測器和大數據(Big Data)分析技術針對各類氣候災害如地震、水浸、風災等建立監察和警報系統,以手機程式的形式供大眾使用。系統亦可包括緊急路線導航的功能來引導民眾疏散至安全地方。



Research reveals 1 in 4 of the Hong Kong workforce will lose jobs to artificial intelligence within 20 years

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic throughout the world over recent years. There have been lots of studies and discussions over how AI can substitute human workforce in so many positions and domains. Three days ago the One Country Two Systems Research Institute published a study on the impacts AI will cause to the Hong Kong market and workforce in the near future.

The study was conducted by Dr. Paul Duckworth with machine learning, which revealed that in the next 10 to 20 years, around 1 million population in Hong Kong will be threatened by 70% chances of being replaced by AI technologies. The affected population will constitute more than one fourth of the total workforce. The study further mentions policies such as universal basic income, robot tax, capital ownership over machines, etc. in better safeguarding the people in employment against AI. However Hong Kong has not developed any comprehensive development strategy concerning AI.

It is noteworthy that the study points out 3 weaknesses of the Hong Kong market against AI to invite more discussions. First, the 4 pillar industries in Hong Kong, namely finance, tourism, trade and logistics, and professional services, while making jobs for almost half of the workforce, are threatened by a rather high risk of being replaced by AI. Second, education on science and mathematics is rather weak, unable to nurture AI talents of the future. Third, workforce engaged in continuous education is low, making them susceptible to risks imposed by advanced technologies.

AI advancement and adoption are inevitable. Hong Kong has stepped up efforts in developing the innovation sector over recent years. For example, the 2018-19 Hong Kong Budget reserves 10 billion HKD alongside a series of initiatives to bolster innovation technology in Hong Kong. There are also supportive incubators for technology startups, such as Science Park and Cyberport that supply funding and help.

However, while help to IT companies has been strengthened, it should be just as vital to prepare citizens for the AI era. It is critical for citizens to understand what AI is capable of, and how AI can be of use to their life and jobs, in order to embrace AI in different domains instead of fearing it. STEM education, namely the curriculum on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, has already been proactively launched across Hong Kong primary and secondary schools to cultivate technology interests and talents in young generations. But it is more difficult for adults to adapt to innovation, so more courses on AI and related areas should be provided to citizens with financial assistance to help them get adapted to AI adoption. A positive and healthy mindset toward AI encourages better transits on the part of citizens, and also allows for a culture conducive to creation and innovation with AI.


近年人工智能(Artificial Intelligence)造成熱議,有關人工智能的研究和討論除了關注其應用外,更多圍繞技術如何在多個工種和範疇取代人類,造成大量失業。兩天前一國兩制研究中心發表一份「人工智能對香港就業市場的衝擊及如何迎接人工智能時代」的研究報告,分析人工智能在未來十至二十年對香港市場勞動力的影響。

研究由保羅·德沃夫博士(Dr. Paul Duckworth)以機械學習(Machine Learning)方式進行,結果顯示在未來十至二十年,香港約一百萬人在工作上面對70%的機會被人工智能取代,被影響人口多於整體勞動人口的四分一。研究亦提及數項保障市民的措施,如全民基本收入、機械人稅、機械資本所有權等等。然而香港現時尚未有任何全面的與人工智能相關的發展策略。