By Eilif Trondsen, PhD, Chair of Special Interest Group on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning
A few weeks back, I got an unusual request. A Norwegian friend, who brings groups of professionals to Silicon Valley, for “educational and inspirational tours” (or perhaps what some of us, who frequently get invitations to speak to such groups, refer to as “techno tourism”) asked me to speak on the topic of “smart cities and learning.”
Over the last half a dozen years or more, I have seen lots of articles on “smart cities” as growing number of technology providers—including Cisco, IBM, Oracle and many others—as well as big data, sensors and analytics providers, and, of course, anyone doing urban design and planning, are active players in the business of “smart cities.” And since no city wants to be a “dumb city”, growing number of cities around the world are now trying to figure out how to leverage emerging tech (especially AI, machine learning, the latest sensor tech, software analytics, etc) to make cities run more smoothly and become more livable and inviting for current and future residents.
But what intrigued me about my friend’s request was not the “smart city” part but the learning part, as the intersection of learning and tech is what I have spent many years exploring and trying to understand—and still trying to figure out! The combination of smart cities and learning, in particular, got me thinking and I took this as a challenge and therefore agreed to speak to the 25-strong group of visitors from Oslo.