AEF 2018: Urbanization on Earth will reach 70 % by 2030

Urbanization on Earth is expected to reach 70 per cent by 2030 due to increasing number of cities in the world. Famous American expert, Anthony Townsend who is a specialist in the field of future cities and information technologies shared the forecast at the Astana Economic Forum. According to Townsend, the urban development rate is accelerating. The rapid growth of cities presents a number of global challenges such as climate change, international migration, adequate housing and crime. However, the smart city concept brings change to urbanization whereby cities can become safer and more comfortable to live in. Based on the smart city concept, latest technologies need to be introduced in order to improve existing solutions. Townsend also noted another important megatrend – the world’s movement towards clean energy, which was announced by Kazakh President, Nursultan Nazarbayev at the forum.

ANTHONY TOWNSEND, EXPERT ON FUTURE OF CITIES, AUTHOR:

 - Kazakhstan is at the perfect point in its development to start to embrace these solutions. So it can only make the existing investment more valuable and more effective. I think smart cities are 100 per cent about sustainability. Cities are the best toll we have for sustainability. They are more efficient than any other kind of community. But they are growing faster than they ever have in history. And that’s one of the core values of the smart city movement.

According to futurologist and entrepreneur David Goldsmith, a megatrend such as the transformation of the global labor market plays a great role for the future of mankind. In the upcoming years, robotic systems can replace 80 per cent of manual labor. According to the expert, the technological revolution will simplify the life of people, but now it is necessary to think about the management of new technologies. The forum participants concluded that all the risks should be taken into consideration and a smooth transition to new technology should be ensured.

DAVID GOLDSMITH, FUTUROLOGIST, BUSINESS STRATEGIST:

 - The challenges in today’s society we don’t know how artificial intelligence and robotics, 3D printing and synthetic engineering and machine learning will actually transform the future. Because we don’t know, we don’t know what the impact will be, for example, on the mining industry when you go from 60,000 employees down to 1500. That will happen in other industries, too.