This morning I have participated at Moscow Urban Forum in a panel discussion with prominent industry leaders and with representatives of Moscow City Government to answer questions such as how to become a truly startup oriented, inclusive tech city. The question posed to me was how entrepreneurs can be attracted to create sustainable tech solutions for cities? What will make them to jump?
Here I give the essence of my expressed standpoint.
I was struck by reading 2 facts this week. I just simply cannot divert my attention from it.
Firstly, Google fine under EU antitrust law is now acclaimed for 2,4 b EUR because of their consciously taken monopolistic situation, abusing their search engine dominance. The investigation took up not less then 7 yearsfor the EU. When we Google search –logically, as good entrepreneurs- they make sites visible that are paid by Google Ads, and not representing results of other search engines. According to the media, this giant did not even bother to make friends at the EU such as Apple did and Intel couple of years ago. The fine is amounting less than 3% of Google’s total turnover only in 2016. So why should they care? What is worrying is not Google. The world around.
Citizens are careless and unbiased users of Google services in and out all over, including me too. What is lacking is ‘sense of curiosity’ to understand the impact of search engines. If we would not take the results so much granted that would be a huge improvement. We need to decode Internet providers’ behaviour and at least accept the fact that we are being spied on our search behaviour and are connected merciless for the sake of commerce to Google Ad powered web-sellers. Knowing this small fact would make the world so much more better and more transparent. Stay critical about ‘giants, corporate providers of infrastructure’, this was my number one message to the Government of Moscow. Reveal facts about the Google fine, about Google’s search engine limitations. Not more than that is needed in this stage.
Secondly, an utterly smart cyberattack ‘NotPetya’ was carried out 27th June, mainly focussed on Ukraine but with strong side effects globally. The software, fully automated malware with destructive potential, was partly copied from NSA from the States. Making the largest economic damage in a shortest possible timeframe. TNT, TMF in the Netherlands could not fulfil properly packages deliveries for 2 days as their backend system was cyber attacked. The business concept, you can call it crime, is genius. You get unlocked if you buy the ‘decoder’ software for 3.000 bitcoins (300 USD). If you want to buy the whole hacking cyber software (DIY kit) it is a bit more investment 66.600 USD. It is the most softly and invisibly committed crime, almost impossible to track.
Now back to the city innovation context, especially here in Moscow.
When all these above mentioned facts have happened, almost at the very same time, we are still in the era of discussing smart platforms that would apparently ‘distribute intelligence’, dashboards developed by smart city sellers based on their supply driven attitude to commercialise rapidly.
My argument is here for cities if you really really but really care to be smart you don’t buy now those shiny smart city aggregator platforms that citizens are not asking for, but you do your best to get at least responsive, predictive to cyberattacks and how to deal with Internet giants. Train and inform citizens and entrepreneurs about it.
Being responsive and context aware is the most charitable new qualitythat I would like to advocate and give to all city mayors.
Actually we are blessed to have Google trial and NotPetya virus around in the very same week. It is an unconventional deep learning hopefully. To trigger ‘smart city agents’ to govern cities more in a sensitive, context aware way and procuring less ‘gadgets’ for the time being.
Look forward to dive into the next days of Moscow Urban Forum discussing the huge opportunities delivered by self driving cars, drones and all combined in a Brave New World. All super exciting and cannot wait to try such a device, but don’t forget the limitless creativity of cyber attackers and Internet giants.
Warm greets from Moscow.
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