Representing the Middle East and Dubai, educator, entrepreneur and engineer Dr. Malek Yamani added critical thoughts to the discussion by connecting Smart Cities and the anthropological shifts that might be taking place as we evolve with them. “Smart cities are moving us from a world of knowledge to a world of information” Yamani stressed. And as Steve Schneider highlighted, Yamani also sees education and collaboration as a key.
“I believe that it's time for all entities, private entities and public entities to come together to make sure that we, the humans, are at least from a thinking perspective ahead of the technology and not the other way around.” He reflected that an ability to scrutinize and be empowered by information has declined as the quality of life goes up in the developed world. However, Yamani also is convinced that through knowledge sharing mankind can plan and create our future cities. Humans might be able to overcome the challenges that come with living in the hyper-efficient, hyper-convenient worlds of the future, he added. Yamani went on to describe how Middle Eastern countries like Oman are eager to take bold strides in updating their transport systems, and, as we’ve seen is the case in Europe, that traffic safety is paramount.
The lack of legacy and the openness to change were the biggest advantages of the Middle East. “When you come back to for example Muscat, Kuwait City, Dubai or Abu Dhabi after an absence of let's say, three, four, five or six months, you will see a completely different city. New roads, new streetlights, and so many other new things.” Change comes easy in the Middle East, so Yamani. And it is again, the humans that shaped this development.