How emerging technology will shape New York City's future

NYC's CTO Miguel Gamino explains why major technology innovations from drones to AI to blockchain will significantly impact how New Yorkers work, live, and play.

This is the final interview in a series of videos with New York's CTO Miguel Gamino. The other videos may be found here:

TechRepublic met with New York's CTO Miguel Gamino to discuss the NYCx program, and how emerging technologies such as blockchain, drones, and APIs snap together with NYCx.

You can watch the video above, or read the transcript below.

Gamino: One thing that I've started to really think a lot about is the change that we're going to experience in the interface. I think, the way that people interact with technology or interact with things through technology is going to change. We've seen a lot of completions about blockchain as an underlying technology to facilitate some of the information control, but I think the way people are going to feel it is going to be really important. Things like Alexa, and Siri, et cetera, the idea that you could talk to your apartment.

SEE: IT leader's guide to the rise of smart cities, volume 2 (Tech Pro Research)

We're still in the mode where we still perceive the interaction with this little speaker sitting on the desk, so we're still in the infancy of the change. We see ourselves as talking to Alexa that is somehow magically turning the lights on and off in my apartment or something like that. I think that's going to become less and less physical. You're going to just begin to interact with things in different ways. I've seen some great technology around IGAZE, and voice control, so I think the interface is going to be really changing very significantly in a short period of time, that gives us the opportunity to think very differently about the user experience.

A lot of conversations around user centric design and all those sorts of things. We're going to have the opportunity to really shift the way we think about how people experience our service delivery because we're going to have this collection of tools that are going to weave together to change just the way we experience it all together. Things like drones, and blockchain, and artificial intelligence, and machine learning they're all going to be woven together at the end of the day to positively impact that user experience.

AI, in of itself, isn't something you and I put our finger on and touch most of the time, but if we experience a different outcome or a different user experience in the process of seeking an outcome that's influenced by AI, machine learning, and voice-recognition, and eye-gaze recognition, and all those sorts of things, that's how we're going to see it actually manifest.

Patterson: Broadly when we look at the city of New York, where is technology in five years and what does success for NYCx look like?

Gamino: I think, a lot of these digital transformation opportunities are going to happen over the next five years. What I want to talk about for a minute is that it's really important that we ensure that everybody has access to participate in it. Everything we're talking about, digital transformation, smart cities, outcomes, NYCx surfacing these great digital approaches to real world problems, those are all really important. I don't want to lose sight of the fact that we have to make sure that while that happens over the next five years we have to make sure that we don't lose sight of ensuring broadband for everyone, so that everyone has the ability to participate in that future.

I'll answer your question a little differently, which is I'm very bullish on what that future's going to look like especially for people, like me, who have the blessing of the ability to participate today. I have access to broadband, I have data plans on my phone, I have the blessing of being able to afford those access services. We need to make sure that everyone has the ability to participate if we really want to accomplish our fairness goals, if we really want to strengthen the community through technology, it's got to be something that's built for everybody, which is why we're focused on our 'make tech work for all people' mantra.

SEE: Digital transformation: A CXO's guide (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

As we make progress in the classroom, which I think will happen over the next five years, as we make progress in economic development, entrepreneurship, workforce, all of these sorts of things are going to progress, we want to make sure that every student in that classroom of the future, when they go home, has equal ability to do their homework because they have the same access to the internet, and the wealth of resources that are no longer luxuries on the other end of that broadband connection. It's just to be a well-informed voter, to be a well-equipped students, to be a well-equipped employee you have to have access to what's on the other side of an internet connection these days, it's just undeniable.

I think, all those things happening over the next five years are going to be magnificently great in terms of strengthening and building the community if we ensure that everybody has access along the way.

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Image: iStock/TraceRouda

About Dan Patterson

Dan is a Senior Writer for TechRepublic. He covers cybersecurity and the intersection of technology, politics and government.

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