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UN to partner with Alibaba on urban planning: official

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-05-26 23:36
View of the Beijing headquarters building of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group in Beijing, China, Oct 14, 2018. [Photo/IC]

NAIROBI - The UN plans to partner with Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd to use artificial intelligence to boost urban planning, an official said on Sunday.

Marco Kamiya, head of urban economy and finance branch of the UN-Habitat, said that the initiative will begin in China later this year.

"Once the use of artificial intelligence in urban planning has been consolidated in China, it then will be rolled out to the rest of the world," Kamiya said during the Business Leaders Dialogue ahead of the First Session of the UN-Habitat Assembly.

The first UN Habitat Assembly, which will kick off on Monday, will bring together over 3,000 delegates from the UN members states to promote the sustainability cities.

Kamiya noted that the partnership with Alibaba will also include a collaboration with China Academy of Urban Planning and Design which is part of China's Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

Kamiya observed that the artificial intelligent project will also be rolled out to African cities to enable them to manage their rapidly growing urban centers.

According to the UN-Habitat official, artificial intelligence could be used to assist cities to ensure that both motorized and non-motorized transport are sustainable and do not contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases.

Kamiya observed that through the use of modern technology, urban centers can improve the quality of life of its residents.

"All urban activities ranging from street lights to pedestrian walk ways can benefit from artificial intelligence," he added.

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