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Radka Vladyková: We must control technologies, rather than the other way around!

The URBIS SMART CITY FAIR was launched on Wednesday 2 June, and this year it is being held in an exceptional way – online. It features an exhibition part and a conference focusing on current topics that stir the world of smart solutions for cities.

The event was also opened directly from the virtual studio in Brno by Radka Vladyková, Executive Director of the Union of Towns and Municipalities of the Czech Republic. We used this occasion, to ask her several questions.

Do you think that life in cities will change after once the covid pandemic is over?

Covid has made us move on, and the world as we knew in the pre-covid period is pretty unlikely to return. People got used to working more from home, they are better oriented in the online environment, but on the other hand they lack social contacts! It will definitely get balanced in a way or another, but it has greatly accelerated the digital age, so we'll move more online, but paradoxically enough, it could bring people closer again. Another thing that is being addressed more these days is cyber security. We will have to get used to the fact that the online environment is not completely safe, that this is a fragile platform, unfortunately also suitable for attacks and various forms of abuse. Therefore, it will be important to cultivate digital skills in children from an early age. We will simply have to learn to live in this environment with all its positives and negatives.

What are the current trends in smart city technologies?

Parking systems, traffic management or cars without a driver, autonomous transport, are interesting and trendy these days. These are all new and great opportunities. But there are also threats, because the human factor is still important. If we have to assume responsibility for our behaviour, then we must fully trust technology, but in such a case, we are not responsible for what the technology can do. This means that the final human consideration and decision-making should remain with us forever. There must be a correct balance in order to make technology our tool, our instrument, but we must be the ones who control it. I'll give you an example – an automatic washing machine. In the past, women had to stand at the mound and spend all Sunday doing the laundry, but we have a washing machine and we can spend the time saved thanks to it in a different, more pleasant way. For example, with our parents or children.

You say that we must control technologies, rather than the other way around...

Exactly! At one conference, colleagues from the Netherlands showed us a robot that goes to talk with elderly people in a retirement home. At that time, I strongly opposed it. I see it completely the other way around. I want the robot to wash the dishes for me, clean up, and hang the laundry so I can go home to talk to my grandparents. I don't want robots to play with my kids or talk to my mum. Robots are supposed to make my work easier, time so that I can dedicate myself to children, family and friends. I see the future in this!

How do you see the significance of such conventions as Urbis?

The importance of Urbis is clear: it shows us how to implement intelligent and innovative solutions for the entire Czech Republic, and how to use them so that they benefit all people and do not become a problem. Although Urbis is running online this year, it still brings us valuable information and mutual exchange of information on what has happened in the world of new technologies and how it works.


Date: 2 Jun 2021 15:03:00

Concurrently with


4. - 6.6. 2024

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