SCP 112 Putting data in the hands of people, with Flora Salim

In this episode, Zoe has a fantastic chat to Dr. Flora Salim, Associate Professor at the School of Computer Science and Information Technology, RMIT University. She obtained her PhD in Computer Science from Monash University. Her research areas are mobile and pervasive computing, urban computing, activity and behaviour recognition, and applied data mining and machine learning for ambient intelligence. Flora shares with us how she sees Australia embracing Smart Community concepts, as well as some of the projects she’s working on right now, including a foot traffic prediction app in Melbourne and a tool to help residents and tourists plan their BBQs in public parks. Zoe and Flora discuss change management and better integrating across disciplines, governments and industries. They finish their conversation discussing the emerging trend of the good things happening because of AI, the need for choice and control when it comes to our data, and the concept of algorithmic governance. As always, we hope you enjoyed listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it!

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

– Flora’s background in computer science and her passion for understanding human behaviour

– What sparked her interest in the Smart City space

– What a Smart Community means to her and why she believes it’s important

– How Flora sees Australia embracing Smart Community concepts

– The projects Flora is working on right now, including a foot traffic prediction app in Melbourne and a tool to help residents and tourists plan their BBQs in public parks

– Change management and better integration across disciplines, governments and industries

– The emerging trend of all the good things happening because of AI

– Algorithmic governance and the need for choice and control when it comes to our data

Quotes:

“My passion is really about understanding the patterns of human behaviours, activities and movements in order to understand how we can improve the efficiency of operations as well as the quality of life.”

“I think the main difference here is with a Smart Community, you have the humans in the loop. When you think about Smart Cities, you’re thinking about [technology]…it’s all to do with efficiency. But where are the human users, where are the citizens in that?”

“It’s to do with behaviour. We’re dealing with people who are used to doing things a certain way. It’s not going to be easy when you want to apply this kind of change on a community level.”

“A lot of people are talking about AI taking away their jobs. People are afraid of AI, but there are also emerging trends on AI for good, and people, the media are not talking about these enough.”

“For me to trust you, I need to know you, I need to build this relationship with you. You need to explain things to me. And the same thing [with AI]. For me to trust a certain algorithm, the algorithm needs to be more open and transparent and to explain what’s going on.”

Connect: 

Connect with Flora via LinkedIn and on Twitter @florsalim

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

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