Big data and AI have the potential to transform policymaking in cities. What once took years to see how a given policy was affecting a city, it’s becoming increasingly possible to learn in real time on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood, or even block-by-block, basis. Harvard economist Ed Glaeser and his co-authors recently demonstrated how Google Street View, combined with computer vision, can reliably predict things like income and crime down to the city block. But in order to take advantage of this transformative technology, government will have to transform itself to be more adaptive and nimble.
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