Cosmo Tech co-founder and Executive Chairman and CEO of Cosmo Tech USA Michel Morvan was an invited speaker at the International Seminar of La Fabrique de la Cité in Lyon last week.

An initiative of the VINCI Group, La Fabrique de la Cité is a think tank promoting discussion and leadership on urban innovation. The think-tank’s website describes its unique “interdisciplinary approach” that “brings together thought leaders and international players to uncover good urban-development practices and put forward new ways of building and rebuilding cities.”

For Cosmo Tech’s Morvan, a recognised world expert in complex systems, the International Seminar was the perfect place to speak to other experts, government representatives, business leaders, and technology thought leaders about the need for augmented intelligence in negotiating the complex urban systems of the future.

“La Fabrique de la Cité is an think-tank that clearly understands the challenges facing cities today and in the near future,” explains Morvan. “The interconnections between different systems – social, economic, energy, environmental, transport, and more – that exist in the city mean that policy makers and planners need to adopt a holistic and systemic approach to ensure that they are making optimal decisions.”

Some Cosmo Tech applications are already clearly focused on urban centres, including the MIC multimodal transport application and the SEP (Smart Energy Planning) application. However, Cosmo Tech’s capacity to model and simulate any complex system means that its approach can be applied to the challenges of cities in a variety of domains, including emergent areas such as electric and autonomous vehicles. By adopting this complex systems approach, solutions to these challenges will emerge in a way that they cannot with alternative big data or artificial intelligence approaches.

“The best way to tackle a complex problem is not to break it down into smaller, more easily managed pieces. Doing so ignores the important interconnections between these pieces and the system effects that emerge when those interconnections generate their own impacts on the wider system,” explains Morvan.

“Taking a complex system apart until we find a piece of the problem we can solve means that only that piece is ever addressed – and the unintended consequences that come from only solving a small part of the problem might negate any progress made, anyway. Instead, we should start by considering the system as a whole. We can describe it, explain how the different parts of the system work together, how each part is connected to the other parts, and what impacts changes in one part have on other parts.”

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