Results of the trip to New York for the Smart City Expo and the OXYGEN Summit

Now we will be directly involved in the construction of smart cities, and will guide this area to develop in the right direction, getting a partnership in the practical realization of a smart city / test site, as well as great opportunities! We have to start a lot of things afresh now, but we are starting far from a low start!

The invitation to the events came just in time. Things had been going from bad to worse in our 13 years of operation, from Russia’s large-scale war with Ukraine, which led to a severe reduction in our budget and consequently in studio and freelance orders, layoffs, loss of valuable volunteers on our team, and to a dramatic change of course by The Venus Project, an organization we had previously promoted as much as we could, instead of fully developing our own.

We needed an opportunity to put the locomotive back on its own tracks, and the opportunity came!

Smart City Expo & OXYGEN Summit

… took place May 22-23, 2024, in New York City.

Smart City Expo USA The event brought together industry leaders, presented smart city technologies, and held a number of lectures and panel discussions. It is not so easy to get here from the outside for a person not directly related to this topic – a standard ticket cost $1,049.

OXYGEN Summit was held on the first day of the Expo in a separate zone, where only a few people could get in by invitation only. Participants: delegations from more than 10 countries, heads of funds, venture capital and project institutes. At the event, discussions were held on the development of Smart Cities, where I was able to participate from the Ukrainian delegation.

In the framework of the summit, an agreement was signed on the beginning of the implementation of test sites, with the help and allocation of resources from more than 20 major cities and metropolitan areas around the world, where thousands of IT-companies, organizations will be able to get support and unification point, and cities – a direct exchange of experience, with the opportunity to apply the results themselves.

What can we offer?

The ideas we promoted in Jacque Fresco’s original ” The Venus Project” fit well with the latest trends, as well as technology, automation and robotization. This is especially true with the rapid development of artificial intelligence and the growing realization that the current order of things is outdated and out of step with modern scientific and technological progress, and with the very capabilities of our planet. These ideas help us to envision an inspiring future where many things work in new ways. Where are we going and what is appropriate to strive for? Participants in the smart city market do not yet have a common understanding of the ultimate goal, a desire to join forces for a realistically achievable bright future – and it would be great to give them this picture.

The evolutionary transition to a post-scarcity economy described by Jacque Fresco fits well with the concept of smart city development as a starting point.

Communicating on these topics with participants, speakers, representatives of foundations, companies, etc., I saw how it resonated with their company missions, technologies presented, and personal position. There is an understanding that the world is going to change, and our option, whoever I talked to – was enthusiastic, interesting and supportive. It was clear and eye-opening to many people to imagine the future city as a single highly automated system, controlled by AI, which produces, distributes, provides services, intelligently using resources, freeing people from boring and monotonous work, giving them everything they need to live a full life and realize their potential, without any additional conditions.

Where there are discrepancies – the ever-changing world will soon correct this. For example, not everyone believes in significant automation and mass replacement of humans in jobs. Directly working on products that do this, as in Microsoft calling AI, neural networks – “assistant”, explicitly saying from the stage that the goal is “not to replace people” but to “improve their capabilities”. Maybe such a speech looks better for the public image, but such tech giants should already realize where this is going and start adapting in advance, not clinging to the past and accepted patterns, like the work just for the sake of work. A lawyer on the panel suggested introducing a law requiring companies to hire people even if there’s nothing there for them to do. – What’s the point? Faced closely with the thinking of lawmakers, there is wild dissonance. We live in a monstrously inefficient world, clinging to outdated systems.

On discussion panels, it was often mentioned that after the Covid times, the work has changed. Conditions changed it, forced it to adapt. And when everything seemed to have returned to normal, it became much more difficult to get people to go to offices. Office buildings remain idle, new ones are hardly ever built, and heads of companies come up with various tricks to encourage people to work from the office. Shake-ups and putting new methods into practice is a recipe for change. And we’re in for more of that in the future. The world has not stopped, and we and our grandchildren will live in a completely different system – it is up to us to decide in which one.

I was pleasantly surprised by the panelists, where my question about technological unemployment and the mismatch between the level of development and our system was answered by a man, Corey Gray, head of the Smart City Consil Foundation, who told his colleagues on stage everything as it is and where it’s going, in our own words – and I, of course, recorded it all on video! We exchanged contacts, and Andrey Kolodyuk later discussed “Mission on Earth” with him.

“Mission On Earth” Project

The day before the Expo, we managed to hold a separate working meeting with Andrey Kolodyuk, where we went straight to practical things.

Andrey Kolodyuk – head of a venture fund, ambassador of Ukrainian business, has created and managed large companies, etc. You can just Google his name to understand the scale of the man. It was with him that we had been planning the construction of a new smart city near Kyiv since 2013, negotiating with then still alive Jacque Fresco ( Andrey flew to him twice) – and the project could have gone ahead in those years, if the circumstances had turned out a little differently.

Andrey spoke at the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute – at that time my team and I managed to gather 1,700 people in record time for the premiere of the movie “The Choice is Ours”, with a live broadcast with Jacque Fresco. That was in 2015. We also did an interview with him on Hromadske (see photo below).

In addition to negotiating with Jacque Fresco, I was even part of the working group and board that planned it all. I have experience in the family construction business, designing almost any kind of structure and organizing the whole process on a turnkey basis. For example, part of the plan was to create a design institute from scratch, that would create a city, and then go on to work in the city itself on other cities, and similar projects. This would have been much cheaper than a third party: a design bureau from the U.S., which Roxanne Meadows, the head of The Venus Project, referred us to, because they, at The Venus Project, to our surprise, had nothing to offer but a concept and a brand. And this despite the fact that “this was the best opportunity to build something,” as said by Stanislav Aizin, the first director on The Venus Project’s newly-formed board of directors, who held the position from 2016-2018, before today’s woeful directors came along.

What about this city project today? Andrew has all along continued to organize this endeavor despite the challenges, building all the necessary groundwork: from land, to funding, to negotiating potential expanded permits and authority for the territories, and has been gathering influential and necessary people from politics, business, and the non-profit sector for over 10 years.

Andrey organized the “Ukrainian House” in Davos, which like a magnet gathers all the influential and active part of society from politics, business and public organizations – and he told me that the ideas proposed by Jacque Fresco are in great demand, and the time for these ideas is just around the corner, but there is still a vague understanding of possible implementation. We met recently in London, and before that we were always in contact. The period of active work with Andrey was in 2013-2018, when we held dozens of working meetings, traveled to potential construction sites and developed conceptual proposal and presentations.

Photos and article about the Ukrainian House in Davos 2018: https://mc.today/vpervye-ukraina-vyzyvala-ne-zhalost-a-uvazhenie-andrej-kolodyuk-ob-organizatsii-ukrainskogo-doma-v-davose/

What’s this all about?

The pilot name for the planned city is Mission on Earth, and the public company and the actual launch will begin later this year or next year. But I can already share some insights and great news with you!

Straight away to the good news – we, our organization Designing the Future, have already been invited as direct participants! Partnering in this endeavor brings us a large-scale, serious hands-on project to our account, opening up new perspectives, opportunities and contacts. The puzzle of our proposals, new trends, this partnership and potential opportunities is coming together very well.

The concept of “Mission on Earth” is to become a test site and cluster campus, a working hub and expo, a conference site, a center of attraction and a launching pad for many companies in the smart city field.

Unlike other smart cities – to offer a change in the social structure of society, to introduce new types of economies, social experiments in clusters, to give more freedom to participants and less regulation by the state. As an example, a much expanded sharing economy, where you can use many things just by borrowing them “from the library” – similar to the Resource Center in Jacque Fresco’s cities.

The purpose of the city is to set new tendencies, and drive forward human civilization, to present the construction of a smart city as a single product that can be easily ordered, pulling up all the accumulated experience, practices and the required companies at once. And by the way, it is not so far from this to planning the city as one big highly automated system with advanced AI – which, in my opinion, is the key to the transition to that post-scarcity world that Jacque Fresco was talking about.

We have an interview with Andrey coming out later where he will give more details about the planned city.

Everything is very promising and will allow us to start working on our own reputation, achievements and practical projects in an accelerated mode. Finally, our path will be opened and artificial obstacles will be removed, which have been holding back our development for a long time, throwing us off the achieved heights for the umpteenth time in a very harsh way. But we have adapted, achieved new successes. And if we have coped in such conditions – it will be easier to do it now!

Crowdfundings

There was only a couple of weeks to organize everything for the trip, but a few social media and sponsor chat announcements were enough to raise a sizable crowdfunding budget of $2,000, 75% of which was raised in just over 24 hours! An additional goal for equipment was quickly covered too.

Special thanks from all of us for the substantial contribution: Mikhail Sobolev, Vadim Rotary, Anatoly Karpov, Ilya Terentyev, Oleksandr T, Moonkiss.

The New Beginnings crowdfunding was launched shortly before we knew we were flying to New York. It is still relevant. The main goal hasn’t changed – to raise a fund or regular contributions for team salaries and development, building a solid base, reaching self-sustainability, moving forward with the Plan. With this journey in mind, we will rewrite the Plan a bit, but now in a more positive and practical way.

Thank you!
Join us, support, spread the word.

In the next article I will write about participation in the Summit and Expo, participants and interesting moments. If you have any questions, clarifications, suggestions – write to me or via the feedback form, ask questions on the streams.