Click looks at an app which hopes to be the Uber for emergency services in Kenya.
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That's all the sport -
now it's time for Click.
This week: Fighting fires...
And a real-life Rocketeer.
On Click we often look out
for technology which can help
save people's lives.
This week: Fighting fires...
For example, we went to Rwanda
to look at how drones were speeding
up deliveries of blood and recently,
closer to home, I looked
at how the response times
of the Air Ambulance in London
were being improved
by better connectivity.
If you live in the developed world,
you will probably take it
for granted that you can dial
the emergency number, someone
will answer and help will arrive.
Well, in Kenya, that's not the case.
In the capital, Nairobi, alone,
there are more than 50 different
numbers for different ambulance
services and if you need
a fire engine, well,
that's at least a dozen more,
and even then there is no guarantee
they'll be able to get to you.
Well, Kate Russell has been
to Nairobi to meet a couple
of entrepreneurs who have had
the great idea of amalgamating them
all into one service.
Think Uber for emergency services.
For most living in a modern
an ambulance involves dialling
a single short code.
But in a city of more
than 6 million people,
Nairobi has no functioning
central emergency number.
With five public hospitals
and dozens of private hospitals
and clinics all operating
independently, you have to know
who to call if you need an ambulance
here and hope that there's someone
on duty to pick up.
Caitlin and Maria run
a start-up in Nairobi hoping
to address this problem.
You just take for granted that 911
exists and we did as well.
Both of us had lived here for years
and we never even considered it
and we'd worked in health
and I never even thought
what I would do in an emergency.
We just started asking people,
have you seen an ambulance before,
who has an ambulance?
We would go and meet and find
ambulances in parking lots
and we started a really simple tally
of how many ambulances
we could find.
We realised there were so many
ambulances and nobody has any
idea where they are.
Flare's aim is to connect emergency
response vehicles on an Uber style
platform that can route calls
to the operator that
can get there quickest.
When the call comes in I get to know
the patient's location,
I click on the location.
We see all the vehicles that
are within my range.
I can select our ambulance service,
which is six minutes away.
Let's click on the ambulance service
I'm going to dispatch,
it gives me the contact number
and their current location
and the estimated time.
It also gives me the
direct route for them.
So you've been using this system
through states of emergency,
for example the first elections.
We used it for the election
of 2017, and we also had
a backup for the radios.
We had the emergency services
covering all the emergency
situations that had arised.
A busy city hospital,
we left Patrick to his work
and headed out onto the streets
to see first-hand the traffic
problems that make this kind
of operator routeing a lifesaver.
This was especially important
when violence broke out
during the October elections.
Flare's ambulances were
33% busier attending
to emergencies in these hotspots.
The response times we've seen have
gone down from 162 minutes,
which is the average,
which is nearly three
hours, which is insane,
to about 15 to 20 minutes.
So far the platform has 30
ambulances online with a goal
to reach at least 50 by the end
of January next year.
An annual membership fee gives
patients access to the emergency
hotline and covers the cost of any
callouts, which otherwise would have
had to be paid by credit card before
an ambulance is dispatched.
The fee is currently around $15-20
but Flare say this might change
as the service matures.
Eventually Flare wants to add
more concierge style
features for its members,
like real-time updates
and treatment information.
The data being collected might also
prove useful to help co-ordinate
better service across the city.
One of the things we recently
learned is there's a lack
of ambulances between 7am and 9am
and the reason for that is
that the night team is handing over
to the day team so all providers
are doing that shift change,
so there's a delay in that happening
so then there aren't enough
ambulances online to actually
respond to the emergencies.
You can use that information and go
to all the providers and say,
maybe stagger your times?
Completely, or make the handover
process more efficient
so that doesn't even occur.
Fire means even bigger problems
for emergency callouts in Nairobi.
As well as the fractured
seen with ambulances,
there's a desperate shortage
of trucks and water supplies.
Tragedies like this in Nairobi's
vast clothes market, Gikomba,
are all too common and often left
burning for much longer
than they should be
because of a simple lack
of access to resources.
999 goes directly to
the police headquarters,
to the police control room.
Once you call the police control
room, they start looking
for the nearest ambulance service
or the nearest fire service.
There's no radio linkage anywhere.
The phones they have belong
to four individuals.
The fire and ambulance service
are controlled separately
by different players.
ICT Fire and Rescue is the first
of its kind in Kenya.
I went to visit them and got
to try out some training.
Flare is working with the school
to add as many firetrucks
as possible to their Nairobi
coverage, as well as locating
available public and private water
supplies to add to the map.
There are enough hydrants
in Nairobi theoretically,
they were planned for,
but a lot of the hydrants
have been built on top
of so we are surveying Nairobi
to see where there are publicly
available hydrants and where there
are private hydrants are that we can
actually tap into.
At this stage it's unclear how
the membership funding model
will play out for fire cover
as callout costs could be radically
higher and more variable
than ambulance work.
Flare has high hopes of becoming
the 911 equivalent for the whole
of Kenya in the future.
Kate Russell in Nairobi solving
a problem that really needs solving.
I have to say that's not always
the case in the world of technology.
Take, for example, smart cities,
which we haven't really proved
we actually need, so far.
But authorities in Canada have
teamed up with a massive tech name
to develop a smart neighbourhood
that it says will massively improve
sustainability and affordability.
Paul Carter has been
to Toronto to find out more
about Google's grand designs.
Google's parent company,
Alphabet, has its fingers
in many technological pies,
from home automation, to search,
to life sciences and autonomous
vehicles but now the company has
an even bigger idea -
it wants to build a whole new city.
Well, sort of.
Authorities in Canada's
largest city, Toronto,
have announced a partnership
with Google stablemate Sidewalk Labs
to design a new waterfront area
known as Quayside.
Sidewalk Labs say they want to see
a city built from the Internet up.
What does that look like?
Streets will come alive
with a vitality we expect
from sort of the greatest urban
environments in a way that has never
actually been seen before.
The plans include modular buildings
that will automatically
adapt to wind and rain.
Robot delivery services,
underground rubbish disposal trains,
heated roads to melt the snow,
digital navigation systems,
smart traffic, self-driving buses.
So far, so Jetsons, but will any
ordinary people actually be able
to afford to live there?
What's really interesting
when you sit down with the Sidewalk
people is that a big part
of what they want to do and a big
part of the advertisement they
present for themselves is that this
will lower the cost of living.
They're trying to find ways
to reduce your cost of mobility, so,
for example, you don't actually have
to have a car at all.
These plans also rely
on data and lots of it.
Sensors in all aspects
of the development -
buildings, roads, open spaces -
will measure how and when people
use the environment.
In a week when it was revealed
Android phones were sending location
data back to Google,
should people be concerned
about their privacy?
They have a profit motive
and a business purpose for existence
that you have to make sure
at all times you safeguard
the public interest and that's our
job on everything we do.
They made it very clear that
even though they are part
of the Alphabet organisation,
which includes other technologies,
like Waymo is their driverless
car autonomous vehicle,
they are under no pressure or no
directive from Alphabet to have
to use their technology.
They believe that to
fulfil their objectives,
they want to get the best in class,
the most innovative technologies,
wherever they may be.
Both Waterfront Toronto
and Sidewalk Labs now have a year
to thrash out the finer details
of the plan.
Any time you do anything
complicated, I was deputy mayor
of New York for the six years right
after 9/11, my responsibilities
included the rebuilding
of the World Trade Center site,
you're never going to get unanimity,
but that's what the democratic
process is all about,
about putting ideas out there,
getting feedback, adjusting them
and ultimately hopefully winning
over enough people that
you can move forward.
At the moment this smart city
of the future exists only
in drawings and documents.
City planners and technologists
from around the world will be
watching with interest to see
if Google's grand plans ever make it
from concept to construction.
Hello and welcome
to the week in tech.
It was the week that US prosecutors
charged an Iranian man
with hacking into HBO,
leaking scripts for everyone's
favourite TV show, Game of Thrones,
and demanding over £4
million in ransom.
Elsewhere, Skype disappeared
from app stores in China
after the government said it did not
comply with the local law.
The long-running net neutrality
debate took another turn this week
as US regulators rolled back
the laws that were brought
in under President Obama.
The chairman of the Federal
Communications Commission said
the changes would stop the Federal
Critics argue the changes could lead
to unequal access to the Internet.
And humans and machine
have once again been
pitted against each other,
this time in the battle
of the drone pilots.
Researchers at NASA's jet propulsion
lab set up a time trial
between their artificial
intelligence and drone
pilot Ken Loo.
Loo was the winner when it came
to speed but was less consistent
overall than the AI system.
It wouldn't be Click
news without a robot.
This fine specimen stands at 5'1"
and calls itself THRC3.
The bot is designed to mirror
the movements of its human overlord
and may one day be used in locations
too dangerous for humans.
That's all fine before it gets fed
up and goes on strike, citing
an inhospitable working environment!
Earlier in the show we saw
how a smart city can be
built from the ground up
but you still need to be able
to find your way around it.
I've been looking at some
of the latest augmented reality that
aims to help but first,
I need to go and find the man
who knows all about it.
But he is not the only
person I am meeting.
HotStepper is a way-finding app
that uses this scantily
clad character to guide
you to your designated destination.
It is doing so by combining AR,
geolocation data, and mapping,
and while it is not the only app
to overlay directions
on the real world, it certainly
has a unique character.
He is just doing a dance.
As people are walking past the pub.
You must be Luke.
Lara, good to meet you.
Why am I following this man around?
Why have you designed
him looking like this?
After the year we have had in 2017
I think we needed some humour
so I wanted to make it more
interesting to get from A to B.
There are lots of navigation apps
out there, why are people
going to choose this one?
Some people find maps
on their phones quite
complicated to use.
We have also put in gigantic 3D
arrows at the end of the roads
you can follow him and see
from the arrows
where you want to go.
There are some challenges,
we don't actually know where a road
begins and a pavement stops we have
to kind of do our best to calculate
where we think it is.
To make it look as believable
as possible, what we do
is try to find out where we think
you are, what the weather
is like where you are,
if it is sunny or cloudy and then
specifically, the location
of the sun and if we can work
out where the sun is,
we can render his shadow naturally
to where it should be.
But when you are not having fun
on foot then maybe you are trying
to find a place to leave your car.
AR measuring app Air Measure
are prototyping a function
to help you parallel park.
Not something you would
want any inaccuracy on.
In the meantime, it can be used
for measuring furniture,
creating a floor plan,
or seeing how tall you are.
But if you are more focused
on finding your way around and have
taken a shine to HotStepper,
just don't lose your friend
or you may lose your way.
OK, you cannot miss the arrow
but where has my man gone?
Where is he?
The way we talk online has changed
in the last decade and I'm not
talking about the rise of social
networks like Facebook and Twitter,
but the even bigger explosion
in mobile messaging apps
like WhatsApp, Line
and WeChat depending
on where you are in the world.
Since 2014 we have been
using them even more
than the big social networks.
And with all of those people
spending all of that time chatting,
rather than browsing,
it is not surprising that companies
are desperate to talk to us too.
And I can only mean
one thing - bots.
And plenty of them.
Modern bots promise to connect
with us and understand us in more
ways than ever before and that means
they could potentially do more
than just sell us stuff.
For example, they may
even change lives.
Dave Lee has been looking
at a unique project in Seattle
which is using chat bots to help
women working in the sex
industry to stay safe.
This is Aurora Avenue,
north Seattle, a long,
straight road full of liquor stores,
worn out car dealerships,
and cheap motels.
It is known as one of the traps
in the area and that means
it is a popular place where women
would come and be involved in street
prostitution and men come
to basically drive up
and solicit for sex.
As day passes into night,
we see only a handful
of working women walk by.
Just because this street isn't
as busy as it perhaps once
was doesn't mean this business has
gone away and in fact
it is quite the opposite.
The scale of the job to save these
women who are now behind closed
doors is incredibly overwhelming.
Like just about every
business you can think of,
the sex trade is now
almost completely online.
Powered by listings websites
which do little to prevent abuses.
It makes the women caught up in this
dark world much less
visible than ever before.
I was in the life for ten years.
I had a pimp, it was very violent,
I have a quota I had to meet every
day, and if I didn't make the quota,
there were punishments for that.
I stayed sometimes in hotels
for weeks, months at a time,
the same room, not leaving,
maybe just to smoke a cigarette
or go to the vending
machine to get a snack.
Those four walls and I remember
the TV playing just so there
was noise going, right?
I do remember sitting
in there and thinking the whole
world had forgotten about me.
And what would have shifted
if I have looked down on my phone
and someone would have said hey,
this is Jackie from Rest,
I used to be in the life.
I have resources,
do you want to chat?
Real escape from the sex trade,
or Rest, is a group that seeks out
and helps women trapped
in the sex industry.
This is a centre for those
taken out of the life.
It is temporary, safe accommodation.
The organisation is backing
a new initiative developed
with the help of Microsoft that uses
chatbot technology to intercept
anyone considering buying sex.
The team places fake sex
ads on popular sites.
When a potential customer texts
the number seeking to buy,
it is a chatbot that replies.
In this case we have set up
the bot so it is simulating
a 15-year-old trafficking victim.
This is asking me questions like how
old am I, $100 per hour,
what service are you looking for.
We work with survivors
of trafficking to ask them how
a conversation like this would go?
What would you say?
What are the tipoffs that this
would maybe not be a bot but a law
It has told you it is 15,
how does that sound?
That's where the hammer drops.
Here's the message.
That is a really shocking feeling.
Somebody who thinks
they are anonymous and can go
on the internet and buy another
human being, it is
a big wake-up call.
The bot isn't being
used to arrest people.
Instead it is intended
to work as a deterrent.
Similar artificial intelligence
technology is being used to scrape
websites and reach women who may
be need help.
Outreach comes via a text message,
something that is much easier
to hide from a pimp than talking
to a charity worker in the street.
With text outreach, we can reach
so many more individuals on these
phone numbers that we are pulling
from online ads and when a girl
gets a text message,
she can respond to it in a time
and a place that is
safe for her to do so.
Impressed with what they've seen
so far, law enforcement agencies
in Seattle are now using the tech
with encouraging results.
There are thousands of buyers online
at any time of the day or night.
When we post a fake ad posing
as a person involved in prostitution
we will get 250 responses
in the first two hours
and there is no way that law
enforcement has the capacity
to respond to that.
A chatbot allows us to connect
with and deter all of those
buyers online at any time.
We've never able to do that.
Yet this issue needs a more
permanent solution to stop websites
being used to sell sex.
That is what is being worked
on here at the US Senate.
It is time to say no more.
New anti-sex trafficking measures
have bipartisan support
here but some tech companies have
raised concerns that the new rules
could be too broad.
While tech companies and legislators
iron out the detail,
Amanda's work in saving
women continues daily.
Just yesterday I had a young woman
come up to me who was living
in our residential programme
and she is like, Amanda,
I have a car, I have a licence,
I have insurance.
Like, insurance, legit.
Those are the moments that make it
all worthwhile and less
overwhelming because we know
we are making a difference.
When James Bond used a jet
pack to escape the bad
guys in Thunderball,
the world with jet pack mad.
But the US military designed Bell
rocket belt that he used was later
scrapped due to its high price
and limited flight time.
Almost 60 years on, science fiction
is finally becoming science fact.
Several companies and even
individuals around the world have
taken to the skies in recent years
to show off their
versions of a jetpack.
And recently, I was invited
to strap myself into one.
Fortunately, this was only in VR.
OK, here we go, we are going up.
The real thing has been built
and tested by New Zealand company
Martin Aircraft which is now
being bought by the Chinese
science company Quang Chi.
it isn't a jet pack.
Its lifts off using two ducted
fans which are powered
by a petrol engine.
It is still in testing but the team
hopes that by the time it is ready,
it will be able to fly as fast as 40
kilometres an hour at
an altitude of 2500 feet.
On a single tank, it should last
for about 30 minutes,
covering distances of 20 kilometres,
carrying about 100 kilos.
And the company says it will be used
for far more than just fulfilling
the dream of human flight.
What can we do
if there are people stranded
in a high-rise fire?
This jet pack can reach places
a helicopter cannot.
A helicopter requires space
but with a jet pack you can get very
near and hose the fire down.
Martin Aircraft has been developing
flight technology for over three
decades and previously thought it
would start selling
these by last year.
Now, the company hopes the Chinese
financial boost will finally be
enough to get it off the ground.
Back at my VR demonstration,
I am starting to realise I may not
be the ideal jet pack pilot.
That is quite enough from us
for this week's Click
but there is plenty more happening
on Facebook and Twitter.
Thank you for watching
and we will see you soon.