Zurich, October 26, 2023
On October 26, 2023, Swissnex in San Francisco hosted a sold-out event “Cities in the Age of AI: Digital Twins or Digital Fiends?” at the Institute of Technology in Architecture, ETH Zurich (ITA). The event focused on the future of cities in the age of artificial intelligence, with a particular emphasis on digital twins, a concept with enormous potential for urban development. In true Swissnex fashion, we brought together diverse perspectives from Switzerland and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ambassador Jacques Ducrest set the stage for the evening, celebrating the brilliant Swiss minds shaping the world from all around the globe. He also paid homage to Swissnex’s humble beginnings over shared pizza with Christian Simm, to whom we remain deeply grateful.
Swissnex CEO, Emilia Pasquier, painted a vivid picture of Swissnex as a “disco ball.” She likened the organization to this iconic symbol not just because it makes people dance but because Swissnex is a multifaceted entity, and when all those facets come together, something beautiful and innovative emerges.
To bring the Bay Area perspective to Zurich, we invited Jumbi Edulbehram, PhD, Director of Global Business Development, Smart Cities and Spaces at NVIDIA, for a virtual keynote. Edulbehram highlighted the unmatched potential of digital twins, explaining how they enable the infusion of scenarios impossible to recreate in the physical world. This capability allows for more effective and cost-efficient training of models, a critical aspect of advancing AI and smart city technologies.
The evening was expertly guided by Thomas Schroepfer, Professor and Director of the Singapore University of Technology and Design and the Singapore-ETH Centre Future Cities Laboratory Global. He moderated a panel discussion featuring the following speakers:
- Aurel von Richthofen, Associate, Integrated Cities Planning at Arup Germany
- Una Wang, PhD Candidate at ETH Zurich
- Kuba Szczesniak, Co-Founder of Scandens
- Ning Wang, Research Group Leader at the UZH Digital Society Initiative (DSI), University of Zurich
This event was co-hosted by the Institute of Technology in Architecture, ETH Zurich (ITA), Department of Architecture, ETH Zürich, in collaboration with kühne wicki / Future Stuff and supported by the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR Digital Fabrication), Empa, Future Cities Laboratory at ETH Zurich, Future City Alliance (SmartCity Alliance & CityZen), Innovation Booster Swiss Smart Cities, the University of Zurich, the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK Zürcher Hochschule der Künste), and the Zurich Knowledge Center for Sustainable Development.
The evening was captured by Moritz Schmid.
Listen to our podcast
Out now: The Anniversary Season
In our anniversary season we share the stories of selected Swiss innovators, that play an active role in co-creating the future. Listen as they share why they do and what they do, what challenges they've faced and what's next on their audacious journey to change the world.