190210 Edge of Government
From the Edge of Government meet Image Credit: Atiq-ur-Rehman/Gulf News

The World Government Summit is not all shop talk.

On its sidelines is an enclosure called Edge of Government that encourages you to let your imagination go wild, as it presents some bizarre but effective ideas that have taken shape in different parts of the world.

Here's some food for thought as Gulf News zeroed in on five innovations:

What if plastic waste is used as currency?

Well, it is no utopian idea as the Surabaya City Bus project in Indonesia actually shows. Citizens in this city can now pay for a bus ride with discarded plastic bottles - five bottles for a two-hour ride. The result: Surabaya manages to collect 7.5 tons of plastic every month and deals with the garbage as it should be dealth with.

What if an algorithm could boost employment for refugees?

It definitely can as the Swiss Secretariat for Migration has proven. They directed the power of data to locate the best geographical area for a refugee to find a job and integrate into the community. An algorithm, which determines in which area of a country the individual is a best fit, has helped boost employment rates in Switzerland by 73 per cent.

What if an impending bus traffic accident never has to happen?

In Singapore, the government turned to artificial intelligence to predict how likely drivers are to cause an accident. Road performance data and observation of two data scientists monitoring the bus driver’s behaviour changes the algorithm that pre-empts accidents and sends the drivers to improve their driving skills.

Result: Employee accident frequency rate in Singapore has come down to 1.41, below the global average of 2.8.

What if you could consult your digital twin to steer your life?

Finland has developed a digital twin 'Aurora' who can analyse our needs and make predictions. This includes telling you if your career path is good for you or not, whether the job you're in will become obsolete and what you need to do to improve your prospects.

What if cow manure could clear air pollution?

Karachi in Pakistan has introduced buses powered by a new kind of fuel; cow dung. Animal waste is converted into biogas and purified to biomethane so that it can power the bus. The network is set to cater to 320,000 passengers daily, while reducing planet-warming emissions of carbondioxide by 2.6 million tonnes equivalent to emissions over 30 years.