Alexa becomes a nurse

What We're Clicking On – April 10th, 2019

In our weekly news filter ‘What We’re Clicking On’, we share our thoughts on the most interesting articles relating to the future of cities, buildings and interiors.

This week, Amazon announced that a select group of developers will be able to create and launch health skills for its voice assistant Alexa – compliant with U.S. healthcare regulation. Tech news site Engadget explains how these new skills are designed to help customers manage a variety of healthcare needs at home simply using voice:  “Providence St. Joseph Health’s skill can book a same-day appointment, for example, while Cigna and Express Scripts have introduced skills that respectively track wellness incentives and manage prescriptions. Livongo, meanwhile, has a skill for diabetics that can provide blood glucose readings and health tips.”  Engadget concludes: This is a major step for voice assistants, but not unexpected from a company that has been pushing aggressively into healthcare as of late.



A little old, but an interesting read nonetheless: LA Times’ article about the way the videogame SimCity inspired a generation of city planners. For many urban and transit planners, architects, government officials and activists, SimCity was their first taste of running a city. People who went from SimCity enthusiasts to professional planners talked about what they liked about the game. For instance: the way you can visualize how a single change affects a whole city; the ability to see how transit, livability and the economy are all connected. The LA Times highlights the shortcomings of the game as well: SimCity oversimplifies urban planning and is very American. An alternative app called SimCity: BuildIt is currently adding architecture and topography from Asian and European cities. Furthermore, the app lets users think about environmentalism. The game manager explains: “You can play a ‘Green City’ map in which residents have urban gardens and there’s less pollution. Solar power is now an option.”