Hurt – Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudia Arabia
- Timeline: Present-Day
Ancient China benefitted heavily from its use of technology. Of course, many will claim Ancient China is quite a long time period. During this time, they’d invent things like the compass, papermaking, printing overall, gunpowder, and even fireworks. Beijing was founded around the time many of its biggest inventions and much of its culture began. The Zhou Dynasty made it a major city beginning in 1045 BCE. Yet the Forbidden City would not become China’s capital city until 1279 AD. Of course, one of the biggest things the nation is known for is its infamous Great Wall.
It saw sections built for centuries, but it was not until the Ming Dynasty’s push to finish the wall that it was actually constructed fully. One could say that Beijing was a huge asset to Chinese influence worldwide due to being a major hub for trade. The Silk Road ran through Beijing and was one of the most notable trade territories in history. On top of that, early Chinese technology allowed their economy to grow heavily. Plus, any weaponry they made only added to China’s ability to defend itself and add to its land. They also used to really care about their people during this point, even when the Mongols had control. That would not last, however.
Anyone who knows about the nation of Turkey will tell you that things have been difficult in the region for many years. Therefore, we cannot blame any big technology companies or tech itself for every problem they have faced. While it is not the capital city, Istanbul (previously Constantinople), was a great city filled with amazing trade for decades. In fact, some early major technology in the Middle East came through there or was built by those in the city. After Turkey earned its independence, it changed the name of the city to what we see today.
The issue for newly free nations was how they’d make money, so alignments had to be made and a focus on industrial work was a big part of everything. While they do use mobile phones quite often here and have a huge connection to e-commerce, some of their biggest technology is medical-related. Medical devices are a major export for them, but wars and other conflict has been problematic. On top of that, their environment has suffered from the lack of industrial control. Today, at least 97.2% of Turkey is exposed to unhealthy particulate matter, with Instanbul experiencing a bulk of these issues with a PM rate of 48 uh/m3 annually.
Sweden is a lovely nation filled with amazing technology. In fact, the nation is one of the most technologically advanced and innovative territories in the world. It is well known how crucial Sweden has been to scientific research, but they also rank highly in scientific development too. The Swedes are responsible for inventing things like the three-phase motor, self-aligned ball bearing, and much more. If that is not enough, they also produce an impressively skilled and educated workforce. This could be why they were able to rank 7th in the world in the 2021 Global Innovation Index.
Of course, the European Union recognizes Sweden as one of the most advanced digital economies in Europe today. The city of Stockholm houses a lot of Sweden’s biggest technology companies and government tech workers. In spite of the industrial work they do, Sweden is sometimes over-exceeding World Health Organization guidelines for their environment. In fact, they have a better environmental score than the United States. This all began with their carbon tax in 1996 and further policies led to more clean energy initiatives and tech out of Stockholm. The nation is hoping to achieve zero net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2045 too!
What might surprise some of you is that, while Israel is an ancient nation, it was eventually conquered and no longer operated as a separate state. This all changed a little after World War II. In 1947, the relatively new United Nations voted to partition Palestine into both a Jewish and Arab state, but the Arabs rejected this. Yet in May of 1948, the provisional government of Israel proclaimed itself as the new state of Israel. At this same time, U.S. President Harry Truman formally recognized the government and authority as a Jewish state. By 1949, it was officially recognized as its own state by most of the world.
This is where the problems began, as a war between Israel and Palestine has taken place off and on ever since. America and other European nations back Israel monetarily due to religious beliefs almost entirely. This allowed the nation to focus on building up, which they would do with technology. However, at least 5.3% of their GDP goes into military research yearly. Tel Aviv has sprouted up as a notable city in the world, where many technological innovations have taken place. Yet the environment here is problematic with chlorides, nitrates, heavy metals, fuels, and organic toxins in the air. Not to mention the constant battles taking place.
While Estonia has often had to deal with being controlled by larger empires surrounding it, the island nation has set it itself apart. People have lived here for at least 9,000 years and kept to its pagan roots for most of their existence. They were the last nation of any kind in Europe to adopt Christianity, which took until the 13th Century to enforce. Today, now known as The Republic of Estonia, they are no longer under Russian control. They have taken every advantage they had and capitalized, becoming incredibly tech-savvy along the way. The nation has one of the best internet connections on the planet and WiFi is even completely free here.
You can even get 4G internet being in the middle of their most dense forest territory. There are more start-ups here than in the Bay area of California, and provide their citizens with a streamlined government system. At least 100 services and 300 online forms can be accessed online, which is better than most major nations. Estonia’s capital city, Tallinn, is known as one of the most technologically advanced cities within an Asian or European region. It has been built up so much that the city is becoming a hub for major start-ups. Heck, even the Skype service was invented in part by at least four Estonians.
We all know by now how things went down during the major colonization of the Spanish Empire into the Americas. After the murderous psychopath known as Christopher Columbus wrote back about this new world he came across, the Spaniards, English, and Portuguese began colonization attempts. Yet people were already living in these places, whom the Spanish Empire notably took advantage of or would kill thanks to their technology. They essentially took out the Aztec Empire to erect New Spain, which would later become Mexico City after the Mexican Independence movement in the early-to-mid-1800s.
Peru would see a similar issue take place. While many cultures had lived in the region, the Inca Empire was one of the most notable. It happened to be the one that the old-world Spaniards ripped through. The Incan capital city of Cusco was conquered and the entire region went with it. Technology, in general, might not have been the only issue, considering illnesses also killed off a lot of these indigenous people too. However, the Spanish Empire’s use of weaponry from guns to iron or bronze swords and armor made them impossible to defeat. Leading to major cities being essentially destroyed, a shell of what they were before.
While we did already reference the United Arab Emirates, they are also separated out and thus we feel the need to reference Abu Dhabi too. It is the second-most populated city-state in the UAE after Dubai. The main government offices of the UAE are found here as well as the Supreme Petroleum Council. They are very oil-rich and have used that money quite well. The oil production led to major development and urbanization, which also led to a high average income for those who live in the city-state. On top of this, they bring in the most money annually for the UAE – at least two-thirds of their $400 billion average annual economy.
While Dubai is more westernized, Abu Dhabi is much more traditional with its values and expectations. Thus, it is not so much a hot spot for tourists but for major businesses. Their technology institute is very good and has led to major innovations in technology. Plus, a lot of their inventive concepts have led to incredible architecture. They have a Quantum Institute where major physics discoveries are taking place. The Abu Dhabi Global Market is also home to Hub71, which includes at least 102 tech start-ups within the realm of health tech, fintech, and artificial intelligence. Don’t blink, because it is likely this city-state will become a major tech hub.
Russia has been involved in a lot of technological innovation for years. In fact, even as recently as the last decade, NASA worked with the Russian Space Program to send astronauts into space. Of course, Russia has been home to a lot of scientific research and development which did sadly include nuclear weaponry. Of course, they have been trying to also take advantage of their very rich renewable resources too. Russia currently uses wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass, and solar energy and produces products that utilize them. Yet this oil-rich nation sees most of its money provided by rich oligarchs.
These oligarchs own a lot of the industrial sectors, which are left alone by the government. Moscow is currently in a bad way environmentally as a result. Industrial corporations account for 60% of the nation’s air pollution, 25% of its water pollution, and over 90% of its solid waste. Moscow numbers are even higher than that, making the capital a hard place to live for today’s Russians. This has been an issue for a while, as at least 40% of Russia saw ecological destress dating back to 30 years ago. Deforestation, irresponsible use of energy, nuclear waste, and major pollution have led to Russia warming 2.5 times faster than every other country.
Like Taiwan, Hong Kong managed to become a massive success away from Chinese rule or influence. Currently, the 5G penetration rate in the city-state makes it one of the most digitally advanced places in the world. Plus, their start-ups have grown massively over the years. In 2020 alone, they saw a 6% growth to 3,360 companies that employed over 10,000 people. These newer companies as well as many established ones are part of the biotechnology, artificial intelligence, smart city, and financial technology sectors. This works, as they are the main areas Hong Kong wants to continue to innovate and add to its tech industry overall.
Hong Kong has been one of the healthiest areas to live and start a business. They have free universal healthcare and the highest life expectancy rate of any nation listed here or elsewhere. They even have a school where they are trying to educate the tech specialists of tomorrow, known as HKUST. It is considered one of the best tech universities in the world too. Hong Kong still has a relatively inexpensive rate when working with large corporations yet they do not sacrifice their environment to work with anyone. They do not really have to, as they are just shy of having a $400 billion GDP without any connection to oil or oil production as of 2021.
What seems to have become a major problem for Bangladesh is that they have tried to do too much with too little. They want to grow their economy and have thrown everything at the wall to make that happen. This includes making deals with numerous big technology corporations as well as those in the clothing, pharmaceutical, and oil industries. This has led to the country becoming a production house, where they make everything from textiles, electronics, vehicles, and bikes to plastic, glass, paper, and more. Plus, they obviously work a lot with petroleum whether that is converting it as a source of energy or for other various base products.
They also have steel and iron plants that make a wide variety of things. The Dhaka Division is the most populated territory in Bangladesh, as it is where a lot of the main jobs are located. The air pollution here is the worst in the world, which is crazy when you think about how small it is compared to others. It is so bad that life expectancy has been reduced by nearly 7 years. As many as 24,000 premature deaths in Dhaka are a result of this pollution from 2005 to 2018. The source of the pollution is not only vehicle emissions, but also unregulated fumes from factories and brick kilns, and even dust accumulations.
Today the Kingdom of Denmark is known as one of the greatest cities in the world to live in. It has one of the highest life expectancies on the planet and citizen happiness is so high that they have been ranked the happiest nation on Earth for years. While the nation is known for its many socialistic policies, they are actually a capitalist nation. They simply care enough about their people to ensure corporations come second, and the people/workers come first. Denmark is very technologically advanced as well and they’ve taken tech innovation seriously for a long time.
In fact, they named a Tech Ambassador years ago strictly to bring big technology companies to Denmark. They ranked 10th in the Global Innovation Index in 2019 but jumped to 9th in 2021. The European Union’s Digital Economy and Society Index first ranked them number one in 2017, but they remained in that spot every year since then. Copenhagen is where a ton of major tech innovation talked place in Europe. In fact, Copenhagen is considered the most important tech city in Europe only behind Amsterdam and London. However, the city actually topped the inaugural Digital Cities Index that came out in 2022.
The Industrial Revolution was a big time for both the Americans and British. It was a time of great invention and change. We went from having to make or do everything by hand to using machines to help us. Not only did they help us produce things more efficiently, but they also improved the rate of products that could be made at one time. Chemical manufacturing and iron production along with the use of steam and water power were utilized. This was also utilized in conjunction with machine tools and the rise of the modern factory system overall. Textiles were the big area of interest, but we’d eventually see things like automobile production and much more.
Places like Britain saw possibly their biggest growth as far as GDP and trade are concerned. Britain was able to improve so much that it became the world’s leading commercial nation. In fact, most of the technological and agricultural innovations were British in origin and this all started mostly in London. However, the environment and increase in population just ravaged the city. Lack of proper sanitation led to a breakout in diseases, and corporations created often horrific breathing conditions that continued for years. An example of this came in 1952 known as the “Great Smog of London” which made them rethink environmental protections.
The Kingdom of Norway is an amazing place to live, with an education system that is one of the best on the planet. Along with that, they have a unique, impressive criminal justice system. Norway has quickly become one of the most technologically innovative nations. In fact, they were named the most advanced nation in digital media in 2013 which they have only improved on since. The country is also known for its impressive wind turbine technology, which the Norweigan Firm Sway developed to make offshore wind turbines affordable. Their city of Oslo has been leading most of their innovations too.
What is so interesting about Norway is that they have made most of their money due to oil production. Yet they are one of the greenest countries in Europe and have the lowest rate of premature deaths due to pollution in the world. Norway accomplished its green initiatives using a tax and refund concept that collects and safely destroys HFCs. It’s also illegal to dispose of organic waste in landfills too, reducing methane and diesel emission rates. Plus, a shocking 98% of their electrical power comes from renewable resources, which is the best on the planet as of this writing! They utilize hydro, wind, and thermal power sectors to power their nation.
Honestly, if we chose just one city in India hurt by big technology, we’d avoid the horrible issues it has done to India overall. The three biggest cities that have been hurt by it are also the most populated: Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore. It would be wrong to not first reference that they have become a notable tech location. They have been part of some important scientific research, especially in health sciences. India has also gotten into the aerospace industry in recent years, which is growing quite well. Of course, most of us know by now that India also has a terrific information technology sector too.
Yet the pollution in India is almost stunning to people that visit it for the first time. India is the world’s most polluted large nation, which most people might know by now. Yet did you know that 44% of the global pollution on Earth has come from India since 2013? The spike in air pollution since then has been horrible, and it is partly due to their use of fossil fuels but their rapid expansion in industrialization has been the main cause. Most of its pollution comes from the cities referenced above, yet for some reason, they refuse to do anything about it. In fact, it has become so horrible that life expectancy has dropped at least 10 years for Delhi alone!
It’s certainly not going to be news to anyone reading this to find out that Japan is a very advanced nation. They are one of the few Asian nations that have made a massive impact on the entire planet using their technology, and they have been innovative in doing so. In fact, they topped the 2021 Global Innovation Index and will likely rank highly in the 2022 report as well. They have been part of some major advancements in the world of artificial intelligence, robotics, automation, aerospace, and obviously video games too.
They are also the home of major companies like Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Sony, Panasonic, Suzuki, Toshiba, Canon, BNE Entertainment, and of course Nintendo. It should also come as no shock that Tokyo has been the main city where a lot of its technological innovations have taken place. In fact, it is world famous due to its impressive technology. Toyko was also given the top spot on the Innovation Cities Index in 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2021 which just goes to show how the city is still improving in spite of being a major tech hub already. Big technology companies are present here for a reason, clearly.
The Soviet Union was a relatively powerful collection of nations, dominated by Russian influence. The member states of the USSR include Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Belorussia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Of course, many joined to keep up with the rest of Europe and Asia while others were forced in. However, let’s not ignore the facts of the matter. The Soviet Union was hoping to become a major power in terms of technology, agriculture, and medical knowledge. They did accomplish this mostly. Yet they also wanted to be feared as a major threat to the world.
After World War II, they were economically anemic and needed to modernize to keep up. They did manage to do this and even became a huge part of the aerospace community. Yet they did not consider how their rapid industrial expansion would hurt them, and Moscow more than most felt that harm. Total emissions in the USSR by 1988 were around 79% of the US total, yet the Soviet gross national product was only 54% of the U.S. at this time. Meaning they created 1.5 times more pollution per unit of GNP. Air and water pollution along with deforestation and desertification from nuclear meltdowns just wrecked the overall Soviet Union territory.
Switzerland is known for being a relatively tech-friendly nation. After all, this is the home of some notable companies like Victorinox, which was started back in 1884 and likely made “Swiss Army Knives” a household name. We also cannot forget major Swiss watch brands like Tissot which opened in 1853 and the luxury watch brand Rolex, which opened in 1905. While the Nestle company is also based here, the major pharmaceutical brand Novartis can also be found here too. They make notable medications like Excedrin and Theraflu today. The ABB Group is relatively popular too, known for its automotive and engineering work.
That said, the Swiss have been massive tech buffs for hundreds of years now so it should come as no surprise that one of their cities made this list. Zurich is an incredible city and home to several major start-ups and inventors. In fact, Switzerland has the highest ratio of European patent applications per capita. Plus, the Swiss love their environment and like to treat it properly. This led to several major green initiatives, allowing Zurich to become the least polluted city on the face of the planet. This is likely thanks in no small part to their Pollution Liability Insurance, which helps companies keep track of any pollutants.
While Ancient China benefitted heavily from its technological expansion and innovation, today the nation has been hurt horribly by it. Their environment has taken a massive hit for a while. China was a superpower and slowly began losing that power it once held, so the nation chose to improve economically. This led to a push to industrialize and increase trade. Several major companies then began putting factories and other industrial work in China due to lower costs. That slowly built their economy and even allowed them to advance their technology.
Today, they are a huge part of the artificial intelligence, robotics, cybersecurity, financial tech, biotechnology, and aerospace fields along with weapons enabled by autonomy. Not to mention their movement into weapons and nuclear technology overall. Yet their environment is garbage all over, especially in Beijing. The nation refuses to cut down on waste as they use things like coal to power most of its cities today. Beijing is hit hard by this due to its surrounding mountains. They form a natural barrier on all sides, allowing pollution to collect quickly and not disperse easily from wind and other processes. The pollution gets even worse in the Winter.
Technically speaking, Silicon Valley is not a city in the United States. Rather, it is an area where a lot of major technology companies reside. Most refer to the territory as the Bay Area but Silicon Valley itself involves a little over 15 cities. This includes Belmont, Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Menlo Park, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Jose, Santa Clara, Saratoga, and Sunnyvale. On top of this, many consider San Francisco to be part of the valley system too. All of these cities each play a major role in the region itself.
What makes this place so notable today? The companies that reside here, for sure. The following companies either started in Silicon Valley or have their main corporate office here: Apple, Alphabet (Google, YouTube, Android), Meta (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp), Hewlett Packard (HP), Oracle, Intel, Cisco Systems, Broadcom, Adobe, eBay, Visa, Wells Fargo, Chevron, Alien Technology, Netflix, Cerebras, Nvidia, PayPal, Western Digital, and the Aha! Company. These places employ millions of people in total and have become massive in not just America but in the entire world today. Big technology companies literally put this territory on the map.