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    商業 - 科技

    為確保朝覲者安全,沙特舉辦了“黑客馬拉松”

    Daniel Bentley 2019年08月04日

    為了確保來自于160多個國家的游客的安全和舒適,沙特政府在生物識別和區塊鏈等領域投入了數十億美元。

    超過2.1萬名程序員和創業者參加了2018年度的“麥加朝圣黑客馬拉松”。圖片來源:Amer Hilabi—AFP/Getty Images

    很多人將硅谷比作科技界的圣城麥加,然而鮮為人知的是,在伊斯蘭教的圣地麥加也有一個 “小硅谷”。今年8月,麥加將迎來200多萬名朝圣的游客(只要經濟和身體條件允許,每個穆斯林一生都至少要來麥加朝覲一次,而全球至少有18億穆斯林)。對于沙特政府來說,要確保這些朝圣者的安全,可并不是一件容易的事情。2015年,麥加曾經發生過一起朝覲者踩踏事件,造成2000余名朝覲者喪生。

    在此次事故之后,為了確保來自于160多個國家的游客的安全和舒適,沙特政府在生物識別和區塊鏈等領域投入了數十億美元。去年,沙特還舉辦了首屆“麥加朝圣黑客馬拉松”,程序員和創業者們要在36個小時里,開發能夠簡化朝覲流程的應用和服務。這次比賽的獲獎者是一支來自于沙特的團隊,其成員全部為女性。她們設計了一款智能手機應用程序,可以幫助不會說阿拉伯語的人在沒有互聯網連接的情況下翻譯道路指示牌。這支團隊最后獲得了50萬美元的獎金,用于購買她們15%的股權。

    今年,沙特政府朝覲部還在試點推廣一個智能卡項目,大約2.5萬名朝圣者將使用該智能卡存儲他們的身份、醫療和聯系信息,并允許智能卡追蹤他們的位置。通過對相關地理位置數據進行建模,沙特有關部門便可以更好地預測人群的移動,以避免再次發生致命的踩踏事件。

    目前,由于沙特政府對朝覲者的人數做了限制,要想讓在世的每個穆斯林有生之年都去麥加朝覲一次,得花上580多年。不過沙特政府希望到2030年前,將麥加的接待能力提高到年均3000萬名游客。要想實現這一雄心勃勃的計劃,在科技上進行投資是很有必要的。(財富中文網)

    本文另一版本登載于《財富》雜志2019年8月刊,標題為《現代朝覲者》。

    譯者:樸成奎

    It’s often said that Silicon Valley is a tech Mecca, but the actual Islamic holy site has technology chops of its own. More than 2 million Muslims will visit the Saudi Arabian city in August to perform the Hajj pilgrimage—a journey every one of Islam’s 1.8 billion adherents must make during their lifetime, if financially and physically able. Keeping those people safe is no small task for the kingdom’s government: In 2015, more than 2,000 pilgrims were killed in a stampede in Mecca’s Mina neighborhood.

    Since then, the Saudi government has invested billions in everything from biometrics to blockchain to keep visitors from more than 160 countries safe and comfortable during their visit. Last year, Saudi Arabia hosted its first “Hajj Hackathon”—with coders and entrepreneurs competing over a 36-hour period to build apps and services to streamline the pilgrimage. The winners were an all-female Saudi team who designed a smartphone app to help non-Arabic speakers translate signage without an Internet connection. They received $500,000 in exchange for a 15% equity stake.

    This year, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is piloting a smart-card initiative with 25,000 pilgrims that will store their identity, medical information, and contact information—and track their location. By modeling this location data, it’s hoped, Saudi authorities will be better able to predict crowd movements and avoid another deadly crush.

    Currently, visitor numbers are restricted, and it would take more than 580 years for every living Muslim to visit Mecca for Hajj. But Saudi Arabia hopes it can allow 30 million pilgrims annually by 2030, and technology investment is vital to meeting that ambitious goal.

    A version of this article appears in the August 2019 issue of Fortune with the headline "The Modern Pilgrim."

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