List of Key Challenges

The List of Key Challenges identifies cross-cutting issues that combine societal relevance with ICT fields of research and innovation. This resource provides a problem-oriented view, focusing on shared challenges and issues.

  • The key challenges defined that will be the focus of the HubIT stakeholder network activities.
  • Cross-cutting issues that combine societal relevance with ICT fields of research and innovation These resource provides a catalogue of such challenges relevant in ICT and SSH. Each of these key challenges will be expanded and emphasize shared concerns among stakeholders.
Personalised care and mobile health

Better care often starts with a better diagnosis, based on the patient’s health history and current situation. ICT helps health professionals to improve the accuracy and the timeliness of their diagnosis and to fine-tune treatments to the patient’s specific needs and profile. ICT can help provide better and cheaper services for health and ageing

Managing health data to ensure quality care to everyone, everywhere

Providing patients with needed treatment, wherever they are, is one of biggest challenges for the European healthcare system. ICT can contribute to ensure that healthcare is affordable and accessible to all. It helps open up safe and high quality healthcare to everyone, everywhere in Europe, even in remote areas. The collection and analysis of health data and the secure access to these data improve diagnosis and prevention. It also enables personalised treatment and it grants patients the opportunity to monitor their wellbeing status themselves.

Living independently and involved in society

Active involvement in society of elderly, disabled and people with physical impairments starts by improving their living conditions in their own environment, and facilitating a social life. This also has a positive impact on their families and caregivers, enabling them to rebalance the time devoted to care in favour of quality aspects, nurturing the relationship with older persons. This requires the change of organizational models and personal behaviours by using ICT devices, sensors and information systems

To avoid growing inequality related to AI

As smart machines replace human workers in jobs, reproducible goods and services could be produced at lower marginal cost and become almost free. Productivity gains and economic growth could thus be disconnected from job creation and well-being. However, a no-job growth jeopardises public budgets and social safety net systems. A drop in employment would be echoed by a proportional drop in the tax base and government revenues. Likewise, employment-based pension systems are threatened. As workers may be left without salary, income redistribution policies will become more central to future social cohesion. The challenge could be of an unprecedented scale to avoid growing inequality.

Increasing demand for knowledge workers who are able to develop AI or to perform AI-enabled tasks

New skills needs are expected to emerge. Education systems should ensure that young people are equipped with the right skills to perform in tomorrow’s AI-enhanced environment. Training systems will help smooth the transition and ensure people can follow the unpredictable learning curve of AI.

The integration of smart robots into the private sphere will alter human behaviours

The use of AI for all human purposes raises several ethical and philosophical issues around human life, the possible de-humanisation of society, the role humans may play in a new AI-enhanced society, and a new human relation to time, for instance through a rebalancing of work and free time

Preventing massive job destruction

AI will have high impact on employment although its scale and nature are still uncertain. Humans will most likely be substituted by AI-enabled robots in “dirty, dangerous, and demanding” jobs, as well as in those that are repetitive and labour-intensive. But advances in smart systems will also enable automation of some knowledge work.

Opening access to public research results for a more inclusive growth

There is a call for new ways of doing research. Open access to scientific knowledge, especially for low-income countries and especially in fields of general interest (e.g. health), may be a key driver of more inclusive growth. Moreover, it could generate more research and more opportunities for domestic and global participation in the research.

Security and privacy related to the IoT.

Hackers may be able to remotely take over connected objects such as the electricity grid and driverless cars or manipulate IoT-generated data. The reliability of the network is a major issue, since human lives may depend on successful, sometimes real-time transfers of data. The key issue of consent and perhaps the notion of privacy itself are also challenged by the near-continuous flow of sensitive data that the billions of ubiquitous sensors will produce (OECD, 2015h). Furthermore, artefacts in the IoT can become extensions of the human body and mind. Human autonomy and agency may be shifted or delegated to the IoT, with potential risks for users’ privacy and security (IERC, 2015).

New medical imaging methodologies

The new medical imaging methodologies are opening enormous possibilities for diagnosis and scientific investigation at the same time are posing new epistemological, ethical and validity problems e.g., bodily properties that can be visualized in a one-toone scale are emphasized in favor of those which cannot be locally and distinguishably represented within a picture, the pictures may contain artifacts stemming from technology itself or from the interaction between the technical depiction and the living body.

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