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.
Careful inspection of the legal and ethical aspects of ICT as there are not enough guidelines available in this field

It is necessary to address issues like: - privacy of copyrighted materials, software, data, music, video etc. at large scales. - Plagiarism, illegal uploading, downloading, copying, stealing and misuse of intellectual property. - Cyber crimes, forgery, sabotage, hacking and loss. - Contents like pornography, spam, worms and viruses.

Weaker social mobility and a persisting digital divide

Discrimination enabled by data analytics may result in greater efficiencies, but may also limit an individual’s ability to modify path-dependent trajectories and escape socio-economic lock-ins. In addition, a new digital divide is arising from growing information asymmetries and related power shifts from individuals to organisations, from traditional businesses to data-driven businesses, and from government to data-driven businesses (OECD, 2015i). Social cohesion and economic resilience could be undermined, especially in developing economies.

To ensure integrity and free thinking

Big data analytics offers a unique possibility to combine personal data with pattern recognition programmes, enabling the generation of new information and knowledge about people (ITF, 2014). However, the same data and same programmes could serve to manipulate people, distort their perception of reality and influence their choices (Glancy, 2012; Helbing, 2015; IERC, 2015; Piniewski et al., 2011). Individual autonomy, free thinking and free will would be challenged, potentially undermining the foundations of modern democratic societies.

Better Integrated care and empowerment of patients

Today, social care and healthcare services are often delivered separately by different providers in a fragmented system leading often to inefficiency. ICT technologies can integrate and coordinate the management, organisation and delivery of health and care services related to diagnosis, treatment, care, rehabilitation and health promotion. ICT technologies can also stimulate changes in lifestyle, empowerment of patients and relatives and better collaboration among the actors at different levels of the care chain are key parts of this process.

Fall prevention

One in three people aged over 65 is at risk of falling and one in two for those over 80. Falls often have very serious psychological and physical consequences, including a real risk of fatality. ICT technologies can provide solutions that help older adults and people with disabilities to walk and move safely and prevent/management falls.

Robotics for elderly care

Elderly people often live alone at home, even if they have relatives and/or external caregivers assisting them. As they get older the need for some form of home care or assistance tends to become stronger, but it is not always possible for their families to meet these needs. Robots might play the role of “shadow” assistants, helping the parents and unburdening the children.

Smart grids for efficient use of resources

Connecting ICT devices to smart grids is another source of energy savings which is considered as one of the sustainable solutions to invest in now and for the future. Smart grids could provide solutions for the decarbonisation of the economy.

Electronic waste management

ICT related waste is becoming an issue in a digital society where each citizen produces 17 kg of electric and electronic equipment waste annually. Digital technologies can make the management of waste streams more efficient. ICT design tools to optimise logistics and electronic tagging of materials are promising research areas that will allow to recover precious materials and detect illegal shipments or unauthorised treatment of waste. Europe’s strong position in the global recycling market can be a source of competitiveness and growth given our reliance on imports of scarce “high-tech” metals. In the coming years, new projects can be envisaged to complement the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials

Smart intelligent cities for efficient use of resources

To reflect on how best to design and adapt cities into smart intelligent and sustainable environments. This will enable innovative, integrated and efficient technologies to roll out and enter the market more easily, while placing cities at the centre of innovation.

Saving energy in public buildings and spaces

The focus is energy reduction in public spaces and building (schools, hospitals, offices, etc..). To develop ICT-based service to drastically reduce the energy consumption of newly built buildings and of existing ones needing renovation, while increasing well-being and comfort of end-users and visitors.

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