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.
ETICA (Ethical Issues of Emerging ICT Applications)

The ETICA project identified ethical issues of emerging ICT applications. The project highlighted 11 technologies which are: Affective computing, Ambient intelligence, Artificial intelligence, Bioelectronics, Cloud computing, Future internet, Human/machine symbiosis, Neuroelectronics, Quantum computing, Robotics and Virtual / Augmented Reality. It also described ethical issues related to these technologies. Furthermore, the project described the methodology used to arrive at these findings. On the basis of the identified technologies and their ethical aspects, the ETICA project evaluated and ranked them. It investigated current and possible ways of implementing governance that are conducive to addressing the ethics of emerging ICTs.

Ethical and Legal Challenges of Rapidly Emerging Technologies

Can artificial intelligence improve the world in which we are living? Are emerging technologies posing a threat to society or are they offering viable solutions to current challenges?


Momentous advances in nanotechnology, cybernetics, synthetic biology, and artificial intelligence raise significant ethical issues concerning the nature of such technologies, as well as their safety, appropriateness, and impact on what it means to be human in a technological society. The articles in these sections explore the technologies themselves, as well as address the ethical issues and societal impact of these emerging technologies.

What influence will the continuing march of technology, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) have on where we work and how we work?

We are living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks and jobs, and changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. These momentous changes raise huge organisational, talent and HR challenges – at a time when business leaders are already wrestling with unprecedented risks, disruption and political and societal upheaval

Internet of Things

In the next ten years, physical objects, places and even human beings will become more and more embedded with computational devices that can sense, understand and act upon their environment. The proliferation of sensor networks and their integration in the built environment during the coming decade will mean the emergence of a sentient world sensitive and responsive to people’s needs.

Advances that allow patients to interact with their prosthetics and other aids are likely to lead to new ways to connect the able-bodied to machines and computers.

Artificial limbs that connect to the wearer’s nervous system are already being developed. Neural receptors that are able to control mechanical limbs are in use today, significantly improving the quality of life of those who possess them. See, for example, the artificial hand developed by Touch Bionics products/active-prostheses/i-limb-ultra/

Digital divides, democratic participation, and governance

There is no shortage of controversy over what has come to be known as the ‘digital divide’.32 There are those who treat the uneven spread of ICTs and the capabilities to use them as a reflection of a relatively early phase in a diffusion process within the ICT paradigm. In their view, market forces will ensure that these technologies are available and affordable for all.33 The alternative view is that the concept of the digital divide is misleading because it calls too much attention to the technology rather than to whether the distribution of ICTs is a reflection of inequalities that have their origins in society.34 Inasmuch as ICTs can play a role in enabling new forms of participatory democracy it is important to reflect on what ‘participation’ means and whether citizens should be entitled to acquire capabilities that would enable them ‘to be informed and to be heard’, as Couldry suggests. The decisions about what specific resources citizens should be entitled to, and the practicalities of who should provide them, are issues for continuing research and debate. Central research topics in this area include whether ICT networks give rise to new patterns of political power, to the need to develop more effective means of political communication, and to the need for a ‘civic commons in cyberspace’.

Culture, community, and new media literacies

The role of ICTs is examined within this theme in terms of their contribution to the communicative and other resources that are needed for finding and expressing cultural identity, for fostering new kinds of ‘community’ and for mediating experience in ways that foster new kinds of literacies. The approach is consistently to reaffirm the commitment to understanding the relationship between technology and social change as one of mutual determination and therefore one that is crucially dependent on the actions of individuals and institutions in the modern world.

AI in Healthcare

Social challenges include issues related to existing societal norms and attitudes towards the adoption of AI in healthcare. Economic challenges include obstacles concerning profitability and economic sustainability that inhibit the adoption of AI in healthcare. Ethical challenges include challenges related to moral principles and moral considerations implied in the use of AI in healthcare. Political, legal and policy-rated challenges include issues of political principles, legal regulations, and public policy affecting the adoption of AI in healthcare. Organizational and managerial challenges include challenges related to each organization's strategy, human resources, and management practices in the adoption of AI in healthcare. Data challenges include issues related to data quality and quantity, data standards, and database development that affect the AI adoption in healthcare. Technological challenges refer to the nature and characteristics of AI technologies in healthcare, as perceived by each stakeholder.

Managing health data

Up to 50% of European adults search online for health information. The need for widespread online access to accurate, relevant information on diseases and therapies, as well as to personal health data, is essential. The same is true on the research side, where access to wide sets of health data for scientific purposes is vital for making progress in areas such as clinical trials and drugs safety.

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