When thought of at a distance, many of today’s societal challenges stem from waste, inadequate use of resources, lack of integrated solutions and effort replication. In addition already until 2030 the population of the world will likely grow to an amount of 8.5bn people (+1.2bn vs. 2015), rising to 9.7bn in 2050 and 11.2bn in 2100 according to the actual United Nations predictions1. All of this is leading not only to citizens being unable to maintain their living standards, but most importantly, to what some academics call defuturing. Facing this challenge, societies demand more from less for more, seemingly unsolvable, but which appears to be the point in ancient Greek drama, when such an impenetrable problem is suddenly disentangled by a new element coming onto the play: the ‘Deus ex Machina’.
Figure 1. Interaction of DEM with Society and Economy
Societies are striving for these new elements towards efficiency gains mediated by a symbiotic relationship of humans with technology. We need elements such as these, which are able to deal with complex problems and, at the same time, be transparent to the users, as ‘companions’ who assist in difficult, unknown or just prosaic tasks.
We have devised a robust proposal to begin tackling these challenges in specific target domains. It consists of two research lines, being one built on top of the other. The first one will research and create building blocks, from tangible to intangible elements, while the second will put these building blocks at the service of pressing societal needs in European and African countries.