“In the next century, planet earth will don an electronic skin. It will use the Internet as a scaffold to support and transmit its sensations. This skin is already being stitched together….. “. This comment from Harvard’s Cherry Murray, Dean of Engineering symbolises the foundation on which the FuturICT project is to be built. In essence, complexity theory suggests that human systems evolve like biological systems from the bottom up but that interventions are required to make sure that our own ability to evolve such systems meets sustainable limits and enables an optimum quality of life. In world of electronic sensing at every level, the potential for getting things badly wrong as well as reaching for what might be brilliantly right is greater than at any time hitherto. FuturICT proposes to realise these quests by using complexity theory to develop new designs for societal systems that meet these goals through contemporary information and communications technologies. This is one of several papers in the special topics section of the European Physical Journal that traces out this mission and suggests ways forward. Get the paper here. Some are open access and click here to see the contents of this issue
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