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Article

Unintended Side Effects of Digital Transition: Perspectives of Japanese Experts

1
Policy Alternatives Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku 113-0033, Japan
2
Department of Computer Sciences, School of Computing, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Yokohama 226-8502, Japan
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Komaba Organization for Educational Excellence, College of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Meguro-ku 153-8902, Japan
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Institute for Datability Science, Osaka University, Suita-shi 565-0871, Japan
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Graduate School of Public Policy (GraSPP), The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku 113-0033, Japan
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Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku 113-0033, Japan
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Department Knowledge and Information Management, Danube University of Krems, Krems 3500, Austria
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Department of Environmental Systems Sciences, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2193; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122193
Received: 8 October 2017 / Revised: 13 November 2017 / Accepted: 14 November 2017 / Published: 28 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Digital Environment)
The core of the digital transition is the representation of all kinds of real-world entities and processes and an increasing number of cognitive processes by digital information and algorithms on computers. These allow for seemingly unlimited storage, operation, retrieval, and transmission capacities that make digital tools economically available for all domains of society and empower human action, particularly combined with real-world interfaces such as displays, robots, sensors, 3D printers, etc. Digital technologies are general-purpose technologies providing unprecedented potential benefits for sustainability. However, they will bring about a multitude of potential unintended side effects, and this demands a transdisciplinary discussion on unwanted societal changes as well as a shift in science from analog to digital modeling and structure. Although social discourse has begun, the topical scope and regional coverage have been limited. Here, we report on an expert roundtable on digital transition held in February 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. Drawing on a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, our discussions highlight the importance of cultural contexts and the need to bridge local and global conversations. Although Japanese experts did mention side effects, their focus was on how to ensure that AI and robots could coexist with humans. Such a perspective is not well appreciated everywhere outside Japan. Stakeholder dialogues have already begun in Japan, but greater efforts are needed to engage a broader collection of experts in addition to stakeholders to broaden the social debate. View Full-Text
Keywords: artificial intelligence; robotics; big data; risk governance; unintended side effects; public engagement artificial intelligence; robotics; big data; risk governance; unintended side effects; public engagement
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sugiyama, M.; Deguchi, H.; Ema, A.; Kishimoto, A.; Mori, J.; Shiroyama, H.; Scholz, R.W. Unintended Side Effects of Digital Transition: Perspectives of Japanese Experts. Sustainability 2017, 9, 2193. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122193

AMA Style

Sugiyama M, Deguchi H, Ema A, Kishimoto A, Mori J, Shiroyama H, Scholz RW. Unintended Side Effects of Digital Transition: Perspectives of Japanese Experts. Sustainability. 2017; 9(12):2193. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122193

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sugiyama, Masahiro, Hiroshi Deguchi, Arisa Ema, Atsuo Kishimoto, Junichiro Mori, Hideaki Shiroyama, and Roland W. Scholz. 2017. "Unintended Side Effects of Digital Transition: Perspectives of Japanese Experts" Sustainability 9, no. 12: 2193. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122193

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