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Sustainable Development Goals in a Human-Centered Cyber-Physical Society

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Ecology and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2024) | Viewed by 310

Special Issue Editors

School of Business, FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, Olten, Switzerland
Interests: artificial intelligence; hybrid intelligence combining AI and human; enterprise modelling; alignment of business and IT; digitalization of business processes and knowledge work
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Informatics, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Interests: knowledge management; big data management; digital transformation; human-centered artificial intelligence; Society 5.0
Department of Computer Science, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Interests: applied artificial intelligence applications; advanced modelling and ontologies; design science research

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Following an era of fast-paced evolution of digital technologies, digital disruption and digital transformation, Society 5.0 refers to "A human-centered society that balances economic advancement with the resolution of social problems by a system that highly integrates cyberspace and physical space." As Society 5.0 aims to tackle social challenges and achieve a sustainable, inclusive, people-oriented society, it contributes to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It advocates the adoption of digital technologies to increase global prosperity.

The cyber-physical space consists of interconnected systems and devices, that collect and send data. A human-centered society demands the inclusion of humans when considering applications and interactions in the cyber-physical space. This Special Issue focuses on aspects of interconnectedness and interaction – where the human in this potentially complex interaction is investigated and considered through the application of different lenses and interdisciplinary fields. The aim of this inquiry is to design and develop technology products and services that not only meet human needs but also consider the human experience when engaging in the cyber-physical space and that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.

The fourth industrial revolution remains a hot topic. Technologies are emerging and evolving faster than the capacity of some of our organizations to adapt to and adopt them and demand a nimble response. Furthermore, following the rapid development of connected technologies, which are now highly sophisticated and spread across the globe, Society 5.0 has emerged and brought with it a dramatic societal shift − a vision of the future that hinges on digitalization, human-centered artificial intelligence and trusted sharing of data. Such a human-centered society will require the free flow of data, agile regulation and a strong focus on digital literacy. Gone are the days when an organization considers a digital user interface for the convenience of its operations, systems and integration. Technology should be focusing on reducing the complexity of daily lives and empowering citizens to follow the path of digital transformation.

In 2015, the United Nations (UN) ratified 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) UN SDG Summit, where they raised awareness of global challenges. The purpose of the 17 SDGs is to guide sustainability policies in countries and regions around the world, to be achieved by 2030. The SDGs are ultimately designed to fulfill the UN’s pledge that no one will be left behind, fostering close alignment with the Society 5.0 vision to apply the cyber-physical world to the benefit of society as a whole. The impact on organizations in this context is to share common goals and plan environmentally sound business activities, with global perspectives, from the outset so as to achieve sustainability in the true sense, and in some instances to restructure the business.

Therefore, advancing technology needs to become more human-oriented to help to streamline, simplify, evaluate and filter, and to better understand human needs, emotions and human behavior. The overall objective of this issue is therefore to investigate humanizing design experiences that may be intangible, but very powerful. It must be considered that design is executed for the impactful human experience by ensuring that a human–machine engagement is as easy and emotionally connected as a conversation between two friends. The implementation of the Society 5.0 vision therefore might simultaneously yield social, economic, and ecological benefits that enhance a society’s sustainability and stability. This Special Issue will investigate these aspects as it relates to sustainable development goals in a human-centered cyber-physical society.

Prof. Dr. Knut Hinkelmann
Dr. Hanlie Smuts
Dr. Aurona Gerber
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Society 5.0
  • sustainable development goals
  • digitalization
  • human-centeredness

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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