Foresight is an area within Futures Studies that focuses on critical thinking concerning long term developments, whether within the public sector or in industry and management, and is something of a sub-section of complexity and network science. This book examines developments in foresight methodologies and relates in its greater part to the work done in the context of the COSTA22 network of the EU on Foresight Methodologies. Foresight is a professional practice that supports significant decisions, and as such it needs to be more assured of its claims to knowledge (methodology). Foresight is practiced across many domains and is not the preserve of specialized 'futurists', or indeed of foresight specialists. However, the disciplines of foresight are not well articulated or disseminated across domains, leading to re-inventions and practice that does not make best use of experience in other domains. The methodological development of foresight is an important task that aims at strengthening the pool of the tools available for application, thereby empowering the actors involved in foresight practice. Elaborating further on methodological issues, such as those presented in the present book, enables the actors involved in foresight to begin to critique current practice from this perspective and, thirdly, to begin to design foresight practice. The present trends towards methodological concerns indicates a move from 'given' expert-predicted futures to one in which futures are nurtured through a dialogue among "stakeholders." The book has four parts, each elaborating on a set of aspects of foresight methodologies. After an introductory section, Part II considers theorizing about foresight methodologies. Part III covers system content issues, and Part IV presents foresight tools and approaches.
This book presents a comprehensive overview of the human dimension of social robots by discussing both transnational features and national peculiarities. Addressing several issues that explore the human side of social robots, this book investigates what a social robot is and how we might come to think about social robots in the different areas of everyday life. Organized around three sections that deal with Perceptions and Attitudes to Social Robots, Human Interaction with Social Robots, and Social Robots in Everyday Life, it explores the idea that even if the challenges of robot technologies can be overcome from a technological perspective, the question remains as to what kind of machine we want to have and use in our daily lives. Lessons learned from previous widely adopted technologies, such as smartphones, indicate that robot technologies could potentially be absorbed into the everyday lives of humans in such a way that it is the human that determines the human-machine interaction. In a similar way to how today's information and communication technologies were initially designed for professional/industrial use, but were soon commercialized for the mass market and then personalized by humans in the course of daily practice, the use of social robots is now facing the same revolution of 'domestication. ' In the context of this transformation, which involves the profound embedding of robots in everyday life, the 'human' aspect of social robots will play a major part. This book sheds new light on this highly topical issue, one of the central subjects that will be taught and studied at universities worldwide and that will be discussed widely, publicly and repeatedly in the near future.
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