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Social Challenges, Social Strength

Social Challenges, Social Strength

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Social challenges arise from differences in opportunities, monetary means, or societal status. Focusing on tackling these challenges is one (important) way of looking into the future. Another is to focus on what constitutes our social strength and how we can nurse what brings us together rather than what separates us. This theme looks at both – the challenges and the opportunities which lie in the future of our social systems.

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Supported by The European Commission

MOVING (Mountain Valorization through Interconnectedness and Green Growth)

European mountain areas play a central role in the well-being of many highly populated European regions. The big question is how these mountain areas are being impacted by climate change. The EU-funded MOVING project will build capacities and co-develop policy frameworks across Europe. It will establish new or upscaled value chains to boost resilience and sustainability of mountain areas. The first step will be to screen traditional and emerging value chains in all European mountain areas. The next step will involve in-depth assessment of vulnerability and resilience of land use, production systems and value chains in 23 mountain regions. The project will use a virtual research environment to promote online interactions amongst actors and new tools to ensure information is accessible by different audiences.
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Supported by The European Commission

How will we disgust our descendants?

It would be short-sighted to assume that we, as humanity, have reached such a level of maturity that our descendants will not find some aspects of our – apparently civilised – everyday life repulsive and sad.  So we asked 60 futurists from around the world: “What will we disgust our descendants with?” Many of the submitted ideas are already present in public discourse and confirm areas in which we need to change. But we were especially interested in novel barbarisms that humanity is still largely oblivious to. The resulting infographic shows the futurists’ answers grouped into 93 contemporary barbarisms ranked in a public vote according to how eye-opening they are.
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MUSAE

MUSAE aims to set up a Human-Centred Factory Model, based on the Design Future Art-driven (DFA) method, and integrate it into a (European) Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) network, to support companies in guiding strategic digital technology innovation and address future challenges in the food domain to improve people and planet wellbeing.  MUSAE will establish a deep connection with the S+T+ARTS ecosystem, bringing together expertise in design, art, nutrition and wellbeing, and human-machine interaction. MUSAE will run 20 S+T+ARTS residencies involving 20 artists and 10 tech companies working with 3 main technologies – Artificial Intelligence, Wearables, and Robotics – to envision 10 future scenarios for technologies application and design 10 prototypes, thus opening up new markets and innovations. To validate replicability, MUSAE will set up and activate one Factory within the DIH partner and create the Factory Model Pack and the Label that will allow other DIHs to adopt it.
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Rapid Exploration: Rising Social Confrontations And Their Implications For Transitions

This rapid exploration is part of the Foresight towards the 2nd Strategic Plan of Horizon Europe project. Different social groups have linked their ambitions and beliefs – from various emancipatory goals to the “great reset” – to this movement and re-interpreted it in line with their world views. Consequently, the tone in the echo chambers of social media is getting rougher, and nobody can tell what a subjective opinion is or what is reliable information. Rational political discourse is getting increasingly difficult. Polarisation is growing along many conflict lines. When politically incorrect words are used, people are immediately put in a particular political corner, even if they only want to point out real problems. The art of finding political compromises is reaching its limits, and there is growing and even violent opposition against democracy. About this topic DRIVERS AND BARRIERS One enabling driver of this development is undoubtedly the pervasive embedding of digital devices in our environment and the omnipresence of social media. Algorithms help to create false and fake news. There is a lack of reliability of news, and even trust in science is declining, not to speak of governments. However, there are more substantive controversies underlying these developments: people and stakeholders feel that only some voices are heard in policy debates, based on elite favouritism rather than the quality of arguments; the gap between elites and marginalised groups is widening; critical opinions get suppressed. This is coupled with increasing inequalities resulting in social divide and mistrust. (Multinational) companies make use of the widespread sense of uncertainty and further polarise public opinion for the sake of marketing. Increasing inequality, marginalisation and political polarisation (right/left/green/brown) have led populists and extremist groups to undermine the green transition movements. These political partisan groups try to benefit from the visibility of the transition agenda to spread their fake news and beliefs. The political elite is disconnected from the people, resulting in mistrust, polemics, and taunts for many people. Consequently, people reconnect in smaller groups in real life and form ‘tribes’ in their respective echo chambers in virtual space, sharing and confirming their distinctive world views and value settings FUTURES Proactive responses to social inequalities in the EU What if social inequalities in all places are starting to be tackled because they endanger society as a whole? What if social tensions give rise to a deep institutional change? What if citizens find alternative ways of self-governance which work? What if social tensions lead to a responsibility rise in some groups? What if society self-organises into diverse groups (possibly including also communities of researchers based in the same location?) Further strengthening of social inequalities in the EU What if there are institutional mechanisms at work that would translate inequalities into a real risk for the union? What if disbelief, distrust and ignorance accelerate the erosion of public institutions? What if a government becomes inactive because of social confrontations (e.g. no more fight against climate change)? What if trust in government is lost as policies are perceived as unfair? What if social confrontation leads to violent societies where the government cannot regulate violence (e.g. riots, civil war) anymore? What if the public engagement of citizens stops? Regarding the role of science What if science is not regarded as an essential EU policy affair any longer? What if science and research are privatised? What if EU S&T policy turns into an affair for corporate elites only; an affair that does not care about inequalities? What if scientific movements spearhead the fight for a more cohesive and equal society)?
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Deep Dive: The emergence of global commons: A new opportunity for science, business, and governance

This deep dive is part of the Foresight towards the 2nd Strategic Plan of Horizon Europe project. The concept of the global commons refers to resource domains that fall outside national jurisdiction, to which all have access, including high seas, airspace, outer space, and cyberspace. Given the growing significance of these domains and related resources for states and other global and local players across a range of purposes, defining the concept of the global commons has become more complex. The Global Commons Alliance network of concerned organisations refers to two definitions of the concept. The first is based on geopolitics, where the global commons are areas whose potential economic resources lie beyond national jurisdiction: the atmosphere, the high seas, Antarctica, and outer space. The second definition has its roots more in economics and how shared resources can be overused by some at the expense of others, regardless of national jurisdiction. The strategic access and use of resource domains for military/commercial purposes put pressure on their status. Recent geopolitical developments highlight the need for exploring appropriate forms of global governance or stewardship to ensure responsible (sustainable) management to benefit present and future generations. About this topic This deep dive aims to address the following questions: What constitutes a global commons? How do global commons differ? How is the concept of global commons likely to evolve up to 2040? Adapting a taxonomy of global commons for the emerging geopolitical, environmental, and economic context. What are the main emerging disruptors of global commons up to 2040? What could change and upset established global commons regimes? How can laws be introduced and implemented in emerging global commons? The emphasis is on geopolitics and how legal frameworks can survive technological change. How can innovation reinforce the commons? How is the economics of common property evolving (from Hardin's very influential work to the massive critique of Hardin by Elinor Ostrom)? linking to major policy debates such as privatisation. Can Ostrom’s approach be scaled up to the level of states? and extended to the common property of the atmosphere or oceans? What would be necessary for such a large-scale negotiation process? How can we govern the commons as a different type of ownership? The emergence of global commons-orientation in innovation? In particular mission-oriented innovation. Exploring the rights and personality of ecosystems and other entities as right holders. Ecological services as transversal. How can we make the global commons work? - the need for cooperative behaviour if global commons and sustainability are to be achieved. Multilateralism 2.0. and emerging role of science diplomacy up to 2040.  Ukraine war as an epochal war: the dangers of the war (state of permanent cold war) for acting seriously on the global commons. Potential split with China and new hegemonies in Africa (e.g Belt and Road debt). The aim is to identify cross impacts of the global commons areas and key drivers.
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Supported by The European Commission

Futures Garden

Futures Garden: Pioneering Policy Innovation through Speculative DesignAt Futures Garden, we embark on a visionary journey to redefine policy-making for Europe's future. Our unique platform collaborates with leading futurists, innovative designers, and engaged EU citizens to envision a Europe enriched by diverse potential futures, each with its own opportunities and challenges. Our mission? To revolutionize policy creation by intertwining speculative design with creativity, empathy, and analytical insight. Our four-step approach ensures a comprehensive and impactful exploration: Horizon Scanning: We dive into cutting-edge ideas and emerging trends, identifying opportunities that could shape Europe's future. Speculative Design: Our creative process transforms abstract concepts into tangible, thought-provoking scenarios, making future possibilities more accessible and engaging. Citizen Engagement: We delve into the societal implications of these speculative scenarios, gathering diverse perspectives and insights from EU citizens. Policy Reflection: The final step involves analyzing the potential impact of these innovative ideas on policy-making, ensuring that future EU policies are forward-thinking, inclusive, and impactful.Creating fictional artifacts through speculative design Futures Garden aims at creating inspiring alternative future scenarios through the use of fictional future artifacts that invite to reflection and debate. The pilot project took place in 2023 and addressed two themes: “Dealing with future selves” explores new ways of being, individually and collectively, examines new practices and technologies that enhance self-reflection and sharing of emotions, which help shape our choices in life and nurture a renewed sense of togetherness.“Extending human perception to new scales” explores the richness of non-human intelligences, expanding our attention and appreciation for their unique sensory worlds, their “umwelt” – what they “feel” and how they “think”. In doing so it departs from the human-centric worldview towards a deeper understanding and celebration of life on Earth.The resulting fictional artifacts took the form of short, thought-provoking movies – Inwards and Symbiotic – which render the imagined future scenarios more tangible, immersive and engaging. The full movies will become available for the wider public in June 2024. The teasers below give a glimpse into these future imaginaries: Inwards teaser Symbiotic teaser Futures Garden initiated by the EU Policy LabCommissioned by the DG for Research & Innovation through the Foresight on Demand framework contractSupported by the European Commission Partners:Austrian Institute of TechnologyFraunhofer ISIFutures2allFuturlabInstitutul de Prospectiva (Lead of pilot project)ModemNormals
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Supported by The European Commission

Deep Dive: Social Confrontations

This deep dive is part of the European R&I foresight and public engagement for Horizon Europe project. A number of tendencies seem to conspire together to threaten societies with forms of social dysfunction and perhaps breakdown. Social cohesion and social capital have declined very substantially over the last generation or so. So too have levels of trust – not only in how much people feel they can trust others, but also public trust in government and in major institutions.  Many occupations command much less respect than they used to, including politicians, the media, the police, banks and big business.   At the same time democracy is increasingly threatened by factors such as growing political polarisation, caused not only by the increasing numbers of people who believe in conspiracy theories, but also by the growing importance of money in politics, by the growth of inequality and the rise of populism and the far right. To this mix will be added high levels of disruption caused by the development of AI and other new technologies. This expert group on social confrontations is intended to draw attention to issues which may give rise to disruptive social confrontations in the future within the EU – regardless of the parties involved.  Indeed, factors such as the political complexion of governments may change whether a dispute is between social movements and civic authorities, within governments and parliamentary assemblies, or between social groups. We have tried to identify the likely root causes of disruptive confrontations while acknowledging that most forms of confrontation are likely to be multi-causal. Four scenarios depict diverging paths how the development of social confrontations in the EU might shape our future society. From these scenarios we derived policy implications with a link to issues for research and innovation.

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Home is where the fire is
Home is where the fire is
Home is where the fire is

Anonymous

The combination of individuals together can hardly ever become one, but they can create one. One language, city, music, dance, one Europe. People all have the desire to appear, to join, to create. In 2040, the public: public space, the being together of people, digital space allows these activities, asking people to be vivid, collected. To be the moving matter in the public space of continuity, of something bigger than ourselves. The world shows herself to us in public space, and we ourselves are elements of that world, appearing for the others. In the public realm we recharge our home spheres with the dynamity of others, strangers, the freedom of movement and the space for chance. This public vibrancy, the public heart, or hestia, is the fire around which the community is built. In our private domain we can depart that public world of appearances and comfort ourselves with the warmth, the fire, hestia around which our private lives are built, of our personal controllable surroundings. I imagine a future where the public and private realm are distinct but balanced and in which the public is providing us with a feeling of collectiveness, togetherness, in which we all contribute to sustain that collective. (Hestia, the Greek goddess of the heart and fire, was both the foundation of domestic life, the fireplace, the heart of the house and the public fire, the heart of the city. In earlier times fire was essential to establish a society or community. In my vision Hestia denotes the underlying similarity of the public and the private while maintaining the distinction of the two.)

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Living in harmony with nature
Living in harmony with nature
Living in harmony with nature

Anonymous

I would definitely like to see more people taking action for the environment. I will likely not be around when Earth will start deteriorating but my grandchildren will. We need more powerful legislation and more people following it.

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Green Helsinki A (Vihreä Helsinki A)
Green Helsinki A (Vihreä Helsinki A)
Green Helsinki A (Vihreä Helsinki A)

Anonymous

Wing When the light breaks through the blinds, a sunny summer morning. I open the window and blinds. Warm summer wind on my face. I eat the morning tooth, the teeth of the bees and the clothes of the Pue. Nappia still refuses a refrigerator and works in the direction. The city is green and I note that the new vegetation has been planted close to my home during the night. There is no evidence of litter or other waste. Improved and increased waste bins have contributed to the cleanliness of the streets and the overall comfort of the city. Traffic noise is quiet, making my presence algae and energetic. Moving home to see how the construction of a new residential area is progressing. A few modern houses have already been built. Old houses, which have been restored and renovated, have also been taken into account in the construction process. Mobility in the city is easy and distances are short. A new cafeteria has just been opened close to my home, so I can click on the stretches of it and a few of us for me and friends. We have agreed to a meeting in a near-nature park. On the Juos bus, I am already slightly overdue. I arrive in the park and set together to eat my imported fins and change my fams. Oliver In the morning, I won’t worry to the sound of the abrupt room and I bore a badly sleeping night in my mind. I will quickly work with myself on the morning, and I will leave to walk. I feel relaxed as soon as I go out, as there are parks designed by the city around. The streets are also clean and the sewers don’t pull. I will continue my walking to the nearest shop, where I seek a cup of coffee to refresh. I then go to work and come back with a new electric bus that the city added to improve carbon neutrality. I still go to home quickly and leave towards the meeting place. Nea In the morning, the sound of the accelerator clock is raised. As I rise, I note that the basket of dirt laundry is already full, so I will first decide to leave the laundry. Apartments do not have their own laundry tools, but a laundry box is available on the basement of the house company. When I get wipers placed on the machine, I will see the contents of the refrigerator from my phone. The materials seem to be an early morning, so that they are back in the direction. Raw materials of animal origin can only be obtained from a small number of places. Society has moved almost completely into plant-based food. The fields that were at the time to produce beef cattle feed now produce food for people. Aamupalani is made up of vegetables collected from a house company’s vegetable land and bread from a waste bakery. Before my departure, I will still export litter to recycling. Practically no waste is generated when recycling has been carried out. Recycling points have also been added to the streets, so there is no need to collect litter up to home. The increasing number of recycling points and guidance on their use has made the environment clean, as people know how to recycle. There is still an old architecture in the centre of Helsinki. Efforts have been made to restore old buildings similar to those in the past, while taking into account accessibility. Between buildings, trees have been planted to reduce noise. The rags are not covered with asphalt, but the grass is allowed to grow freely in order to provide a better habitat for planted trees. Distances are short, so it is easy to travel by walking. However, our meeting venue is on the other side of the city. Transport is in fact fully electrified. With the reduction of emissions, transport is also much more quieter. I walk to our meeting venue through a new district, which is still being built. The completed buildings are modern. I arrive at our meeting venue, which is a close-to-nature park on the periphery of the city. I see my old friend and, once I arrived, will start to change the famous characters.

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Green spaces and restoration B (Viheralueita ja entisöintiä B)
Green spaces and restoration B (Viheralueita ja entisöintiä B)
Green spaces and restoration B (Viheralueita ja entisöintiä B)

Anonymous

Green spaces and restoration My mild colour gives me my sleep, and my bed does not agree to stop her clocks before I am fully conscious and able. The AI that controls my home has already started to produce a morning baby, opened the windows covered with solar panels in the morning sun to illuminate my home, and filled my apartment with a reinforced and filtered bird liver. I see trams flagged out of the fifth floor window on the ground. The world seems seismic. The dark wooden walls of the nearest neighbour house surrounded the sun around 100 metres away. The light of the shallow sun fills the surrounding corners and illuminates the green roofs and solar panels of lower houses in spring. The Askella stairs to the ground floor where I meet my friend. Four-day working weeks are new normal, so there is no urgency on Wednesdays. We have decided to attend and contribute to the restoration of the Royal Region. The restoration of the Royal District is a cross-municipal future project that creates a kind of historic pilgrimage from the royal road. Efforts are being made to restore the historical and natural sites and values of the region, but, as part of a direct democracy, there is an ever greater opportunity for ordinary people to influence the development of the region through their aspirations and perspectives. Algorithms and hundreds of workers bring municipal affairs to the attention of people, and locals act as specialists in their regions. We will stick with my friend through the flower of trees towards a tram stop because, although public transport is hardly ever to wait for more than 10 minutes, we don’t want to delay the road away from a hard ride sporadic. We won’t worry and some of the neighbours of the nearby Tutu region raise their jaws courteously when we enter. Public transport has been free of charge for many years. Tram is bypassing a few shallow houses in our neighbourhood, before and soon under the eating blood of our nearby forest. The vibration caused by rail traffic was controlled by electromagnetic buoyancy, allowing the rails to be placed under the forest floor in the tunnel without disturbing the surrounding natural environment. As soon as the wild zone was fully dedicated to nature, it started to improve at a surprise pace. The Green Routes have received increased attention in large provincial plans, and motorways and settlements have been forced to move away from forests that cross the landscape, like the network. Adventitious cereal fields and a large number of grasslands have been preserved as part of the historical landscape and biodiversity, but the lion’s share of food is now produced by bacterial cultures in large centres further away from settlement. The tram diving silently from one tunnel to the other of the forest zone, and we will soon emerge. With our hologramm, we invite both city bicycles to be located while we start walking through the living area towards the venue of the National Assembly, and will soon see them as a luxury against us. When we whipped some of the afforested plots of parks, we cross a small local, life-threatening and restored stream where a young pair on another shore is on a picnic. When fishing against the bridge’s handrail, an older neck that is hardly even perceptible when we skipped him. Far from the school’s clock, pupils have not yet been released more than two days a week, although Wednesday is always dedicated to personal well-being. Inside the Hengitä, spring and smell to my friend.

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