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The research at ITEC from 2017 to 2019 consisted of four projects based on the objectives set forth in the Research Philosophy. ITEC Research Fellows served as the core members of each unit. The projects were undertaken by invited researchers from various academic disciplines, including doctoral students both in and outside the university.

Project1:Social Impact of Revolutionary Automotive Technologies

Autonomous Driving Systems have attracted global attention since Google started conducting experiments of self-driving cars on public roads.

In Japan, public interest in autonomous driving is also high, in view of its potential to eliminate traffic accidents, provide mobility to those with limited access to vehicles (e.g., elderly persons), and cope with the shortage of bus and truck drivers in Japan’s aging society.

This project is studying the social impact of revolutionary automotive technologies including autonomous driving systems, policies to promote the spread of technologies in society, and social systems to take full advantage of such new technologies.

Project2:Local Communities and Revolutionary Technologies

Local communities serve as a buffer between people and government. Community ties help enhance local security against crime and disasters, and also help reduce the social isolation of those with difficulties, providing essential information for living and passing on traditions and culture.

In urban areas, however, the importance of local communities is not recognized until individuals face immediate difficulties. This is because the core commercial areas (shopping streets) have been declining, single households and population migration have increased, and it has become easier to form functional groups as the Internet has spread. Moreover, key persons who have sustained local communities have been decreasing.

The roles of local communities are better recognized in rural areas than urban areas. Nevertheless, it has become increasingly difficult to keep local communities functioning due to aging and population decline.

Even though local communities based on local ties have been declining, they are the last communities to which individuals can belong until they die. With the rapid aging of society, it is important to review the roles of local communities, make these communities more sustainable, and pass on the roles of such communities.

This project is studying the roles of local communities in the future and examining how revolutionary technologies (e.g., high-performance sensor and positioning technologies, various data processing technologies including AI, autonomous driving systems) can be effectively utilized to ensure the sustainability of local community functions, modes of functions offered, personnel, and management methods.

Project3:Building a Human-friendly Future Society with AI: A Future Design Approach

It is imperative to design a new social and economic system in line with technological advancements including AI, and yet this issue has not been fully discussed.

This project is conducting a cross-disciplinary study on how to design a future society where people can live in harmony with AI by using methodologies which are relatively new in social science (i.e., experimental economics, and Future Design in particular).

The ultimate goal is to design a practical economic system and obtain new findings for the future of the global community.

Project4:Experimental Social Science Research on New Business Models in Line with the Progress of Financial Technology (FinTech)

Recently, revolutionary financial services (so-called FinTech) that use IoT, big data, blockchain, and AI have emerged in response to financial crises and the development of ICT. FinTech covers extensive areas including settlement, remittance, household budget management, corporate accounting, asset management, financing, loans, and insurance, and more.

In addition to simply introducing IT solutions to business operations, financial technology has begun to have a social impact that may significantly change financial flows, industrial structure, and value creation methods.

Therefore, it is urgently required to forecast the impact and design new economic systems and business models that adopt technological development. Notably, in the phase of implementing systems and policies in society, it is crucial to forecast their effectiveness in advance. However, existing methodologies do not offer solutions to the difficulties faced.

This project aims to solve the difficulties based on experimental economics and to study new economic systems and business models in line with the development of financial technology, FinTech.