FuturICT programme européen de R&D sur 10 ans et 1 Md€ sur les systèmes complexes

Le projet FuturICT est un méta-projet européen d’une durée de 10 ans, d’un budget d’1 Md€. Il vise à exploiter pleinement le potentiel des outils numériques connectés pour mieux comprendre les systèmes complexes, dont les liens entre sciences, technologies et société, pour des objectifs de résilience et de durabilité. Cette approche rejoint la mise en oeuvre de système intégré de transports.

« FuturICT is a visionary project that will deliver new science and technology to explore, understand and manage our connected world. This will inspire new information and communication technologies (ICT) that are socially adaptive and socially interactive, supporting collective awareness. Revealing the hidden laws and processes underlying our complex, global, socially interactive systems constitutes one of the most pressing scientific challenges of the 21st Century. Integrating complexity science with ICT and the social sciences, will allow us to design novel robust, trustworthy and adaptive technologies based on socially inspired paradigms. Data from a variety of sources will help us to develop models of techno-socioeconomic systems. In turn, insights from these models will inspire a new generation of socially adaptive, self-organised ICT systems. This will create a paradigm shift and facilitate a symbiotic co-evolution of ICT and society. In response to the European Commission’s call for a ‘Big Science’ project, FuturICT will build a largescale, pan European, integrated programme of research which will extend for 10 years and beyond.

Why do we need it?

Today, society and technology are changing at a pace that often outstrips our capacity to understand and manage them. It seems that we know more about the universe than about our society. Therefore it is time to use the power of information to explore social and economic life on Earth and discover options for a sustainable future. As the recent financial crisis demonstrates, the systems that we have built to organise our affairs now
possess an unprecedented degree of complexity and interdependence among their technological, social and economic components. This complexity often results in counter-intuitive effects driven by positive feedbacks that lead to domino-like cascades of failures. Neither the precepts of traditional science, nor our collective experience from a simpler past, adequately prepare us for the future. It is simply impossible to understand and manage complex networks using conventional tools.

We need to put systems in place that highlight, or prevent, conceivable failures and allow us to quickly recover from those that we cannot predict. We need this insight to help manage our financial markets but also to tackle other risks, such as flu pandemics, social instabilities, or criminal networks. At the same time, policymakers are currently faced with major  decisions of how to plan the general infrastructure of services to cope with the demands of the future, and what is more, to do so in a sustainable manner. The same decisions are

also posed to individuals who wish to improve their own lives. Thus now is the time to create a paradigm shift moving from a focus on the system components and their properties towards evaluating their interactions. These interactions are often hard to measure but create collective, emergent dynamics which are characteristic of strongly coupled systems. »

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