Here follows a selection of projects which the researchers at D-GESS are concerned with at the moment
The FuturICT project will produce benefits for science, technology and society. Access to data and models will promote a new synthesis of the humanities and give computational social scientists the ability to understand our global techno-socio-economic systems and their interaction with our environment. A major improvement in our knowledge of complex global networks will forge a new science of global systems. This paradigm shift in our knowledge of social systems will inspire the design of future ICT systems, made up of billions of interacting, intelligent components acting partially autonomously. This will require us to develop privacy respecting data mining and reputation principles that could be inspired by self-regulating, society-like concepts which are immune or resilient to attacks or shocks to the systems.
Furthermore, FuturICT will produce societal outcomes by providing support systems to help decision makers assess the implications of a variety of strategies. This participatory platform will thus form a policy wind tunnel where the full effects of decisions can be established.
Exemplar, case studies will be performed which will not only address major challenges, such large scale infrastructure projects, but also build up our capacity to model systems and understand data.
Additionally, these studies will improve our grasp of key, overarching concepts such as risk, trust, resilience and sustainability which can be applied to a wide range of important issues.
Having all this new information in place will allow FuturICT to explore interaction the four domains –Society, Technology, Environment and Economics – to create an Innovation Accelerator that will discover valuable knowledge in the flood of information, help to find the best experts for projects, and support the distributed generation of new knowledge, hence promoting innovation.
Human capital is a key ressource in our modern knowledge-based society. Corporations and schools as well as international organisations, such as OECD or the World Bank, are involved in its production, evaluation and optimisation. The flexible application and individual increase of human capital are considered to be elements of corporate competitiveness. Through assessments, employment and qualifying examinations, the concept of human capital has become a reality-shaping deployment for many people in everyday life.
No place to go
Urban sanitation conditions in Kampala’s low-income areas
Results of a representative survey conducted with 1’500 poor households in Uganda’s capital during November 2010 show that the majority of Kampala’s urban poor have access to on-site sanitation facilities. Despite the widespread accessibility to sanitation, the conditions of many facilities are unsatisfactory due to the generally large number of users per stance.
This leads to low hygienic standards and waiting times for toilet users. As a result, “flying toilets” is (at least occasionally) still a common practice among the urban poor, and many toilets are abandoned after a relatively short time - thus questioning the true level of sanitation access in Kampala’s low-income areas. Household investment in good-quality on-site facilities is discouraged by the lack of property rights and high prices, often exceeding the average annual per capita income in Kampala’s poor settlements.