Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Time for time – how can concepts of time from different disciplines contribute to technology?

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We seek to explore multiple notions of time and the new technological possibilities that they inspire. Many disciplines are concerned with time –physics of course, but also history, geology, zoology, biology, chemistry, philosophy, psychology, epistemology, computer science, mathematics, neuroscience, literature, media and the arts. There are as many different motivations and methodologies to study and use time – often at vastly different scales and levels of interpretation. What can be learned from this in terms of future technologies to, for instance, understand, measure, represent, program, manipulate, stop, create, invert, multiply, perceive or differently experience and use time in its multiple manifestations?

What are we looking for?
•    What should be the orientation of research on this topic? As stated, do you feel it is too broad or, on the contrary, too narrow?
•    Have any recent scientific results been obtained relevant to this topic? Is there already a well-established community on this?
•    Do you know of related initiatives, for instance at national level, or in other continents?
•    What is needed at this point to advance this? More exploration of different ideas? More coordination among groups or related initiatives? A strong push for a precise technological target and, if so, which one? Anything else?


Background: Following the last FET consultation during 2012-13, 9 topics were identified as candidates for a FET Proactive. This topic has not been selected for inclusion in the FET Work Programme for 2014-15. Comments are invited on whether this topic is still relevant, or if any changes would be necessary to take account of recent research results. We are also trying to understand better how to advance these areas.

To participate to the consultation:
- register to the group (create an ECAS login if you don't have one yet);
- then "log in" and enter your contribution in the "Add new comment" box, at the vey bottom of the page.
You can also participate by commenting on submitted ideas and/or voting for them.

If you wish to share with us additional documents or have any questions about the process, please send them to our FET mailbox.

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This topic is important and it must be broad. Issues of time bind together human biology (and consequently health and disease), computer technology, labor organization, public policy, and science.

One of the challenges in the study of time is that there are many scientific results spread across many disciplines and rarely do people communicate across disciplinary boundaries. If my last year is any indication, there is a desire for such exchange. I've spoken at a conference about global time policy and the leap second, at a major art museum, at a cognitive neuroscience conference, and am booked for a conference on design.

To my knowledge there is no initiative that actively seeks to span disciplinary boundaries in the study of time for public policy purposes. The closest context I know is the International Society for the Study of Time, but that is an umbrella organization for discussions, not an initiative. There is also a major initiative by the Radio-Communciation Sector of the International Telecommunications Union concerning the leap second policy--but those engaged in that debate tend to approach issues of timekeeping through just computer science, metrology, and astronomy.

To me the biggest need is to understand the interaction of time policies and human biology. There is a growing body of literature indicating the health and cognitive problems generated by sleep loss, and yet there is also widespread practices that cultivate sleep loss in critical areas of finance, health services, transportation services, and public utilities. That said, there is little interaction between those who study chronobiology and those who develop timing protocols and systems.

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Time, as a linear dimension of Being, has mostly been denied reality or met skeptically by not so unwise men; among them Parmenides, Shakespeare, Descartes, Newton, Goethe and Einstein. It was, for instance, entirely clear to Newton, that his laws of motion describe relations between objects in what he called mathematical or philosophical (space and) time, rather than making historical predictions like oracles, astrologers or fortune-tellers do. Taking the same line, Einstein claimed time exclusively for physics in a famous battle of words with Bergson in 1912. He won the battle but lost the war, because for us late-modern scientists, historical time belongs unquestionably to the standard furniture of the universe. But does it really? Maybe a little thought experiment can at least raise some doubt: imagine that each and every of your expectations would come precisely true, in all detail and never failing. What, then, would time refer to? Wouldn’t then, set in a 4D world, next year’s holidays have the same quality as the backside of a 3D sphere in front of you? Is time the domain of ignorance, illusion and failure?

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Put aside now your notions of the arrow of time, of time the independent variable, of time the dependent variable. Look beyond irreversible processes that point to the uni-directional nature of this arrow of time, or to its illusory nature when it comes to deterministic equations which work equally well when time runs forward or backwards. Forget matters of seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years and so on, which are but human notions for the counting of time. Think not about the linear view of time, with its chronological ordering of events, both natural and human. All these things are but the product of the rational mind, of objective thought, of which there is already far too much!

I invite you instead to enter a different world, one of artistic making, where the subjective is important, and where time can be bent by creative will, and in doing so becomes not any of the above, but something profoundly different – a product of the imagination, from which flows a simple question, and on this turns the beginnings of ideas for technologies and processes far beyond the limiting horizons of the obvious and distracting pretty pebbles of time, lying, so to speak, on the seashore, while a greater ocean of truth remains unseen.

Time you see, in this world that I created – in a work of fiction called Moments in Time (www.cheshirehenbury.com/moments-in-time), being a novel about time, and that which is timeless and that which is not – can be seen in a different way. In this strange book you will find, if one cares to look closely and explore the messages hidden there, that time is always, a single moment in time, in which all other moments in time, past and future, co-exist in this one time that is known as the present for the person who is experiencing that moment. And from this comes the simple question to which I referred: how would our view of the world change, if we could create a technology and processes that would make such a subjective understanding of time, a human understanding of time, where past, present and future co-exist, a reality to share with others?

Before I answer this question, which in effect will also explain why we should do this and its importance, I want to mention the process by which I came to this subjective understanding of time.

I spent over ten years writing Moments in Time, and did very little research about time, for this was not to be a book of facts and knowledge, but a work of the imagination. In creating my imaginary world, which is in no way connected to science fiction, I did something that few, if any one, has done before – I lived for an extended period, in my imagination, in two times separated by over 250 years, for this is the storyline. And the tale is not one enabled by a time machine, the act of human creation so much seen in time related fiction, but by the universe itself behaving counter to what modern science believes – yes your eyes do not deceive you, I am saying believes.

This imaginative process, this act of creation, is a key point that I want to address. Elsewhere in this consultation (under ideas for new topics) there is a proposal presented of art being used in ICT research. There was a FET Open project (a CSA), known as FET-ART, that addressed this issue, and spoke of co-creation, where artists and technologists work together, and artists participate in research projects. What I have briefly presented above is an example of artistic expression being used in ICT research, with this note being one result – a proposal for a new research topic. But this is not the outcome of co-creation, but of creation that results when two (possibly more!) areas of quite contrasting knowledge and skills co-exist in one mind.

So it was not the process of background research (which I have already told you was quite small) that I undertook for the book that led me to this subjective understanding of time, but the act of artistic creation itself. This resulted in new insights and new knowledge about time, as it is experienced subjectively by humans. This process has a name: it is called art practice as research, or art as research, or creative arts enquiry. It uses the artistic process, whether that be painting, dance, music composition, creative writing (like writing a weird novel about time), etc., as a means of producing new knowledge. And I cannot stress here enough, the importance of the subjective nature of the knowledge, for this also relates to the common misunderstanding that science is entirely based on the rational and objective, which it most definitely is not!

Here I just quote from the work of another writer, one of the most outstanding thinkers and artists of the 20th century, Arthur Koestler (who was also a physicist by education), who studied the matter of scientific (and artistic) creativity in depth, and said in his book The Act of Creation: “Here, then, is the apparent paradox. A branch of knowledge which operates predominantly with abstract symbols, whose entire rationale and credo are objectivity, verifiability, logicality, turns out to be dependent upon mental processes which are subjective, irrational, and verifiable only after the event.” This will of course sit uncomfortably with those whose self-image is one of being rational, objective, and evidence-based. More about this follows shortly.

The power of art practice as research is that it links to subjectivity and makes it explicit, and this leads to strange notions and questions which are essential to the creative process (be it scientific, technological, artistic, etc.), which in turn links to the more objective work that follows as a result. Art practice as research however is not primarily a matter of co-creation, nor even a question of interdisciplinary research, but mainly one of transdisciplinary working, which has profound implications for Global Systems Science, about which I will say more, later. I suspect that Leonardo da Vinci and his contemporaries would have known what I am talking about, but many modern (fragmented) minds, often only knowing a lot about very little, and having been subjected to the legacy of the Age of Enlightenment, do not. Instead they usually believe in dualities and the need for co-creation, and hence do not understand that there is a unity of opposites (in this case of art and science) – or put another way, a oneness in that which many people now see as being separate and different.

Now back to the matter of this question I posed, which I here remind you was: how would our view of the world change, if we could create a technology and processes that would make such a subjective understanding of time, a human understanding of time, where past, present and future co-exist, a reality to share with others? I can tell you that, as a result of the experience of constructing in my imagination and living in a rather strange world where all time co-exists at a single moment in time, has brought about a radical transformation in the way that I see the world, for I now look and see time at work, and, as a result, also see many things that others are blind to.

Here I introduce to you the topic of Behavioural Agriculture, which very likely you will not have heard of, for the book that I am writing on this has not yet been published. The topic is the product of transcending disciplines, of unifying many opposites, and bringing knowledge, both subjective and objective, and from quite dissimilar domains, together, to form a very different perspective on agriculture – one based on behaviour set in the context of time, past, present and future, all co-existing in a single moment in time.

One of these dissimilar domains is cognitive psychology, the same research in fact that Behavioural Economics is founded on, hence the name Behavioural Agriculture, only in this case there is more than just cognitive psychology and macro economics in play, but also philosophy of science; agronomy; biology; history; genetics; ecology and much more … This however is another story.

What is important are the findings from research in cognitive psychology, that people, all people (scientists included), make decisions based on cognitive biases. These biases are acquired over time and they lead people to make many mistakes, but people often do not recognise these mistakes or the reasons for them, and they actually engage in the delusion that what they are doing is rational, objective, … But worse still, is the finding that this is in our genes, and for very good evolutionary reasons, but which no longer apply. Thus what was once an asset for survival has now become a potential liability, for it leads humans to make serious mistakes, and this has profound implications for all sorts of processes – Global Systems Science, the way science is conducted, the development of policy, the design of future agricultural systems, the development of sustainable economies, the redesign of financial systems... The list is quite long! See also how time makes its appearance here.

In the case of agriculture, the cognitive biases at work today took hold about 10,000 years ago. These were significantly reinforced in the 1950s and 1960s, resulting in rigid mental frameworks that lead people today – scientists, technologists, engineers, policymakers and others – to do that which is no longer fit for purpose, but which they regard as been objective, rational, evidence-based, etc. But they cannot see this, for they do not know or understand that which is timeless and that which is not. This has serious and dangerous implications in the longer term (future time) for humanity, but if we could bring time past and future to bear in the present, to make the cognitive biases visible, along with subjective matters such as values and beliefs, we could instead make a different future. This is also part of the storyline in Moments in Time.

And just as one can refer to Behavioural Agriculture, one can also speak about Behavioural Global Systems Science. To what extent is Global Systems Science just the past presenting itself as the future, because it brings with it, that which is no longer relevant, and that which does not recognise cognitive bias and human delusions? How much of Global Systems Science is founded on the misunderstanding that science is only about the rational, the objective and the logical, because it is based on self-image and misunderstandings rather than what science really is?

Here perhaps one can see the importance of time past, and of creating a technology that brings time past into the present, for it can be said that time reveals the patterns in life, the trail that is often unknowingly followed, and provides the vantage point from which understanding begins to emerge, which casts past events in a different light, pointing towards a path that could be followed in the future. And time is important to the future as well, because, for example, one of most fundamental principles (if one can call it such) of sustainability, is that we should not do today, that which leaves an unwanted legacy for future generations. We are in our own time dealing with unwanted legacies created by previous generations – but we are doing exactly the same ourselves, and leaving unwanted legacies for our children, with the added danger that what we create today will overwhelm them. Is it not time to change?

This is one of the core messages to be found in Moments in Time. And it could be that Global Systems Science will provide the means of changing behaviour and exposing the delusions that lie behind our current self-inflicted woes. You will also find these woes depicted in the novel, in the form of the unintended and unforeseen consequences of the actions of the central character who, being an icon of the modern world, an industrial age engineer, strangely finds that he fits into 1750 with great ease! See here the creative act at work, where through the means of the imagination and the subjective, that which is timeless and that which is not is explored.

However, for Global Systems Science to become a means of changing behaviour, the potential that lies within Global Systems Science has to be recognised, and this involves moving beyond thinking of this as a means of supporting policymaking, and to re-conceiving it as a more advanced way of doing science, which of course also involves policymaking, but which also involves undertaking scientific research, and, potentially designing completely different systems than those that exist today.

So instead of carrying on with a science based on a reductionist and mechanistic world-view, which creates many problems, we could re-invent science. Instead of working with the agricultural system that exists today, and adding new bits here and there to supposedly make it more sustainable, we could reinvent it completely. Instead of working with global financial markets as they exist today, trying to make them more stable and less damaging, by changing policies, we could reinvent these systems completely. And this, if you have not already realised, is exactly what we need to do. But you will not so easily recognise this if you do not know that which is timeless and that which is not! And to reinvent one needs creativity, thus once again we are back to matter of subjectivity which is an essential aspect of creation.

What I am proposing is a radical rethink of Global Systems Science, which involves bringing time and behaviour to the fore, and also laying to rest this obsession with the rational and the objective and embracing also the subjective, the irrational, the qualitative, with an accompanying reconsideration of what constitutes so-called evidence. It is also necessary to move beyond the now standard call for an interdisciplinary approach, and to embrace transciplinarity – transcending largely artificial disciplinary boundaries, reassembling knowledge in a different way, and moving beyond dualities.

Arthur Koestler, in his book The Act of Creation, says, after examining the self-reflections of many leading scientists across history: “Their virtually unanimous emphasis on spontaneous intuitions, unconscious guidance, and sudden leaps of imagination which they are all at a loss to explain, suggests that the role of strictly rational thought-processes in scientific discovery has been vastly over-estimated since the Age of Enlightenment; and that contrary to the Cartesian bias in our beliefs ‘full consciousness’, in the words of Einstein, ‘is a limit case’.”

Koestler is right, and this is another reason why we need to bring artists into research, into FET, into Global Systems Science. And note too, this is the second time I have questioned the legacy of this thing called the Age of Enlightenment. The importance of understanding that which is timeless and that which is not cannot be stressed enough. It comes back to time once again! And if you think that questioning the Age of Enlightenment is out of bounds, think again, for slowly people are beginning to realise that its legacy has become a liability. We need to re-thinking the whole basis upon which our culture is based (see DG CONNECT’s Onlife Initiative https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/onlife-manifesto), and this is another reason to work with artists, for this is something many of them do as a matter of course. This is why they are so central to the President Barroso’s New Narrative for Europe initiative. And their conclusion is that Europe needs a new renaissance. We do indeed! Time for Time within the context of FET Proactive is a very necessary part of this, for it could bring to this new renaissance, the disruptive ideas and technologies that will allow more people to understand just how tyrannical the past is in determining our thinking about the future.

And on this note I also mention Charles Handy, a leading business thinker from the 1980s and 1990s. Handy wrote in his book Beyond Certainty, that when discontinuities occur as a consequence of structural changes in the business environment, the past becomes no guide to the future. These discontinuities can render assumptions and practices invalid and inappropriate. This then makes extrapolating into the future based on the past, an exercise of little value. When discontinuities are present, the success stories of yesterday can have little relevance to the problems of tomorrow. In fact, according to Handy “these success stories might even be damaging since the world, at every level, has to be reinvented to some extent.” In another book, The Age of Unreason, Handy strongly argued that in times of structural change, one should not be taking note of what is reasonable, but should be listening to those who seem to be saying unreasonable things.

We are living through times of massive structural change – in society, in business, in technology, in peoples’ behaviour, in the nature of being human, in human civilisation. So it is time to say what seem to be unreasonable things. We need to bring time into our discussions and begin to recognise that which is timeless and that which is not.

As for the creation of a technology that brings time, past and future, into the present, this is something that I have reflected upon as part of the continuing process of using the novel Moments in Time as act of research and knowledge creation. Elsewhere in the consultation (under ideas for new topics), a number of people mention the importance of art and artists, and also observe that technological development work is being undertaken by artists (see no duality!), and they are right – some artists are technology developers and they are also researchers. These types of artists should be integrated into the ICT programme, and FET Proactive is one of the most obvious places for them to be, because of the transformational potential that they create, and their interest in questioning that which others just accept (like the notion of so called big data) and offering different perspectives that may in turn lead to new ideas.

One of the inputs provided on the topic of ICT and Art, suggests a number of research topics, which include: technologies for uncertainty and technologies for a non-human perspective. These are the kinds of ideas that need to be explored and developed further in this context of Time for Time. I could myself add another one: big data considered not as something to be mastered and controlled, but something to be addressed in a time context: past, present and future.

In my novel I provide a metaphor for the technologies that bring the golden threads of time past and future, into the present, and for experiencing the resulting complex tapestry that this merging creates. I called it the Time House, an architectural construction being “… a house built by two different builders; one working on the physical features, shaping it within the bounds of what is physically possible to meet the needs of those who will live there and make it their home, and the other, unseen, forming it into that which I will, in due course reveal.” Thus, one can conceive of an architectural construct, a physical space, where people (by which I mean scientists, policymakers, members of the public, and many others) come to understand … that which is timeless and that which is not, and also what the future might become because of thoughtless decisions in the present that are masquerading as being based on the rational and objective, and so on and so forth. The potential needs to be further explored.

There is a field of artistic practice called Technoetic Art, which is quite fundamental for creating a realisation of the Time House. Technoetic Art is an area concerned with the technology of consciousness, being a convergent field of practice that seeks to explore consciousness and connectivity through many different means. And Technoetic artists, along with other artists, will bring into this work an important insight, which is that another legacy of the Age of Enlightenment needs to be left outside the Time House. What I am referring to is this notion that humans can be compared to machines! They can of course if that is what you want to do, and this one can observe, is the story of technology development over the past several hundred years, but the point is that humans should not be thus compared. We should be looking at a different type of technology that is not one based on this now familiar refrain: humans are better at …, computers are better at …

And the new enlightenment goes like this: people have characteristics and behaviours determined by genes and social conditioning (acquisition of paradigms!), and we need a technology that brings this to our attention, so that we can make better decisions, with one of these decisions being, that it is we who will take decisions and not computers. Moreover, to replace the human-computer comparability paradigm mentioned above, this new enlightenment should be developing a different model – one based on human-computer complementarity, which is a topic much in need of development. And as for causality, this too should be reconsidered, for people should not be regarded as machines, subject to cause and effect. Instead we need to be looking at meaning and purpose, and other aspects which define humans and which differentiate them from machines. There is evidently much to reformulate!

However, we live in challenging economic times, where budgets are tight, and there is little money to explore new topics. So in response to this constraint I ask: why not explore new topics through existing ones; specifically Global Systems Science? By expanding the scope of this existing FET Proactive topic it would be possible also to begin to develop several new areas: Time for Time, Art in ICT and FET Research, and Behavioural Agriculture, while at the same time developing the field of Global Systems Science, making it in effect, wider in scope, which is also an answer to the question posed in this consultation about whether the scope of Global Systems Science is too wide or too narrow – it is most definitely too narrow.

So, to conclude, it is without doubt Time for Time. But is also a time for a different approach to science through an expanded understanding of the scope of Global Systems Science. And it is time to move beyond the legacy of the Age of Enlightenment. It is time for a new renaissance, a new enlightenment, and this means that it is time for art, and it is time for behaviour, and much more.

It’s all about time!

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Research on how we think and talk about time is a hot topic in the study of language and cognition. Time is the classical example of a metaphorical concept, which needs to be conceived in terms of mental structures that are easier to manage, such as motion through space (“We are getting closer to the summer”) or interaction with objects and amounts (“We are running out of time: we only have ten days left”).

Many cognitive linguists and psychologists, alongside philosophers and other humanities scholars with a congenial cognitive approach, are interested in time conceptualization. It provides a privileged window to the mind, illuminating a variety of cognitive phenomena: metaphor, mappings between conceptual domains, embodiment, conceptual integration, etc.

For example, I am coordinating a group that studies conceptual patterns for time (mainly related to spatial cognition) through converging evidence from: empirical linguistic analysis and linguistic theory, a language and gesture database of spontaneous time expressions extracted from television news, a database of poetic expressions of time (which show great creativity in exploiting the possibilities offered by conventional patterns), and psychological experiments on time conceptualization and the processing of time expressions. We aim at modeling semantic patterns that guide mental simulations from which temporal meanings emerge.

What humanities researchers in this area need are technological partners that can help us exploit all the data and analyses that we now have about how humans build time concepts. Here are some ideas about what groups like mine would like to hear about:

- Software for creating better, more integrated time representations, including simulations of processes, events, and diachronies.
- Joint technological projects on spatial cognition, since the conceptualization of time is one of the best examples for the grounding of abstract thought on spatial events and relations. This may include improving time and space understanding in robots.
- Automatic pattern recognition (linguistic, gestural, visual, prosodic…) using our data on time expressions, as an example of a cross-cultural cognitive pattern for grounding abstract meanings on concrete representations, such as motion through space.
- Automatic metaphor generation based on large-scale databases annotated by human experts, using the time-space or time-commodity mappings as case studies.

Among other applications, such collaborations could produce substantial progress in human-machine interaction, with more appropriate time metaphors and conceptual compressions built into interfaces, and better narrative structures for representing processes and events. It could also further ontology research, improving result displays of search engines.

All this research needs to be grounded in a wide cross-cultural comparison of the way in which time is expressed in different cultures and periods. Our data about time representation are still quite dispersed. A good comparative project would be very useful to model the great amount of experimental data and linguistic analyses that have been amassed, especially in the past two decades of research on conceptual mappings.

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Time is the great measure for the effects of new technologies on attention and cognitive development. Those effects are still largely unknown. We need more precise studies on the impact of computer simulations and other technological tools on the feeling of duration. Perceived duration, self-involvement, absorption, and other aspects of temporal experience are key for understanding how such interactions affect thought and behavior.
Advances in this area have numerous and very relevant potential applications. Many medical and psychological therapies are closely linked to the creation of temporal experiences through simulations, music, video, etc. For example, the area of attention disorders (such as ADHD) could really use precise studies on how videogames and other technologies affect perceptions of duration. Technology-related educational tools would also benefit from this research, especially if studies are carefully related to cognitive development during the first years of life.

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Deciding depend upon how the decider is thinking about time. Health, retirement, education, consumption, investment, taxation, credentialing, inheritance, voting, legal action, political action, and many other domains of human life require frequent and important decisions that depend on how one is conceiving of what is past, passing, and to come. Governments, non-government organizations, and corporations widely require people to use web and other digital interfaces to make these decisions about their lives and their participation in civic life. But there is no program to help interface designers foster good decision-making through careful presentation of the nature of time. How is the interface influencing the user's conception of the structure of time, its rhythms, patterns, and dislocations, its expected nodes of judgment, evaluation, and action? The idea of the past matters, too: how the user thinks about the past affects how the user thinks of the present and of possible futures. Cognitive science can be used to launch a program to help interface designers design better interfaces. We need a research program for assessing the way an interface influences thinking about time, and a program for guiding interface designers to improve the presentation of time.

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Human-computer interfaces have built-in assumptions about how people construct temporal events. The subjective experience of time is dynamically variable in ways that suggest an internal logic. Because time is a vital resource, the subjective experience of time can be studied as an orderly outcome of darwinian natural selection. For example, numerous studies show that people commonly experience time dilation as a function of task complexity, motivation, and affect. Task complexity involves attending to a large number of simultaneous dimensions, creating an intense experience of an extended present -- a nunc stans across which information must be integrated. High levels of immersion into imaginative simulations create high levels of brain activation correlated with superior learning outcomes. In task complexity, time is a critical resource, and the subjective experience is to maximize every moment, leading to a subjective experience of time slowing down. These states of mind can be deliberately induced through interface design and communicative techniques; for instance, television news relies on the construction of blended joint attention to draw viewers into the story and engage them at a high level of activation. Such immersion is associated with intrinsic enjoyment and high levels of attention. In contrast, low levels of task complexity are associated with negative affect, boredom, and the subjective experience that time has slowed to a crawl.

Cognitive linguistics and media studies provide us with the tools and the datasets to systematically explore the subjective experience of time and develop a principled understanding of this complex phenomenon. This will in turn allow us to make systematic and principled improvements to human-machine interfaces and communication technologies, leading to the development of a new generation of innovations in these vital fields. Therefore, various benefits can be derived from a concepts of time initiative with sufficient scope to include research on temporal experience: a better understanding of temporal experience itself, an improvement of productivity in human-machine interaction, and a substantial progress in the study of the rhetorical procedures that guide and influence the feeling of time.

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Perhaps, your goals are really too broad and ambitious. In my opinion, the obvious scientific community to involve are metrologists. They do use quantum technologies in a sound way and their results can be easily transferred from early ideas to higher technology readiness levels. My suggestion is to make this topic more focused and invite future applications for new methods for time measurement. This if you just want to stick to time. But, as you probably know, we do need new methods for measuring mass as well. As far as I know, the kilogram is the only SI unit still defined using an artefact.

Finally, a disclaimer is needed. I am not a metrologist and I do not have friends working in metrology that can involve me in future proposals.

Best regards,

Enrico Scalas

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The proposed research topic, although broad in its current form, has the real potential to provide a bridge between C.P. Snow's 'two cultures' of science and the arts, and to use this for potential therapeutic applications of new technologies. Sciences like physics, biology and psychology all need concepts of time in order to understand how the material they investigate function. In physics this may be the rate of change over time of different motions to understand underlying forces, or in psychology the duration taken to perform different tasks to infer the processing requirements of the nervous system. In music or dance, change-over-time is essential as the vehicle for expression in performance. Moreover, recent advances have shown that in neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease, or Autism, time perception and timing deficits may underlie functional or even social problems faced by people experiencing these conditions. Hence, there is a possibility to link the theoretical concerns of behavioral sciences, expressive arts and therapeutic interventions through the concept of time and purposeful timing, and in so doing, identify the needs for future technologies to support these links. What is needed, however, is work to develop a coherent framework to understand time that can be mapped onto different domains to allow transfer of ideas between different disciplines. This will require the synthesis of input from researchers and theorists from different areas of practice, as well as analysis of how this common framework can best be exploited in such areas.

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Time is a fundamental concept in physics, yet a very poorly understood one. For example, in quantum physics there is no operator for time. In Europe there is a vibrant community interested in issues related to the foundations of physics and its implication for epistemology and philosophy in general. A proactive initiative exploring the concept of time in physics would be very useful.

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DE TOUZALIN Aymard European Commission Future and Emerging Technology Unit Deputy Head of Unit
VAN DE VELDE Walter European Commission Future and Emerging Technologies Scientific Officer and FET Strategy
MARQUEZ-GARRIDO Beatrice European Commission Future & Emerging Technologies Unit Project Officer
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