The Future & Emerging Technologies (FET) project Smart Society, has produced an open-source toolset and programming framework for Collective Adaptive Systems. Collective Adaptive Systems have the potential to disrupt the way we produce and provision services and help galvanise the Digital Single Market in Europe.

Logo of the Smart Society project

In the digital economy, services are enabled by a complex mix of human and machine resources.  But people are not interchangeable.  They have diverse skills and abilities and operate as collectives (teams) that structure work, while ensuring quality and resilience of service.  Up to now computer systems have been blind to diversity and collectives and have often thwarted their potential.  Collective Adaptive Systems give us the tools to change that.

The Smart Collectives open source toolkit developed by the Smart Society project offers developers and innovators the tools to build novel services where collectives are recognized as the key controllable resource in systems delivering services while maintaining ethical standards.  Developers can rapidly create novel services that draw on large-scale collectives in domains such as transportation, tourism, labour and healthcare.  For example in health and care systems that coordinate professional workers and informal carers in collectives have the potential radically to enhance the productivity of health and care work.

The Smart Collectives toolkit is a platform to build better and more equitable systems to innovate in the Sharing or Collaborative economy. The Smart Society project’s Policy Event held in Brussels in December pointed to the need for a consistent policy framework to allow such systems to thrive while providing good and fair opportunities for employment.  Uber, AirBnb and other sharing economy platforms are experiencing explosive growth, yet at the same time are the subject of hot debate on their impacts on society and labour. Many parties are calling for regulation that balances the powers of platform owners and service prosumers.  The Smart Collectives toolset is sensitive to the policy environment and can cleanly adapt by design to new policy.  Policy change is inevitable in this fast-changing landscape and resilience to change is a key feature of the Smart Society approach.

The Smart Collectives toolset provides the means to draw heavily on social resources and gives developers and innovators the potential to create systems able to contribute to overcoming major societal challenges in areas such as health, care, transportation and sustainability.  Further development of the community of users of the open-source toolkit will see further strides in tackling the challenge of ethical service provision.

On Wednesday 15 February entrepreneurs and innovator will gather at the Berlin Co-location Centre of EIT Digital to hear about the potential innovation impact of the Smart Society project.  More information about this event.

Smart Society, is a four-year project funded under the Future & Emerging Technologies (FET) programme.