Mar./2011
(STRATEGIC PROPOSALS)
Promotion of information science & technology research focusing on information structure of system including human/CRDS-FY2010-SP-11
Executive Summary

This strategic initiative proposes to promote new research for information science and technology focusing on information structure of systems which include human factors.

On the site of social activities, a diversity of information is generated, distributed, accumulated and re-generated. There is no site that works without information. By perceiving a site as a system, humans, which are one of the formation in the system, gather information from their surroundings, process it and transmit it as new information. In a system where more than one person is involved, information transmitted from one person is received by another, and processed there as new information when it is retransmitted. This kind of sequential information flow or relationship can be regarded as a“ structure”, which we will refer to as an“ information structure” in this strategic initiative.

By analyzing the information structure of systems which include human factors, we will promote the research for information science and technology to construct a system in various application areas which will (1) predict the uncertainty and complexity increased by including the human formation element; (2) enable its easy control, and (3) optimally amplify human activities. Furthermore, we intend to extract the common elements and systemize them in the future. In the past R & D projects for information science and technology which included the human factor in the system, certain results have been achieved. The achievement, however, has been mainly in the development of individual technology regarding the interface of humans and ICT systems. Taking this into consideration we propose the promotion of research for information science and technology aiming at the systemization from the viewpoint of information structure of systems which include human factors.

Japan has an accumulation of ubiquitous technologies such as electronic components of excellent quality, material or nano-technology, embedded system technology and sensor technology. In recent years, cloud computing technology has seen rapid progress, enabling the process of enormous amounts of data. With the technical developments of such sensors and cloud technology, it now seems feasible enough to apply research methods or ICT unthinkable of at least 5 years ago, not only from the viewpoint of performance or functions, but also the cost affordability. For example, it has now become possible to distribute sensors to fields related to humans or human activities and make explicit knowledge about the tacit knowledge buried in the enormous amount of stream data. Various phenomena related to human behavior has been difficult to handle scientifically up till now, but being backed by the analysis of the enormous amount of data, it now seems possible. It can be said that the time has come to start the research for information science and technology focusing on the information structure of systems which include human factors.

Owing to the progress of research for information science and technology focusing on the information structure of systems which includes human factors, the best mix of role-sharing and value co-creation between ICT (which amplifies human activities) and humans will be promoted. The fundamental technology which enables the effective improvement of quality by adopting ICT in various social activities (such as administration, industry, education, public service) is created. By constructing an information communication system based on fundamental technology such as this, it will contribute greatly in improving industrial competitiveness in every industry in Japan. Also, from the viewpoint of value co-creation of embedded system technology at which Japan is strong and humans, there is a possibility to create an area of research and industrial domain of which Japan could take the lead. Furthermore, we can contribute to the construction of a robust information and communication system against disasters such as the recent Great East Japan Earthquake. It is also expected to contribute in solving problems during disasters in such cases where information credibility or accessibility, which are the negative sides of amplification, may become issues. By continuing the string of research regarding the information construction of systems which include human factors, we will be able to generalize it as a theory and academically systemize it, thus developing the theory to other applicable fields.