Social Implementation of Technology Project

Project Outline

AI and self-driving cars: how should we implement these cutting-edge technologies in our society? This is the fundamental question for the concept of “social implementation” in the context of technology. During the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in which advanced technologies are used in tandem as part of one larger highly sophisticated system, implementing these technologies may require us to significantly modify our existing daily behaviours and social structures. Though these technologies may be beneficial, implementation will certainly face significant barriers, controversy, and even resistance, as they may completely change our society.

〈1st Stage〉

What is “social implementation”? (“Social implementation (社会実装)” is a word widely used in Japan to express the diffusion of a specific technology.) Why are we struggling with it? Starting with these fundamental questions, the Social Implementation of Technology project conducted research to create a better framework for social implementation within Japanese society. This research was based on studies and interviews collected from our working group, which operated from April 2019 to August 2020.

We selected representative sectors in our society and investigated the success and failure of social implementation in each field. For the purpose of this research, we interviewed over 30 people including startup owners, public officials, members of the Diet, local legislators, NPOs, and researchers to get their perspective on the following question: How do we conduct social implementation from the “demand side” of solving social problems, and not the technology-based “supply side”? We developed proposals based on our four pillars of research – impact, ethical risks, governance, and “sense-making” – and provided a specific framework and tools for improved social implementation. Our research has been published in “Mirai wo Jisso Suru [Implementing the future]” (Eiji Press, 2021) written by the chairperson of our project, UMADA Takaaki.

〈2nd Stage: ‘Smart City Project’〉

Smart cities have the most complex governance structure in discussing the social implementation of technology. They are the focal point for addressing various issues such as energy, data collaboration, and local economies. In the second stage of this working group from July 2021, we launched a study group on smart cities.

In this group, we will highlight the current status and issues in each field affecting mart cities in Japan and make recommendations for the social implementation of smart cities by comparing and examining examples around the world.

Project Members (Title during project duration)

〈Second Stage: From July 2021〉

UMADA Takaaki (Project Chair) Senior Visiting Fellow, API / FoundX Deirector, The University of Tokyo
KUMA Kengo Kengo Kuma and Associates, Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo
TAKEUCHI Junko Director and Chief Researcher, International Environment and Economy Institute
TANAKA Hitoshi Founder and CEO, JINS HOLDINGS Inc.
NAGUMO Takehiko Executive Director, General Incorporated Association Smart City Institute Japan
LIM Hwajin Associate Professor, Faculty of Urban Life Studies, Tokyo City University
MIYASAKA Manabu Vice Governor, Tokyo Metropolitan Government
YAMAMURO Yoshitaka Head, World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Japan

〈First Stage: From April 2019 to September 2020〉

UMADA Takaaki (Project Chair) FoundX Deirector, The University of Tokyo
MIYASAKA Manabu Vice-governor of Tokyo
KAWAHARA Yoshihiro Professor at the School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo
YASUDA Yosuke Associate Professor at the Department of Economics, Osaka University
SUGA Chizuru Head, World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Japan

Program Fellow

ISHIDA Ryo President, MYCITY Inc.

Expert Panel Members (Title during project duration)

UENOYAMA Katsuya President, PKSHA Technology Inc.
NAKAYAMA Yasuo Chairman and Representative Director, Secom Co., Ltd.
NAGAO Yutaka President and Representative Director, YAMATO HOLDINGS CO., LTD.
FUJII Daniel President & CEO, Trust Capital Co., Ltd.
FUJINO Hideto Representative Director, Chairman, President & CEO, Rheos Capital Works Inc.
MATSUMOTO Takeshi Representative Director and President, ALBERT Inc.
MORITA Takayuki President and CEO (Representative Director), NEC Corporation
YANASE Tadao CSO (Chief Strategy Officer), NTT, Inc.
James KUFFNER Toyota Motor Corporation / WOVEN PLANET HOLDINGS, INC.,
Chief Digital Officer / CEO


FUNABASHI Yoichi Co-founder and Chairman, Asia Pacific Initiative
MUKOYAMA Jun Fellow, Asia Pacific Initiative