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 question that is fundamental to 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 highly sophisticated system, implementing these technologies may require us to significantly modify our daily behaviour and social structure. There is no way we can avoid controversy and disputes when implementing these beneficial technologies that may completely change our society.

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 to carry out social implementation within Japanese society. This research was based on studies and interviews collected from our working group conducted 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 who work as startup owners, public officials, members of the Diet, local legislators, NPOs, and researchers. How is it possible to conduct social implementation from the “demand side” view of solving social problems and not the technology-based “supply side”? We made 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, Takaaki Umada.

Project Members

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 of the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Japan


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