Can a Smart Country Ensure Social Inclusion?

Helge Ritter provides expert perspective at symposium of the Bertelsmann Foundation held in Berlin

On Tuesday, 31 May 2016, Professor Dr. Helge Ritter discussed dimensions of social inclusion facilitated by an intelligent living environment together with other four invited experts. In advance of this symposium, the Bertelsmann Foundation (Bertelsmann Stiftung) released a video on “Smart Home Technology” at CITEC.

Invited guests at the Bertelsmann Foundation’s symposium on “Smart Country” in Berlin: Dr. Anke Knopp, Prof. Dr. Helge Ritter, Kristiina Omri, Dr. Stephan Albers, Carsten Große Starmann (from left) Photo: Jan Voth With the term “Smart Country,” the Bertelsmann Foundation is describing an important challenge of the twenty-first century: designing intelligent living spaces. The idea of “Smart Homes” was further developed with the “Smart Country” concept, expanding it from the home to the city and the region. Intelligent and assistive technologies can be used to help people, particularly those with cognitive challenges and senior citizens, to remain living independently in their own homes for as long as possible. Given the unequal starting positions of many, a smart living environment can help to create more equal and fair living conditions by making it possible for people of all backgrounds to participate in everyday life.

During the panel discussion, Helge Ritter discussed these topics with Kristiina Omri, an economics and trade diplomat from Estonia, and Dr. Stephan Albers, the managing director of the Association of Broadband Communication (Bundesverbands Breitbandkommunikation, BREKO), as well as Carsten Große Starmann und Dr. Anke Knopp, two representatives from the Bertelsmann Foundation. At the heart of their conversation was the question of how technology can be used to increase social inclusion, taking into account the economy and work, digital infrastructure, and demographic development.

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