How will new digital technologies impact the everyday lives of the generation that has been born after the year 2000 – the Generation Z — and their children?

As new technologies are rapidly developing and becoming more intelligent, invisible and ubiquitous, the entanglement of these technologies with human everyday life presents a 21st-century challenge and transformation that will not exclude any individuals, communities or processes. In spite of this, contemporary approaches to the technological transformation take the human-being for granted and are too narrow. They merely focus on how humans, communities or societies react to new technologies and how people use a technology after it has been developed and designed; or they predict dystopian futures emerging from the co-existence between humans and technology. This is not enough. A concerted response is needed to generate research-based knowledge about the co-evolution of humans and intelligent technologies, making possible the renewal of human capabilities and competences in all walks of life.

Generation Z and beyond: Co-evolution of human capabilities and intelligent technologies in the 21st century (GenZ)

GenZ is a strategic profiling theme of the University of Oulu, funded by the Academy of Finland. GenZ aims to respond to the challenges rapidly developing new technologies will have on human lives in the 21st century. GenZ aims to strengthen human capabilities, anticipate future challenges and increase human resilience through world-class interdisciplinary research within the identified themes. In the GenZ project, we do not want to take humans for granted but turn this perspective inside out and ask the question differently: What if the digital future was not driven by digital technologies but by humans? What do we need to do to strengthen human skills and capabilities and to enable a human-driven digital future?

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Research Themes

The aim of GenZ is to connect the expertise in human sciences with the world-class researchers in digital technologies at the University of Oulu, and produce new knowledge about the co-evolution of humans and intelligent technologies in a human-driven digital future. GenZ answers the following questions:

  • Co-evolution: What are the everyday human competences and capabilities needed to live, learn to live and learn to learn in the society that is driven by intelligent technologies?
  • Co-creation: How can human sciences contribute to boundary breaking that enables ambitious and interactive human-technology development in intelligent socio-technical futures.
  • Resilience: How can co-creation be used in forming value-creating resilience and economic development in ecosystems that use intelligent technologies?
  • Methodologies: How can intelligent technologies be used to develop new methodological solutions in human science research?

GenZ aims to create a world-class multidisciplinary research-based GenZ Hub offering transformative know-how to strengthen human capabilities, anticipate future challenges and increase human resilience. GenZ Hub will organize various activities, initiate a visitor programme and collaborate with local and international stakeholders.

GenZ project includes three broad themes:

 

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Co-evolution

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Co-creation

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Resilience