Global Systems Science (GSS)
- studies global systems like the internet, the global city system, and more,
- develops evidence, concepts and doubts concerning such systems,
- helps practitioners dealing with them to reflect on their experiences and to assess possible consequences of their actions,
- and combines advanced computing technologies with conversations bridging the gap between science and society.
As most things in life can be captured by a crisp definition only in very provisional ways (try “time“, “life“ or “definition”) this statement offers a pretty provisional definition. It shall help to make the case for a concerted, worldwide effort in the science community to pay more attention to the effects of globalization on the risks and opportunities human ecological systems are faced with, and for that purpose to develop a number of new ICT tools that will facilitate dealing with the high volume of data that such an effort necessarily entails.
The vision guiding GSS is to make full use of progress in ICT to improve the way scientific knowledge can stimulate, guide, be used by, and help evaluate policy and societal responses to global challenges like climate change, financial crisis, pandemics, global growth of cities. A crucial part of GSS is new ways to have citizens engaged into policy processes and process to acquire data. This is linked to aspects of citizen science as social engagement.
If the results of the kind of research we propose are to be useful to society, we need to reach out widely and intensively to engage large numbers of people in the approach, and to explain the results to an even larger community. This necessarily involves a much closer integration between electronic and human aspects of our information-processing systems - it entails spreading computer literacy, but also transforming the ICT tools at our disposal in many different ways that help us improve the interface between people and machines. One part of that task is to design novel ways of communication that use well-designed narratives to capture and transmit complex ideas about the global systems we are developing and experiencing.