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Discussing society trends in the 21st century

Globalization, equal opportunity and demographic change: the new coordinates?

This section of innovations-reports examines the latest scientific findings in the fields of social sciences as it relates to globalization, demographic change and equal opportunity. Controversially discussed and thoroughly researched, we track current discussions detailed in studies, publications and announcements from renowned organizations and institutes. We address unsolved issues within key topics such as globalization, equal opportunity and demographic change, which are of paramount interest regarding their impact to society and the individual.

How will globalization occupy us in the future?

Globalization, a meanwhile overused expression, refers to the worldwide integration of economies, politics, society, culture and environment . Globalization, equal opportunity and demographic change are phenomena that mean different things to different people the world over. Some scientists view globalization as a process that began with the first species of man. Others date globalization back to the 15th century as European conquerors fanned out across the world. Still others accept it as a tide that was initiated at the beginning of World War II.

The fact is, globalization has transformed the planets into a village affecting all parts of life. The far-reaching structural transformation of overall society triggered by globalization has positive as well as negative impacts. The world continues to be divided into industrial, emerging and developing countries as globalization spreads. Globalization also means mobility and the opening up of national identities. Globalization is the sharing of common global challenges as illustrated by demographic change and equal opportunity. While some welcome globalization as economic progress, others dismiss globalization as neoliberalism.

Are we overestimating or downplaying the significance of demographic change on society?

Demographic change is the new challenge facing society. The post-World War II baby boom generation is aging and a new one is not on the horizon. In Germany, demographic change is viewed as a social, economic and cultural threat. Experts predict that demographic change will shrink Germany's population by 7 million by the middle of the century. The impact of an aging population on society is illustrated by the limits of growth. Structural transformation, redistribution, economic collapse, job exodus: demographic change and the forthcoming population declines will force societies to drastically restructure and reshape. Demographic change will also give momentum to globalization and equal opportunity.

While all of the signs so far point to "big", will demographic change acquire a new modesty? Demographic change and globalization are tightly interleaved. Calls are being made for demographic change and its already entrenched realities to be resolved at the highest level of decision making and understood as a non-partisan challenge for the present and future.

Has the equal opportunity mandate really arrived in practice?

No one accepts discrimination. Regarding the gender question, equal opportunity for minorities and abolishing discrimination based on ethnic or ideological traits, equal opportunity and the equal opportunity legislation introduced in 2006 have established benchmarks. The question is, has this already led to a well-established mindset of equal opportunity among the population? And is equal opportunity actually being practiced in business, politics and society against the backdrop of globalization?

We are reminded that if the pursuance of equal opportunity is left to those who hold the power in society, then equal opportunity for women in the workplace will make hardly any progress worth mentioning. Equal opportunity and demographic change is not a generational question. The obligations that equal opportunity will impose on all societal forces, how individuals can contribute to equal opportunity and how equal opportunity can be realized within the context of globalization and demographic change - all of these issues will continue to keep us in suspense.

Social Sciences

This area deals with the latest developments in the field of empirical and theoretical research as it relates to the structure and function of institutes and systems, their social interdependence and how such systems interact with individual behavior processes.

innovations-report offers informative reports and articles related to the social sciences field including demographic developments, family and career issues, geriatric research, conflict research, generational studies and criminology research.

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Lack of Knowledge and Uncertainty about Algorithms in Online Services

Although Swiss internet users use online services where algorithms select search results, recommendations and information daily, they know little about their role and function. This leads to uncertainty, a feeling of powerlessness and a desire for more control, as a representative survey of Swiss internet users conducted by the University of Zurich shows.

Services like Google, WhatsApp, Instagram or Netflix are based on algorithmic selection: They automatically select the content that is presented to us and...

06.04.2020 | nachricht Read more

High acceptance for smart products

72 per cent of all Swiss nationals now own smart products. The majority of the population views smart products very positively. A key role is played by the trust in the appliances, as the first representative study in Switzerland on the topic has shown.

The “Smart Products Report 2020” by the Lucerne and St. Gallen universities on the use and consumer perception of smart products is based on an online survey...

21.02.2020 | nachricht Read more

Trash talk hurts, even when it comes from a robot

Discouraging words from machines impair human game play

Trash talking has a long and colorful history of flustering game opponents, and now researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have demonstrated that...

19.11.2019 | nachricht Read more

New measure for the wellbeing of populations could replace Human Development Index

IIASA researchers have introduced a new, simple measure for human wellbeing across countries, called the Human Life Indicator (HLI), that takes inequality into account and could replace the commonly used but error-prone Human Development Index (HDI).

Measuring the overall wellbeing of populations is crucial for evaluating the success of policies. The Human Life Indicator expresses wellbeing in terms of...

07.11.2018 | nachricht Read more

Because not only arguments count

The phenomenon of opinion polarization has gained a lot of public attention in recent years, especially in the political context. Using tools from network science and game theory, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences were able to show that social interaction has a pronounced influence on opinion polarization. Their approach allows for a precise analysis of the entire opinion-forming process and could, among other things, contribute to a better understanding of opinion tendencies in social networks.

We all react very sensitively to positive or negative signals in the behavior of our peers and unconsciously include this feedback in our own decision-making....

30.10.2018 | nachricht Read more

Being Spoiled for Choice – What Happens in the Human Brain

Who has not faced this situation? Having too many choices when shopping for a product creates a feeling that we call “being spoiled for choice.” Academic studies have proven for some time that consumers find a large selection of products attractive, but this makes it increasingly difficult for them to decide what to buy. A team centered on the Tübingen scientist, Dr. Axel Lindner, from the University Hospital for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy and the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research has now discovered what takes place in our brains when we are “spoiled for choice.

Who has not faced this situation? Having too many choices when shopping for a product creates a feeling that we call “being spoiled for choice.” Academic...

02.10.2018 | nachricht Read more

The competitive edge: Dietary competition played a key role in the evolution of early primates

Since Darwin first laid out the basic principles of evolution by means of natural selection, the role of competition for food as a driving force in shaping and shifting a species' biology to outcompete its adversaries has played center stage. So important is the notion of competition between species, that it is viewed as a key selective force that resulted in the split of the lineage leading to modern humans from that of our early ape ancestors.

The earliest true primates, called "euprimates," lived about 55 million years ago across what is now North America. Two major fossil euprimate groups existed...

01.08.2018 | nachricht Read more

Diversity and education influence India’s population growth

Differences within India’s population influence population projections for years to come, according to research conducted by IIASA and the Asian Demographic Research Institute. This information could help India and its workforce to catch up to more developed Asian countries with higher GDP per capita.

By 2025, India is expected to surpass China as the world’s most populous country, due to higher fertility rates and a younger population. However, a new study...

31.07.2018 | nachricht Read more

Lying in a foreign language is easier

It is not easy to tell when someone is lying. This is even more difficult when potential liars speak in a language other than their native tongue. Psychologists of the University of Würzburg investigated why that is so.

Most people don't find it more difficult to lie in a foreign language than in their native tongue. However, things are different when telling the truth: This...

19.07.2018 | nachricht Read more

Engineering cooperation

Social dilemmas occur when individual desires clash with group needs. How can people be encouraged to cooperate when they have reason not to? In a new Nature paper, scientists show that if the social dilemma that individuals face are dependent on if they work together, cooperation can triumph. This finding resulted from a new framework that they introduced, which extends the entire theory of repeated games. Moreover, their work provides tools to systematically build cooperation.

When what we want as individuals clashes with what is best for the group, we have a social dilemma. How can we overcome these dilemmas, and encourage people to...

05.07.2018 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The human body as an electrical conductor, a new method of wireless power transfer

Published by Marc Tudela, Laura Becerra-Fajardo, Aracelys García-Moreno, Jesus Minguillon and Antoni Ivorra, in Access, the journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

The project Electronic AXONs: wireless microstimulators based on electronic rectification of epidermically applied currents (eAXON, 2017-2022), funded by a...

Im Focus: Belle II yields the first results: In search of the Z′ boson

The Belle II experiment has been collecting data from physical measurements for about one year. After several years of rebuilding work, both the SuperKEKB electron–positron accelerator and the Belle II detector have been improved compared with their predecessors in order to achieve a 40-fold higher data rate.

Scientists at 12 institutes in Germany are involved in constructing and operating the detector, developing evaluation algorithms, and analyzing the data.

Im Focus: When ions rattle their cage

Electrolytes play a key role in many areas: They are crucial for the storage of energy in our body as well as in batteries. In order to release energy, ions - charged atoms - must move in a liquid such as water. Until now the precise mechanism by which they move through the atoms and molecules of the electrolyte has, however, remained largely unknown. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research have now shown that the electrical resistance of an electrolyte, which is determined by the motion of ions, can be traced back to microscopic vibrations of these dissolved ions.

In chemistry, common table salt is also known as sodium chloride. If this salt is dissolved in water, sodium and chloride atoms dissolve as positively or...

Im Focus: Harnessing the rain for hydrovoltaics

Drops of water falling on or sliding over surfaces may leave behind traces of electrical charge, causing the drops to charge themselves. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz have now begun a detailed investigation into this phenomenon that accompanies us in every-day life. They developed a method to quantify the charge generation and additionally created a theoretical model to aid understanding. According to the scientists, the observed effect could be a source of generated power and an important building block for understanding frictional electricity.

Water drops sliding over non-conducting surfaces can be found everywhere in our lives: From the dripping of a coffee machine, to a rinse in the shower, to an...

Im Focus: A sensational discovery: Traces of rainforests in West Antarctica

90 million-year-old forest soil provides unexpected evidence for exceptionally warm climate near the South Pole in the Cretaceous

An international team of researchers led by geoscientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have now...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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