The next generation of socio-technical system can be seen as a kind of “focal point” for the convergence of a number of current trends in computing, information systems, and information technology. These trends include the technology-driven instrumentation of infrastructure by ubiquitous computing and/or “intelligent” devices, with the prefix
“smart” now taking precedence over the prefix “e-,” i.e., SmartGrids, SmartCities, SmartMotorways, etc., rather than the e-commerce, e-health, e-learning initiatives
commonplace at the turn of millennium.
Consequently, the next generation of socio-technical system will be underpinned by the most advanced and potentially most “intelligent,” technology so far invented; but the “socio-” part — involving human behavior, nondeterministic decision-making and interactions, complex social structures like organizations and institutions, culture,
morality, ethics, and above all values — are essentially unchanged, except to the extent that they are irrevocably changed by the technology itself.