AI4EU Café presents: The growing mismatch between our social structures and our new technologies


On Wednesday May 27th at 3 pm, the AI4EU Café presents live:


Steen Rasmussen from University of Southern Denmark & Santa Fe Institute

with his talk on:

Title: The growing mismatch between our social structures and our new technologies.

Some conclusions from our workshops and working groups at the Lorentz Center and the Santa Fe Institute, 2015-2020.


What is Steen’s talk about:

The 21st century has thus far been characterized by a growing gap between physical and social technologies. Our physical technologies — automation, data collection, AI, and biotechnology — are accelerating as our social technologies — governments, market regulations, education, healthcare, and other social institutions — struggle to keep pace.

Physical technologies are tools for transforming matter, energy or information in pursuit of our goals while social technologies are tools for organizing people in pursuit of our goals. Under this definition, our social institutions, economy, and laws are technologies that, like physical technologies, can be studied and improved (Beinhocker, 2007). 

Several times throughout history, situations have emerged when our physical technology has outpaced our social technology. The industrial revolution is one recent example of such change, when new technologies harnessed new energy sources, created mass production capabilities as well as developed new means of communication, shifting the dynamics of labor and capital inputs and creating population upheaval, economic inequality, and social unrest. In response, new policies, laws, and systems of administration were created to help manage the impact of these new technologies, which all together have changed what it means to be human. 

Based on data starting about year 1200 till today I will give a historical perspective of the coevolution of our physical and social technologies and what it means for our development of wealth. One of the main conclusions of our study is that our definition of wealth likely will change in the foreseeable future (Sibani & Rasmussen, 2020). A more true measure of wealth is access to solutions for human problems and not as now the sum of the value of products and services at the market (Beinhocker, 2017). 

Then I’ll give a few examples from our studies regarding possible solutions to mitigate the current mismatch between our physical and social technologies:

(i) Cyberspace: by introducing democratic governance of our converging critical infrastructures (action at state level); by implementing local data storage (action at individual level). (ii) Businesses: by implementing ethical business models; by sharing part of the gains from automation to provide better access to solutions to human problems (action at company level supported by local/national government). (iii) Climate: by development of carbon neutral regions (action in a private public partnership). (iv) Narratives: by updating our big stories about how the world works and what is possible (action mainly by artists).

Short CV:

Co-Founder and CTO, Transparent Internet, Spain and Denmark

Co-Founder and CTO, BINC Technologies. LLC, New York, USA

Professor in Physics and Center Director, University of Southern Denmark

External Research Professor, Santa Fe Institute (SFI), New Mexico, USA



My name is Carmen Mac Williams, your Organizer and Moderator of the AI4EU Café. I am the Director of the company Grassroots Arts, and partner in the European AI4EU project.


If you have questions about the organisation of this AI4EU Café or if you want to become a Speaker yourself in one of the next Web Café Sessions, please contact me:


AI ML Ai42020 AI4EUCafe AICafe AIWebcafe Artificial Intelligence Künstlicheintelligenz