Society and Technological Development – the Engineering Program 2017 and Beyond
2018 marks the 200th birth year of philosopher Karl Marx, whose work dealt to a wide extend with the impact of the 1st Industrial Revolution on society. Facing the prospect of the 4th Industrial Revolution we realize it is still technology that drives societal change.
However, it is not only about production and economy anymore...
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Innovations such as robots, cyberphysical/embedded systems with their local intelligence, and the network supposed to build connections among them and to humans, the Internet of Things, are much more pervasive. They will influence deeply the different labor environments as well as our public and private lives. No doubt, these topics will to a wide extent determine the direction of Springer′s Engineering publishing program of roughly 1000 new books annually in 2018 until well into the 2020ies. Enabling the Internet of Things is an example of this direction.
Among the many technical books we published in 2017 within this cluster, Automated Driving and the textbook Robotics, Vision and Control are the most popular. The latter is supported by a MOOC provided by the author. In this area, with its second edition, the Springer Handbook of Robotics has almost reached normative status. In Fall 2017, jointly with industry partners, SpringerNature organized a workshop on Life & Robotics with invited researchers from the handbook′s community, framing the way ahead in Robotics and beyond.
From the history that followed Karl Marx′s analysis and ideas, it can be concluded that societal change should better be considered concurrently with technological development. Humanizing Digital Reality and Modelling Behavior represent such approaches to Engineering Design. Challenges posed by transportation and mega-cities for growing populations, not only in the third world, are particularly in the focus. Disrupting Mobility deals with these questions in the triangle of the sharing economy, urbanity, and transportation.
The value of crypto-currencies for society is certainly arguable. The fact, though, that global Bitcoin transactions consume as much energy as all of Ireland is quite alarming. Fortunately, there exists meanwhile a wide stream of research on responsible technologies for saving of resources, as in Water Resource Systems Planning and Management and sustainability as in Sustainable Manufacturing, as well as for the generation of clean energy, as in the Handbook of Ocean Wave Energy.
Engineering is powerfully interdisciplinary, with new areas constantly emerging by spin-offs and mergers of more established areas, with nobody involved truly respecting academic borderlines. One of those is represented by the Handbook of Satellite Applications that includes aspects of both communications and aerospace technologies. But seemingly established fields such as communications are still fertile ground for dynamic innovation, as can be read in 5G Mobile Communications and Error-Correction Coding and Decoding .
Sometimes, it is useful to take a step back, take a wider perspective, and explore how progress in science and technology takes place. Such as in the Springer Handbook of Model-Based Science that merges cognitive and epistemological perspectives on scientific models.
To conclude let us take a look at one of the icons of Aerospace literature, Schlichting′s Boundary-Layer Theory , whose first German edition was published in 1951 and underwent another up-date in 2017.