Grand challenges for ambient intelligence and implications for design contexts and smart societies

Norbert Streitz*, Dimitris Charitos, Maurits Kaptein, Marc Böhlen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This paper highlights selected grand challenges that concern especially the social and the design dimensions of research and development in Ambient Intelligence (AmI) and Smart Environments (SmE). Due to the increasing deployment and usage of ‘smart’ technologies determining a wide range of everyday life activities, there is an urgent need to reconsider their societal implications and how to address these implications with appropriate design methods. The paper presents four perspectives on the subject grounded in different approaches. First, introducing and reflecting on the implications of the ‘smart-everything’ paradigm, the resulting design trade-offs and their application to smart cities. Second, discussing the potential of non-verbal communication for informing the design of spatial interfaces for AmI design practices. Third, reflecting on the role of new data categories such as ‘future data’ and the role of uncertainty and their implications for the next generation of AmI environments. Finally, debating the merits and shortfalls of the world’s largest professional engineering community effort to craft a global standards body on ethically aligned design for autonomous and intelligent systems. The paper benefits from taking different perspectives on common issues, provides commonalities and relationships between them and provides anchor points for important challenges in the field of ambient intelligence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-107
JournalJournal of Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Ambient intelligence
  • GDPR
  • Opaque AI
  • algorithmic transparency
  • artificial intelligence
  • autonomous intelligent systems
  • citizen-centered design
  • data science
  • design trade-offs
  • ethically aligned design
  • future data
  • general artificial intelligence
  • general data protection regulations
  • governance of technology
  • human control
  • human in the loop
  • humane and sociable AmI
  • hybrid city
  • machine learning
  • multi-armed bandit problem
  • non-verbal communication
  • privacy by design
  • self-aware city
  • smart city
  • smart environments
  • smart-everything
  • spatial communication interfaces
  • traceability of algorithms
  • uncertainty


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