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"For the Future of Humanity and Our Planet"
- The Ever-Evolving Sony Computer Science Laboratories Embraces a New Mission

Since its founding 34 years ago, Sony Computer Science Laboratories (Sony CSL) has been committed to opening the possibilities of humankind and creating a better future through research. This year, Sony CSL has further advanced this philosophy by establishing an updated mission to conduct a wider range of activities with a scope that encompasses not only humanity, but also the planet itself.

Sony CSL is a research institute in which researchers of boundless creativity and ingenuity work to create a better future beyond the scope of imagination. Hiroaki Kitano, President and Director of Sony CSL (and CTO of Sony Group Corporation), believes that "to perform research is to open up the possibilities of the future," and that the future exists within the imagination of each researcher. At Sony CSL, researchers are tasked with envisioning the world of tomorrow and preparing for what will be asked of humanity with as much specificity and detail as possible as they engage in their individual projects.

For the 34 years since its establishment in 1988, CSL has focused on creating a better future through utilizing the talents of its research team made up of outstanding individuals from a wide variety of fields. At the time of its founding, research was conducted primarily on computer systems, distributed operating systems and artificial intelligence. Later, as its research areas diversified to include domains such as sustainability and human augmentation, CSL began to go beyond mere academic research and began taking real action, going into the field, and, in some cases, working to realize the concrete transformation of various systems around the world, all while working to implement and disseminate the fruits of its research throughout society.

The "Planetary Agenda"
- What it Means and Why it is Necessary

During Sony CSL Open House 2022, a three-day event for CSL researchers to present the findings and progress of their ongoing projects to the public, Kitano announced that Sony CSL's mission statement, "Conducting research for the future of humanity," would be revised for the first time since the institute's founding, to "Conducting research for the future of humanity and our planet."

KEYWORD of Updated Mission Statement Planetary Agenda 惑星規模の重要課題 我々の社会の現実は、貧困、高齢化、食料、資源、医療・健康などの各領域で極めて難しい問題に直面しています。さらに、人類文明は、不可逆的気候遷移や生物学的多様性の喪失などの自然環境の大きな変動の原因ともなっています。これらの問題は、複雑かつ多様であり、相互に連関し、我々に極めて過酷な現実を突きつけるものであるとともに、人類文明の枠組みをも超えた惑星規模の重要課題 (Planetary Agenda) であります。その解決には、領域を超えた全く新しい発想、文明の転換への意思と卓越した実行力が必要となるでしょう。 Copyright 2022 Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc., Tokyo, Japan

Kitano believes that it is no longer possible to ensure the sustainability of the entire planet simply by considering and taking on the challenges faced by humanity alone, a fact that was made clear by observing the human response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Although a large-scale global lockdown occurred in 2020 during the early stages of the pandemic and greatly reduced global CO2 emissions, it was not enough to slow the progress of climate change, and data shows that CO2 emissions have already returned to pre-pandemic levels. Furthermore, some predict that the loss of biodiversity due to environmental degradation caused by deforestation and pollution may increase human contact with wildlife carrying unknown viruses, increasing the risk of future pandemics.

With the belief that the challenges we face should be viewed not primarily in terms of our own human civilization, but as important issues on a planetary scale that transcends the framework of humanity, Kitano has concluded that "our efforts must also be considered in the broader scope of the future of this planet - the Earth itself."

Sony CSL has already launched a number of research projects that take this new perspective to heart. One example is "Synecoculture™," which aims to recover and enrich biodiversity while producing food through the creation of human augmented ecosystems. Sony CSL is also engaged in research and social implementation of the "Open Energy System (OES) Project," which aims to realize sustainable and renewable energy through super decentralized, dynamically reconfigurable open energy systems.

The revised mission statement signifies that, more than ever, Sony CSL will unleash the full power of its individual members, maximize the influence it projects across the world, and make friends who share its ambition, a philosophy they call "Global Influence Projection." Sony CSL considers its existence as an experiment as well as an adventure, referring to itself as a "Dispersive Organization" as it continues to explore new ways of operating as an organization in a time of drastic changes in human civilization and on the planet Earth.

Dispersion Copyright 2022 Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc., Tokyo, Japan

Sony CSL Open House 2022
- the Present and Future of Sony CSL

The Sony CSL Open House 2022, held from March 16 to 18, featured presentations on more than twenty ongoing research projects. This year, the Open House was open to the public for the first time, which "provided an opportunity to introduce Sony CSL's research to a wide range of people and to think together about ways to contribute to the future of humanity, society, and the Earth," Kitano recalls.

Each day of the event was centered around a different theme: "Data & AI," "Human Augmentation & Creativity" and "Sustainability." Even within each day's theme, the variety and depth of the research projects on display was vast, including projects related to neuroscience research for mental health, corporate currency in the age of Blockchain, using technology to preserve and augment traditional Japanese tea ceremony, AI-assisted music creation, "Synecoculture™" and more.

Sony CSL is an organization that constantly challenges itself to evolve and adapt to an ever-changing world. Redefining the mission to include the "Planetary Agenda" is part of that spirit, and opening this year's Open House to the public similarly represented a new approach with a radically different, global perspective.

Sony CSL will continue to evolve and change into the future along with humanity and the planet itself. And as for exactly what that future will look like, only time will tell.

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