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Advancing knowledge on how emerging technologies can be leveraged to benefit Canadians: Insights and opportunities for knowledge mobilization and future research

As the transformational impacts of technologies continue to play an increasing role in our lives, a better understanding of the social, economic, legal and environmental impacts of emerging and digital technologies is critical to optimizing their use, and to ensuring equitable access to meet the needs of Canadians. These issues are explored in addressing the question “How can emerging technologies be leveraged to benefit Canadians? ”as one of six future challenge areas identified in the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) Imagining Canada’s Future initiative. In 2016, social sciences and humanities researchers from across Canada were invited to address this question through an open call for proposals, with a focus on identifying key strengths and gaps in current knowledge related to the impacts of emerging technologies across multiple sectors of society. This report draws on the findings of their 24 knowledge synthesis reports, as well as on insights from exchanges among researchers, graduate students and cross-sectoral leaders. Overall, the researchers’ findings call for future research to be increasingly interdisciplinary and longitudinal. Meaningful and inclusive dialogue about emerging and disruptive technologies among and across communities, individuals, researchers, industry and all levels of government is critical to building upon and applying resulting knowledge.