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Introduction to the special issue on Artificial Intelligence for Society and Economy

AI can significantly support the societal and economic development driven by the rapidly emerging demand for innovative technologies in many application areas both in the public and private sectors. A special track of the XIII Symposium of the Italian Association for Artificial Intelligence (AI*IA 2014) held in Pisa, Italy 10-12 December 2014, entitled AI for Society and Economy attracted presentations with the intent to strengthen the awareness that AI is assuming a central role in the competitive strategies of the present scenario of rapid changes. This special issue starts from that precise aim by collecting contributions of selected presentations of the AI*IA 2014 Symposium that highlight original research or visionary challenges regarding societal or industrial problems for which AI can provide effective solutions.

The paper of Apolloni et al. entitled Social things: Now, we can envisions social functionalities for Open Internet of Things empowered by a computational intelligence approach. Users, household appliances and social networks are part of the SandS ecosystem designed in the frame of the EU project Social&Smart. Two mockups are described, running in Milan (IT) and Boecillo (ES).

In the paper State of the Art Language Technologies for Italian: the EVALITA 2014 perspective Attardi et al. start from the recent evaluation campaign of NLP and speech tools for Italian, called EVALITA 2014 and hosted at AI*IA 2014, to outlook results, challenges, and impact on applications and society of human language technologies applied to Italian texts. The paper cover the tasks of dependency parsing, temporal processing, and sentiment analysis.

The paper Design of Cloud Robotic Services for Senior Citizens to Improve Independent Living in Multiple Environments by Bonaccorsi et al. describes the use of cloud robotic solutions for supporting professional carers and families in the health-care management of senior citizens. The challenging objective is to provide socially and economically sustainable home care services to a long-term ageing society. The system designed is part of the EU project Robot-Era, and it is experimented on two smart environments located at Peccioli (IT) and Orebro (SE).

The paper Providing Physical and Social Autonomy to Disabled People through BCI, Telemonitoring and Home Support by Miralles and Vargiu presents a solution to provide physical and social autonomy to people with acquired brain injury that go back to home after a discharge. Context-aware techniques are adopted for a personalized and adaptable solution. The system designed is part of the EU project BackHome, and it is currently running at end-users facilities in Belfast (UK) and Würzburg (DE).

Finally, Musto et al.  in the paper A framework for Personalized Wealth Management exploiting Case-Based Recommender Systems propose a case-based recommendation framework to support financial advisors in providing clients with personalized investment strategies. The paper presents the architecture of a prototype implementation which overcomes the performances of human recommendations in experiments.

We congratulate the authors of the above papers for their valuable contribution to the special issue, and thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful and constructive comments.