About Us

Research for the future of humanity and our planet

Message from the Director
To do research is to open up the future, and that future exists in the imagination of each researcher. And that future exists in the imagination of each researcher. Sony Computer Science Laboratories (Sony CSL) contributes to the creation of a future beyond imagination by supporting researchers with extraordinary imagination. We human beings have amazing potential and great diversity, and we believe that maximizing our creativity, intellectual capacity, and physical capabilities and expanding them through the use of technology will change the nature of civilization and challenge the possibilities of humanity. Humanity, which has extended technology as an extension of itself, has the potential to make a qualitatively different leap forward from what we have seen up to now, if we consider this as the next step in evolution.

Despite this potential, the reality of our society is that we face extremely difficult problems in each of these areas: poverty, aging, food, resources, and medicine/health. Furthermore, human civilization is also responsible for major changes in the natural environment, such as irreversible climate transitions and loss of biological diversity. These problems are complex, diverse, and interconnected, and they pose us with an extremely harsh reality. To solve these issues, we will need to think outside the box, have the will to transform our civilization, and have the ability to execute with excellence.

Sony CSL was founded on the principle of "research for the future of humankind," and today we have taken that principle even further and have come to believe that our mission is to conduct "research for the future of humankind and this planet.

In 2008, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of our institute, we proposed "open systems science" as an approach to science for open systems, instead of the conventional approach for closed systems. The global environment and global social systems, for example, are made up of complex interactions, and open systems are typical examples of systems whose boundaries are virtually undefinable. When we get creative ideas, we are not confined to a limited network of knowledge. Furthermore, when humanity externalizes technology to itself, it becomes an open system, connected not only to nature but also to social systems. Open systems research, because of its complexity, openness, and uniqueness, can be said to be research that challenges the understanding and design of unrepeatable and extremely important phenomena. In such research, science as empirical science and art, or ars, in its original sense, must work together.

In order to solve problems arising from the nature of such systems, we believe that it is necessary to integrate knowledge from a wide range of fields and, at the same time, to go beyond academic research and actually take action, dive into the field, and in some cases, even conduct research while continuing to be involved in the transformation of the systems themselves.

With this in mind, we have adopted the action principle of "Act Beyond Borders. We believe that we should transcend the boundaries between countries, research fields, and even between research and business, and take action to solve problems, create new possibilities, and contribute to the world. The basis for this is the imagination and obsession of each researcher who engages in research. In a sense, this means that each researcher must challenge the limits of his or her own imagination. The question is how much we can embody our vision of the future. The ability to imagine in as much detail and concretely as possible the extremes of what will happen in the future and what needs to be realized, and then to actually realize them, is being tested. This vision of the future determines the direction of what needs to be done now.

At Sony CSL, we support the process of turning this source of imagination into a precisely envisioned future. While the results of our research are sometimes returned to the world in the form of the creation of so-called academic disciplines or major academic contributions, there are also many things that need to be developed into concrete actions in order to be returned to the world in a solid way. Some of our research results are returned to the world through Sony Group businesses, others are realized through like-minded domestic and international companies, public utilities, and government agencies, and still others are directly commercialized by us, depending on the will of each researcher and the nature of the theme.

Sony CSL is and will remain a small organization. We believe that for this organization to cross borders, take action, and change the world, we must unleash the power of the individual to the fullest extent, and continue to project our influence to the world to the greatest extent possible, creating like-minded people and accomplishing great transformations. This can be called the Global Influence Projection. The Sony CSL organization itself will continue to change in order to realize this philosophy.

Sony CSL is a platform for the future of humanity and the planet.

Hiroaki Kitano
Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.
President & CEO
February 2022

Accelerate Evolution, Explore Eternity, Harmonize Both.

Message from the Chief Science Officer
As a research institute at the intersection of cutting-edge technology and human potential, we are in a position to shape the evolution of society.

In an everchanging world, the need for solutions to complex problems is higher than it has ever been. Our mission is to make use of the vast potential of our technology, which has computer science at its core, to solve the numerous issues that face humanity. With an understanding of the duality of hopes and anxieties that arise from rapid technological advances, we pledge to pursue the eternal values that define human nature and lead humanity to a prosperous future.

Sony Computer Science Laboratories has adopted the action principle “Act Beyond Borders,” and has transcended narrow academic findings to make wider contributions to social development. We aim to contribute to humanity and society by investigating and implementing desirable solutions in a wide range of social sectors, including industry, education, health, creativity, and culture. Without fear, we will realize ideas that we firmly believe will be universal in the future, even if at present they may seem unconventional, eccentric, or even delusional.

At the same time, we are actively engaged in researching eternal human values, culture, and the arts. We will respect essential and eternal human and social values in our investigations without being swayed by technological changes in the near-term. This is because we believe that a sophisticated fusion of innovation and permanence is crucial to achieving technological development that contributes rather than impairs the fulfillment of human values.

Our four research locations in the cities of Tokyo, Paris, Kyoto, and Rome all symbolize our research philosophy of combining innovation and permanence. Our choosing these four “Città Eterne” expresses our conviction that it is important to respect diverse points of view, creativity, judgments, traditions, and cultures, and combine them with leading-edge technologies.

We will also establish a research organization that put into practice innovative systems that transcend physical limitations. We will continue to stand at the forefront of information and science technology, and make even research methods and laboratory management themselves subjects for research and practice, to push the limits of science and beyond.

Sony Computer Science Laboratories is committed to striving ahead in this journey while fully aware of our significance and social responsibility as a research institute. We will engage in our research activities in order to further cultivate eternal human values and promote the evolution of human society.

Jun Rekimoto
Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.
Chief Science Officer / Fellow
July 2023

Open System Science

Founder's Message
Since its establishment, Sony Computer Science Laboratories has had "open systems" as its consistent theme. When the institute was first established, we had a vague apprehension about using conventional scientific methodologies in conducting research on artificial intelligence and distributed systems. Over time, I came to understand that the reason for this uneasiness was that the subject of our research was open systems.

Open systems are to closed systems (closed systems). In the past, science and technology have solved problems by defining the domain of the problem, dividing it into simple subproblems, solving each, and reconstructing the results. In recent years, however, we have reached a situation where we must solve problems that cannot be defined in isolation and cannot be easily divided into subproblems. Common examples are problems of the global environment, sustainability, economic phenomena, and life. These problems are complex and interrelated with a wide variety of elements, and the state of the subsystems containing those elements changes simultaneously.

For artificial systems, we can mention huge systems connected by the Internet and man-machine interaction. In such large systems, the boundaries of the system and the services provided change from moment to moment, and it is almost impossible to have sufficient knowledge of the elemental systems needed to control the entire system. In addition, to provide a truly user-friendly environment, one must know humans well. Humans, however, are extremely multidimensional, and their behavior is strongly dependent on circumstances and time. We felt that it would be impossible to understand and attempt to solve these problems solely on the basis of reductionism.

In 2008, Sony Computer Science Laboratories proposed a new scientific methodology to solve these major problems, which is called "Open Systems Science." In addition to "analysis" and "synthesis," this new methodology includes the concept of "management" of temporal changes in systems. This methodology was subsequently expressed in the following concrete steps.

If the behavior of the model is inconsistent or deviates from the behavior of the real system over time, the model is modified. If there are unacceptable inconsistencies or deviations, the model is modified, and if necessary, the domain of interest is changed. Whereas the methodology of conventional science gives us a way to dig deeper, the methodology of open systems science gives us a way to understand and solve problems in a constant interrelationship. We believe that the complementary use of these two methodologies provides the means to solve the problems that have confronted us in recent years.

The practice of open systems science cannot be done in the confines of a laboratory. In the laboratory, we may be able to explore problems in depth by working hard in a given area of research. However, unless you look at the field, you will not be able to solve the problem with an understanding of the interrelationship between that problem and other problems. This is where Sony CSL's "cross-border, take-action" research attitude comes into play. In other words, crossing borders and taking action are the essence of practicing open systems science.

Mariou Tokoro
Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.


The components of Sony CSL's research concept are represented by seven primitive elements: Energy, Wave, Time, Life, Language, Intelligence, and Binary, each of which is symbolized by a simple shape that serves as a core element in the overall design. Energy, Wave, Time, Life, Language, Intelligence, and Binary, each symbolized by a simple shape.

The Sony CSL symbol is an unknown shape composed of all seven elements. These elements overlap and connect to form an infinite pattern. This represents the possibilities of the ever-expanding scientific field that interacts with each other.

By sublimating flexible and dynamic scientific elements into design elements as they are, the logo is not limited to a single shape, but is a dynamic identity that is rich in diversity.