Dr. Anette Hilbert
Communication Systems, Human-Machine Interaction, Health
From intelligent robots and tiny interconnected devices right through to learning algorithms that interpret neuro-signals – the technology that humans use today is no longer a passive tool but an active companion in their lives. Although we have surrounded ourselves with technological tools, useful aids and gadgetry for thousands of years, a new dynamic has developed in recent years. It is bringing humans and technology closer and closer together. As technical systems become more autonomous and their functional scope expands, it becomes increasingly challenging for humans to utilise and control the technology in a way that aligns precisely with what they want.
The interplay between humans and technology needs to be managed responsibly. This task calls for a wide range of academic disciplines such as ICT, robotics, cognitive and engineering sciences, design, psychology and social sciences. A multi-disciplinary approach is the only way that a rigid, mechanical function can be replaced by a natural interaction that corresponds to the human senses.
Interactive technologies make a very important contribution to our quality of life. Modern healthcare relies on medical technology that is dependable and easy to use. This kind of technology helps doctors with diagnosis and treatment and it is also used in preventative medicine. It can help people to live long, healthy lives. Our everyday environment is enriched by intelligent assistants and new opportunities for social communication and collaboration. Interactive technologies enable us to shape our living environment so that it provides us with a good life in a modern society, in the long term.
Here, the technology learns from and with humans. Autonomous systems undertake individual assistant tasks and also tackle complex situations. Nevertheless, whether it is in the workplace, in public places or at home in our own four walls, the more effectively technology can adapt to and support people’s interests and abilities in different situational contexts, the more urgently we need to address the ethical and legal issues.
Our interdisciplinary teams have been anticipating these developments for some years already and have been working to draw up possible courses of action.
We help politicians, the scientific community and the private sector in Germany and internationally to deal with the challenges and opportunities brought about by the new relationship between humans and technology.
We work together with all relevant players to discern the most favourable framework conditions in order to attain success in interdisciplinary and multi-perspectival research and development projects.
We ensure that both strategic planning and short-notice implementations are carried out successfully.
After all, the aim is that in the coming centuries, the field of intersection between humans and technology will still be yielding highly-dynamic innovations that are chosen by and precisely tailored to the needs of humans.