Robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality

Future congress at WCCB presents innovative ideas

Michael Ricken (2.v.r.) und Edwin Naroska stellen die Puppen Elisa und Heidi vor, die Menschen mit Demenz den Alltag erleichtern sollen.

Michael Ricken (2nd from right) and Edwin Naroska present the dolls Elisa and Heidi, which are supposed to make everyday life easier for people with dementia.

The Future Congress "Bringing Technology to People" was hosted by the Ministry of Education at the WCCB. Innovations from robotics, artificial intelligence and virtual reality were presented.

Would I let my child learn to ride a bicycle with sensor support? Could it acquire the instinctive perception of the environment and the reflexes that can later save its life? At the fourth Future Congress on Human-Technology Interaction, held Monday and Tuesday at the World Conference Center Bonn, this technology was presented under the name „Safe4Bike".

Those who are sceptical about the digitalization of the world, those who think of the "Terminator" in Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), those who think of Isaak Asimov in everyday life when using robots and those who think of "Matrix" in Virtual Reality were out of place there. The conference was opened on Monday by Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek, who emphasized that all technology must always be of benefit to people and society. For two days there were lectures, discussions and workshops on future technologies.

In the foyer of the plenary hall, for example, techniques were presented that can be used to try  climbing path with VR glasses or to improve occupational health management with sensor support. In addition, there were robots that can help people with Parkinson's or severe disabilities, self-propelled robots and the like. And at one stand you got to know Heidi and Elisa. The two dolls can speak, are connected to the Internet and serve people with dementia to entertain and remember important things. Via a chat function, relatives can leave messages online that the dolls pass on to their owners. They can stimulate guessing games, sing and have limited facial expressions, so they can also transport emotions.

The maths performance group of the Otto-Kühne-Gymnasium from Bad Godesberg was there to take a look at these new technologies that may shape the future of young people. They found the "Multimodal Algebra Learning" particularly interesting. It makes it possible to understand mathematical formulas on a monitor. This certainly makes sense for schools, said Paul (17).

The pupils are of course digital natives. "I am less afraid of artificial intelligence," Claas (17) said. "It's a change: either you go along with it or you leave it out." Anna (17) also found that Germany should not allow itself to be left behind. For her it is a bit creepy when an A.I. has to decide about life and death in self-propelled cars. "We must confront ourselves with it."

INFO

The congress "Bringing Technology to People" is held every two years by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The specialist community can network and exchange information there. An app guides you through the rooms and the programme. This year's motto is "Sovereign into the digital future".

Info at www.technik-zum-menschen-bringen.de.

(Original text: Stefan Knopp; Translation: Mareike Graepel)