Human-Machine Interaction

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Putting humans first

Machines and digital devices have long become a regular feature of our everyday private and working lives. Self-learning systems are bringing human and machine even closer together, once again changing our relationship to technology. The benefit of machines for humans and society must be a paramount consideration in the course of this development.

Self-learning systems and Artificial Intelligence have become a regular part of private and work life. Smartphones keep us in touch with each other at all times, intelligent assistance systems give us access to a wealth of information in real time, and assistance systems are even helping us at work or at home (e.g. robot vacuum cleaners).

These few examples are only the beginning of a development that will once again effect fundamental change in the relationship of man and machine. Tasks which can be automated will eventually be automated, at least in part. Self-learning systems can support humans in these tasks or take them over entirely, for example in hostile-to-life environments. Technology can provide assistance in carrying out jobs in situations that are demanding, dangerous, dirty or monotonous or in which large amounts of data need to be analysed.

As a result, humans and machines will be interacting even more closely, with consequences for both the individual and society. Politics, industry, science and society must therefore play an active role in determining how and where they are used. Human-machine interaction must always put humans first and design systems to match their needs and skills. Humans must see the advantages of the new AI technologies and remain autonomous when using them if they are to gain acceptance. That acceptance is important when it comes to making full use of self-learning systems – and to securing Germany’s future economic health and strength.

These issues are the focus of Working Group 2 headed by Ms Elisabeth André (University Augsburg) and Mr Wilhelm Bauer (Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO) of the Plattform Lernende Systeme.