Augmented reality festivals

In den letzten Jahren fanden zahlreiche Festivals statt die sich mit dem Thema VR und AR auseinandersetzten. In diesem Beitrag möchte ich einige interessante Projekte vorstellen.

urbana AReal

Das Places _ VR Festival ging im Sommer 2020 hauptsächlich virtuell über die Bühne. Neben spannenden Vorträgen konnte man im Rahmen dieses Festivals das urbanana-AReal bestaunen. Hierbei haben fünf Augmented-Reality-Kunstwerke, die bereits existierende Street-Art-Werke (Graffiti, Murals, Bildtafeln) um eine neue Form der Kunst erweitert. Dabei ergänzen und überlagern so kunstvolle 3D-Animationen, Videos oder Bilder die Realität.

Das Projekt bringt Kreative und Entdecker/innen zusammen und entwirft mit urbanana-AReal einen Stadtrundgang, der auch unter den Bedingungen sozialer Distanz realitätserweiternd wirkt.

Die Geschichte der Cordillera Blanca als VR/AR-Erlebnis

Alexander Lunas transmediales Projekt ”Yuraq Janka – Cordillera Blanca” befasst sich mit der durch die Erderwärmung bedingten Transformation des peruanischen Gletschergebiets Cordillera Blanca. Außerdem will er auf die Klimaklage gegen den deutschen Energieversorgungskonzern RWE aufmerksam machen.

Direkte Erfahrungen, unterschiedliche Perspektiven und Wissen über die Region und die Auswirkungen des Klimawandels sollen den BesucherInnen der Ausstellungen vermittelt werden. Es wird unter anderem eine AR Karte der Cordillera Blanca erstellt, welche sich aus einem zweidimensionalen, grafischen Kartenwerk, einem 3D-gedrucktem Relief und AR-animierten Inhalten zusammensetzt. Der Künstler selbst ist dabei vor Ort, um als Erzähler und Ansprechperson stets zur Verfügung zu stehen. Die Konsequenzen des weltweiten Gletscherrückgangs sollen so für die BetrachterInnen, in einer für sie berührenden Form, greifbar gemacht werden.

Das Projekt hat zwei klare Ziele. Zum einen will Alexander Luna einem internationalen breiteren Publikum, vor allem aber den Menschen in Peru und Deutschland, die Hintergründe der Klimaklage näherbringen. Zum anderen will er die Erstellung eines physischen und digitalen Zentralarchivs der Cordillera Blanca initiieren – einen sicheren Raum für die Erinnerungen an diesen Ort.

Re:imagine Street ARt mit Samsung und VR-Nerds

Unter dem Motto “re:imagine Street ARt” fand im Sommer 2019 derzeit in Berlin eine innovative Ausstellung von Samsung und unterschiedlichsten Künstlern statt. Mit diesem Projekt wollte der koreanische Hersteller Kunstwerke durch die Augmented Reality erweitern und ihnen eine zusätzliche Ebene verpassen.

Das Künstlerkollektiv Tape That verwandelte einen Raum in eine optische Illusion, die die Grenzen und Strukturen der Wirklichkeit aufbricht. Passend dazu können Besucher mit dem Galaxy S9 die beeindruckende Installation zum Leben erwecken und interaktiv mit farbigen Würfeln anreichern, um den Raum kreativ zu erweitern und umzugestalten.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BnHVGmGgQ8R/?taken-by=vrnerds

Quellen:

Automotive CGI // Staud Studios

Die Welt der Werbung verändert sich. Eines der Besten Beispiele dafür im Automobilsektor ist René Staud, welcher mit Fotografie begann, die gesamte Branche revolutionierte und nun mit seiner großgewachsenen Firma Staud Studios immer wieder Maßstäbe im Werbebereich setzt.
Staud hat sich über Fotografie, zu Film, bis hin zu CGI und interaktiven entwickelt und bietet nun umfangreiche Kampagnen an:

” We do not produce single digital assets anymore. To us assets are the assembling of atoms. Those atoms are films or pictures, backgrounds and landscapes, headlines and price tags, logos and legal copies. And product shots of course. So millions of configurations are possible in real time. “
– Staud Studios

Staud steckt hierbei den Rahmen für ihre Produktionen so weit, dass nicht nur Fotografie und Film als Ziel stehen, sondern aus den digitalen Assets auch interaktive Apps oder Webseiten entstehen, mit denen der Kunde Fahrzeuge direkt in einer möglichst realitätsnahen Umgebung konfigurieren kann.
Dadurch wird die Werbeproduktion in vielen Punkten ein weniger kreatives Projekt und bringt auch großes Maß an strategischer Planung und Entwicklung mit sich.

Automatisieres Generieren von Werbeformaten.
Quelle: https://www.staudstudios.com/

So nutzt Staud ein breites Feld an digitalen Werkzeugen um nicht mehr nur Fotografien zu machen, sondern digitale Bilder oder Interaktive Anwendungen rund um den Automobilsektor.

Aufbau eines digital erstellten Bildes für Mercedes Benz
Quelle: https://www.staudstudios.com/

Die Funktion illegaler Drogen im Film

Im Blogpost „Die Verwendung von Traumsequenzen in narrativen Filmen“ wurde bereits auf die Rolle von Träumen eingegangen. Dieser Blogpost soll daran anknüpfen und die Rolle von Drogen und Drogentrips im Film behandeln. Wie man aus dem Blogpost „Rauschzustände im Film. Der Sprung vom Experimentalfilm zum Spielfilm ins Mainstreamkino“ schon herauslesen konnte, schienen Drogen schon sehr früh in der Filmgeschichte auf und übernahmen zu unterschiedlichen Zeiten und gesellschaftlichen Entwicklungen auch unterschiedliche Rollen.

Akt der Zerstörung und Isolation

Sehr häufig besteht die Funktion von Drogen im Film darin, einen Akt der Zerstörung und Isolation zu Symbolisieren. Beispiele dafür wären der Abstieg und die Rettung des Junkies Jim Carroll in „Jim Carroll – In den Straßen von New York“ (1995),  der Selbstzerstörungswahn in „Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas“ (1998) oder der Drogenkonsum in dem Film „Walk the Line“ (2005) der den biografischen Hintergrund des Musikers Jonny Cash aufzeichnet.

Opfer von Drogen und Gesellschaft

Der Hauptcharakter in „Jim Carroll – In den Straßen von New York“ (1995) befindet sich nicht nur in einem Akt der Zerstörung, sondern nimmt auch eine Opferrolle ein. In dem Film „Requiem for a dream“ (2000) wird Drogenkonsum ebenfalls als „zerstörerischer Albtraum ohne Hoffnung“ dargestellt[1] und der Film „Dealer“ (1998) thematisiert mithilfe einer Charakterstudie eines Dealers die Hilflosigkeit von Süchtigen.

Droge als einziger Ausweg

In den Filmen „Jim Carroll – In den Straßen von New York“ (1995) und „Walk the Line“ (2005) werden Drogen als Ausweg aus Sinneskrisen oder persönlichen Krisen genutzt, während sie in „Clockers“ (1995) den letzten Ausweg zur Existenzsicherung darstellen und in dem Film „Knallhart“ (2005) die Drogenmafia als letzte Lösung auf eine Chance auf Sicherheit und Schutz vor Bedrohung und Gewalt gesehen wird.

Flucht vor der Realität

Auch die Funktion als Fluchtmöglichkeit um der Realität oder seinem Alltag zu entkommen, wird, wie in den Filmen „Candy“ (2005), „Wasted!“ (1996) und „Human Traffic“ (1999) zu sehen ist, gerne eingenommen. Im Film „Trainspotting“ (1995) wird eine bewusste Entscheidung Drogen zu nehmen getroffen, um der normalen konsumorientierten Welt zu entkommen.

Bewusste Entscheidung

Wie gerade erwähnt wurde ist der Film „Trainspotting“ (1995) ein gutes Beispiel für die bewusste Entscheidung zum Drogenkonsum. Doch auch für den Konsum von Marihuana wird oft eine bewusste Entscheidung getroffen, da Marihuana in den Filmen „Grasgeflüster“ (2000) und „Lammbock – Alles in Handarbeit“ (2001) auch die Rolle als Genussmittel einnimmt. Der Film „Groove 130bpm“ (2000) stellt Drogen ebenfalls als Genussmittel dar, wenn es kontrolliert eingenommen wird.

Verstärkung der Sinne

Der Film „Candy“ (2005) ist ein gutes Beispiel für die Funktion von Drogen als Sinnesverstärkung. Der Film behandelt die Verstärkung der Euphorie und die Intensivierung der Liebe durch Drogenkonsum.

Drogen als Ersatz und Kompensation

In „Traffic – Die Macht des Kartells“ (2000) werden Drogen konsumiert um Liebe und Anerkennung zu ersetzen und im Film „Clubbed to death“ nimmt der Drogenkonsum die Rolle als Ersatz und Ausdruck unerfüllter Sehnsucht ein.

Als Chance

Der Film „Maria voll der Gnade“ (2004) handelt vom Schicksal von kolumbianischen Drogenkurieren und stellen den Drogenhandel als Chance, eine bessere Zukunft aufbauen zu können, dar. Auch der Film „Blow“ (2001) handelt von einem Drogendealer und ermöglicht eine eher positive Sicht auf den Drogenhandel, da er auch in diesem Film genutzt wird, um der Erfüllung der Träume des Protagonisten näherzukommen.

Wie zu erkennen ist, nehmen Drogen, Drogenkonsum und -handel verschiedene Rollen in narrativen Filmen ein. Während der Konsum von Marihuana und Haschisch meist als Genuss und Betäubung der Sinne gesehen wird, tragen Drogen wie Heroin, Crack und Kokain meist schwerwiegendere Folgen wie Selbstzerstörung oder die Einnahme einer Opferrolle nach sich, wobei die Motive meist die Flucht vor der Realität oder der Drogenkonsum als letzter Ausweg sind. Drogenkonsum im partysetting wird auch sehr oft in Filmen thematisiert und wird genutzt um der Realität zu entkommen, unerfüllte Sehnsüchte zu stillen oder einfach um in den Genuss der Sinneserweiterung zu kommen. All‘ diese Filme nehmen jedoch gleichzeitig auch die Funktion als Informationsquelle ein und zeigen wie eine Sucht verlaufen kann, ermöglichen die Identifikation mit den Charakteren und geben einen Einblick in ihre Motive. Manche Filme legen größeren Wert auf diese Informationsfunktion und manche Filme gelten eher der Unterhaltung. Je nachdem um welche Filme es sich also handelt können sie auch zu Suchtprävention und Aufklärung herangezogen werden. [2]


[1] Goette, Sabine/ Röllecke, Renate: Illegale Drogen in populären Spielfilmen. Eine kommentierte Übersicht über  Spielfilme zum Thema illegale Drogen ab 1995. Köln: Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung 2008, S. 23

[2] Goette, Sabine/ Röllecke, Renate: Illegale Drogen in populären Spielfilmen. Eine kommentierte Übersicht über  Spielfilme zum Thema illegale Drogen ab 1995. Köln: Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung 2008

I’m down, cheer me up!

At least since the beginning of the 21st century, we can witness a shift in the occurring of mental illnesses and how we treat them. On one hand, we face an increase in i.e. depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorder, and on the other hand an increasingly outspoken society that stands for the destigmatization of mental disorders.

Mental health is without a doubt of great importance since it affects how we think, feel, and act each day. It contributes to our decision making process, how we cope with stress and how we relate to others in our lives.

What is happening?

Our mentality is affected by biological factors, our family history, and life experiences. The interaction between society and ourselves, be it physical or digital, contributes to the changes in psychology. Western civilization is best characterized as a rather individualistic society that is embedded in capitalism, demanding hard work to live a good life.

In search of…

There is an ongoing search for finding inner peace and a true self for generation X and Y, even for people who are not suffering from mental diseases. It seems like a lot of people have a latent dissatisfaction, and that combined with a quantified self that tries to be as good as it can to keep up, makes up a search for “healing”. Recently many different practices got popular, such as yoga and meditation, fasting, taking ice baths while using the Wim Hof (breathing) method, or participating in an ayahuasca ceremony, just to name a few. So people do all sorts of things to approach their mindset, and to be more healthy.

A creative approach

So, to me the topic of mental health is very interesting as you might have noticed, and I want to help. If my final proposal will be located in the medical sector, in the field of consumer electronics or somewhere else is open for now. But to narrow it down I will focus and further discover the following:

Medical VR: Is there a way to enhance the effects of therapy with the aid of technology? I think of a tool for psychiatrists and psychologists to deepen the connection with their clients. A well-designed tool that is easy to use yet effective. To open up in front of a therapist one needs to feel comfortable. To do so it might be interesting to use virtual reality to provide an experience that is a vehicle to better understanding – to feel more empathetic. The therapist could see through the eyes of the client for example with projected POV images.

If somebody suffers from a childhood trauma it could also be possible to generate scenes (with AI) in which the trauma is revisited in a positive way to overcome the trauma. I am curious about creating a journey in which the user goes through different stages, representing an experience that will change his life or at least his mood for the better. With sophisticated tools like measuring the heartbeat, transpiration, eye movement, and so on, the experience could be an answer to the current body situation, always adapting to the user.

Affecting the senses: Very tempting to me as well is the design of light, sound and haptics, and the embedment into our everyday life. A haptic object that calms us down, mood changing lights or touching sounds – our senses need to be approached multidimensionally. Currently, light is used more and more to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a sort of depression that occurs typically during autumn and winter each year. But we are not only affected by the sheer amount of light but by the colors, the combination with sound and haptics. There is more to discover to deal with our senses in a more appropriate way on a multidimensional level.

References

Homo Deus, by Yuval Noah Harari (2015)

https://aixr.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/disabled-man-in-vr-goggles-PQAVZFV-1080×675.jpg

https://www.br.de/puls/themen/leben/mental-health-initiativen-depression-psychische-gesundheit-100.html

https://miro.medium.com/max/640/1*r3nk1mgPBKaNEjKeAY6Ptg.jpeg

Illustration Techniques 01

Linoleum print

How to make a linoleum print and possible outcomes.

Linoleum print is made by using tools to cut a design into a linoleum plate. Once the design is finished a roller is used to spread colour onto the plate. A sheet of paper is placed an top and pressed down on the plate to transfer the print.

One colour examples

Multi coloured prints

Linoleum prints with multiple colours are made by using multiple linoleum plates.

Using linoleum print to create patterns

Linoleum print in communication design

Still life photography has a life of its own

The tradition of “nature morte”, which has been established in painting and photography for a long time, goes far beyond the representation of the still life in its meaning. There is a possibility for the designers to give his work a strong narrative, complex and also enigmatic character. Thus, at best, a story should be created through the symbolic use of objects. For example, the portrayal of transience, called “Vanitas” in classic still life painting, and the portrayal of death were often used in order to create an elementary question.

Still life photography is only as meaningful as its motifs can work together as an overall concept. The things that surround us in everyday life define us. They also reflect our self-esteem. Objects we associate with properties and memories, and accordingly we evaluate fellow human beings and surroundings based on the objects that are there. As an example, we associate something different with a filigree porcelain bowl than with a Tupperware box. It also depends on whether you have already had experience with such objects and whether you like them visually.

In still life photography, either the attempt is made to support and strengthen the original association of the object, or it is placed in a completely new context. Here, an attempt is often made to give the staged thing a personality with a change of perspective. This new subject or this new personality can be influenced primarily with props and the composition, as well as colors and backgrounds. The aesthetics of the material play a major role and how “alien” the scenery is designed. An apple bedded on a piece of meadow with greenery as decoration has a completely different effect than an apple wrapped in packaging material on a concrete floor.

A big aspect of modern still life is provocation. From an artistic point of view, the urge for contrasts and opposites often predominates. While a product photography takes care to visually unite the object with the background and the props, the modern still life tends to attract attention in an unfamiliar and charming environment. Color contrasts and eye-catching combinations are extremely important here. It goes in a surrealistic direction, in which one wants to change the usual reality.

Clumsy Interaction

Description

I’m clumsy, it’s one of my characteristics and it’s always the first-word people use to describe me.
I thought a lot about this word and ended up asking myself the question: Is it me who is clumsy or my interactions? So what is a clumsy interaction? For me, it includes all interactions that result in a different outcome than expected, whether it is a man-to-man or man-to-machine relationship.
I wondered where this awkwardness could come from, and if it was inappropriate behavior? Indeed, when we consider something different or have difficulty understanding it, we try to adapt our behavior and this adaptation is not always successful and this is what I would call awkward interaction.
In some cases, the adaptation is quick and after two or three clumsinesses, our behavior becomes adequate, while in other cases, the adaptation seems impossible and the clumsinesses are recurrent.
By studying a human’s behavior, we can understand how he functions and the situations he has difficulty coping with. Through this research, I plan to use Behavioural Design to better understand the subject.

Motivations

What interests me about interaction design is that it is centered on the human, his behavior, and the way he interacts with his environment, both real-time and digital.
My main motivation for this subject is above all to understand human behavior because before analyzing interactions that can be awkward, it is necessary to understand how humans interact. It is also to understand their relationship to the object, how it is characterized because it is a key element in the appearance of awkwardness.

Introduction

I decided to focus on this research on clumsy interactions between humans and machines or between humans and objects. I am trying to understand where this awkwardness comes from, at what level it appears, and what the factors are. Here are different examples and scenarios that lead me to the main questioning of my research.

Understanding clumsy interaction

First example

Video : https://youtu.be/8dUqDbK6LMY

We have an older person, she uses her phone, and like many people her age, she has difficulty understanding all the possible uses. Her interaction with the object is limited by her lack of knowledge, not intuitive of the object and this creates awkwardness.

Exactly the opposite of this scenario we have the interactions between children and smartphones. These interactions are intuitive and above all too important. Where older people will have difficulty in appropriating the object, children, digital natives, will make it an extension of themselves. And in that, it is also a clumsy interaction because a smartphone is there to be used as intelligently as reasonably.
Let’s now talk about Beatrice Schneider’s Tody concept, which focuses on this subject by creating a product that makes the link with the phone and aims to reduce the time of use of smartphones by children. This small object serves as a vector between the family, the child, and the phone.

What is also very interesting with this product is the fact that it is equipped with two eyes, a mouth, and four legs, which makes it immediately more alive.
All this information leads me to a first question:

What is the impact of society and new technologies on our interactions and behaviors, according to our profile?

Second example


Let’s now take as a reference a garbage can and the attitude we have towards it. It is an everyday object, yet our consideration of this object is negative, we tend to find it dirty and we don’t particularly like to interact with it.

Objects are the basis of our everyday interactions, but more than objects, machines are also present in our daily lives. It is important to see that today we try to minimize the discomfort and awkwardness in our contact with objects and machines through personification.
Let’s take the example of the robot Nina from the CNRS, which aims to assist people and help them in their daily life. What is interesting with this robot is that it has been given a personality and humanity through its face. He has lips, articulated jaw, irises, eyelids and is animated to reproduce facial expressions. This “human” appearance will not theoretically be of any use to the robot, yet it will allow people to perceive him differently and thus give him a real place in everyday life.

A well-known example of the implementation of human behavior in a robot is the movie Wally, where we are shown the history and “life” of a robot, we can feel emotions and empathy when looking at it because we can clearly see eyes and a head.
All this information leads me to a second question:

How do we consider objects through our interactions?

The Environmental Film Activist Handbook | entry seven

TIPPS for green filmmaking ( a more environmentally friendly production)

Transport:

  • Only use as many vehicles as needed
  • Try to transport as many people in one car as possible
  • If possible use cars with a low emission rate (easy to do when you rent cars for the shoot)
  • Minimize the trips
  • Plan and organize the trips beforehand so unnecessary trips can be avoided

Energy saving:

  • Try to get energy from renewable sources
  • If possible use photovoltaic kits
  • Do not leave electrical devices on if not needed
  • Avoid the use of halogen, incandescent or fluorescent lights. They use a lot of electricity and therefore have a higher negative effect on the environment and have a higher electricity cost. Use LED lights instead.

Accommodation:

  • If the crew and or actors need an accommodation during the shooting days try to find a location close to the set

Catering:

  • Provide drinking water and other drinks in big containers with reusable bottles or cups for each person on set
  • Use reusable plates & cutlery 
  • Serve environmental friendly food/ low on animal products/ regional products
  • If possible go to restaurants, because of the waste management 

Material selection:

  • Use recycled materials
  • Use thrifted set decoration
  • Reuse materials
  • Reduce to a minimum paper based communication

Waste management:

  • Use different bins for different waste
  • Recycle 

Example:

The Vienna based film studio Das Rund already sets a good example for sustainable film production. https://dasrund.com

This is what they say on their website about sustainable film production:

For us, as a creative house, sustainability is a matter of the heart. It is our own responsibility to set concrete guidelines and to keep improving. We follow our principles on set, as well as in our office, and in our bar. Receiving the Austrian eco-label as the first commercial production company proved to us that we are on the right way. However, we are already thinking about the next steps to achieve even better results for our one and only planet Earth.

Das Rund green producing efforts:

Mobility

  • Our vehicle fleet is gradually being converted to e-cars and scooters.
  • We travel by train instead of flying whenever possible.

Food

  • Purchasing food for our employees in the office: regional and in reusable bottles.
  • We provide detailed guidelines for our catering partners (regional products, no plastic).
  • Bio Kistl from Admah

Water

  • We use water gallons and recyclable bottles instead of PET.

Styling

  • We preferably style loaned or second hand. 
  • If we need to buy clothes for a shooting, they will be donated afterwards to our neighbors  BABÄM, whose proceeds go to the children’s village.

Recycling

  • Recycling on set and in office goes without saying.
  • Paper: we only use 100% recycled paper. In general, as little as possible is printed, we prefer digitalization.
  • Detergents and hygienic paper with ISO type 1 eco label

https://www.lafc.at/index.php

https://greenfilmshooting.net/blog/de/

https://grüneskino.de/blog/ueber-das-buch/

https://www.ffhsh.de/de/film_commission/gruener_filmpass.php

Inclusive Interaction Design for the Elderly (1)

How does existing accessibility elements in UI/UX design impact digital usage by elderly and how can they be improved?

Digital interaction is a big part of our daily lives now. The rapid changes in this digital world have both advantages and disadvantages. Following trends and adapting to new technologies is getting harder by the day, especially for the elderly. With increasing senior population especially in the developed world and fast paced changes in technology isolation is imminent. Older generations are excluded from so many developments that change our lives for the better. With the hit of a pandemic it became much more apparent how online and digital technologies can change so much and help us in our lives. And specifically in this example senior citizens should be the ones who are able to take advantage of these developments and tools. But they mostly can’t because of several different reasons like hardships regarding usability, learning issues, trust issues, all in all not being able to adapt to these changes.

There are existing accessibility options embedded in the interfaces we use daily, most of them being OS based. How do these solutions compare to each other, how often are they used and by whom? Universal design principles are key to these elements and they must be as accessible as possible by the user. If these features are hidden in the interface then it defies the purpose.

This whole experience can be improved with better guidelines for designers and adding empathy into the equation. Can every app or appliance be adapted to the seniors through this method?

I’ve chosen this topic mainly because I’m highly interested in inclusive design and my motto would be “design for all”. Besides that, I also have co-written a paper on a similar matter which broadened my perspective for the topic and provided me with the necessary basis for a starting point.

Sources:

  • https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2015/02/designing-digital-technology-for-the- elderly/
  • https://www.toptal.com/designers/ui/ui-design-for-older-adults
  •  https://www.nngroup.com/articles/usability-for-senior-citizens/
  • https://uxplanet.org/accessible-design-designing-for-the-elderly-41704a375b5d
  • https://uxplanet.org/ux-accessibility-for-elderly-12-principles-9708289b6f78
  • “User interface based on natural interaction design for seniors”
  • https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/learn-to-create-accessible-websites-with-the-principles-of-universal-design
  • https://www.w3.org/WAI/fundamentals/accessibility-intro/
  • https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/understand-the-social-needs-for-accessibility-in-ux-design

Why artificial intelligence is kind of stupid and will kill us all

Artificial intelligence (AI) is used in an enormous number of fields. It is guiding us through critical decisions in logistics, health, finance and which Netflix series to watch next. Even though we use AI a lot, many people do not know too much about it. What people think about artificial intelligence reaches from ‘my fridge sends me smileys’ to ‘the end of the world is near’. While it’s currently used how many apples there shall be in the stores to buy for next week, people are discussing about how it will take over the world and kill humanity.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how scared should we be now?

The word AI is a dangerous buzzword. It is so abstract and broadly used that people mix up a lot of things while still saying the truth. The term is so difficult to define because we already have difficulties to define what intelligence exactly is. We need to differentiate between machine learning, neural network and artificial intelligence to understand these broad assumptions about the technology.

Non-scientific graph of a timeline considering the possible futures with artifical intelligence based on first impressions when you start researching about this topic

Machine learning: In machine learning for example, the machine learns from its experience. Here you simply input data and it will output something. It will learn and understand after a while. But as soon as you change things a little, the system will fail. It is a technique to recognize patterns – it can differentiate, this is a cat or a dog or the word ‘hello’ and then do something according to what it already learned.

Neural network: A neuronal network is a method to achieve machine learning. It is how you might build the actual software of machine learning to do the process of learning. It is an algorithm which models how our brain works. When neurons are combined you can have a set of inputs. Those inputs are moving further down in the network until a certain threshold is met. This threshold can be tweaked and trained with a feedback system. You will tell the system what the desired result is. This creates the ability to recognize patterns. So, this whole process is a method for pattern recognition. There are other ways to do it too, but this is the most frequently used.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): While machine learning is about pattern recognition, AI is mimicking to be intelligent. A computer can exhibit being intelligent but without actually being intelligent. An often-used example is the mind game of a man in a room with lots of information on Chinese language. A Chinese man could be standing in front of that room, sending messages to the other. While the other one has all the data and time to answer the messages, the Chinese man outside would think he is writing to someone, who is familiar to the language. But the man is just exhibiting to speak Chinese without truly knowing Chinese language. Furthermore, we need to differentiate between a weak AI and a strong AI. A weak one exhibits the characteristics of being intelligent while a strong one could possibly form a consciousness and is self-aware. This brings questions of morality and ethics.

An interesting aspect of AI is shown in the work of the researcher Janelle Shane. In her TED talk she explains the power but also the limits of AI. She says: ‘The danger of artificial intelligence isn’t that it’s going to rebel against us, but that it’s going to do exactly what we ask it to do’. Computers and algorithms have no common sense. It’s difficult to think of every possible outcome, use case or scenario while programming.

Further questions to be answered

The motivation behind this topic is to see what all the fuss is about. Getting a clearer image of what is going on with this technology and learn how I can maybe use it for my own work or how we can deal with it in our everyday life. We need to understand how much it is already embedded in our everyday life and understand where this might take us. I want to dig deeper into the concept of how it works, what it can do and where the limits are. Furthermore, it might be appropriate to listen to what no one else but Elon Musk and Bill Gates are warning about. Elon Musk is basically warning us that AI will take over the world and we need regulations before it’s too late. He talked about AI as ‘an immortal dictator from which we would never escape’. Maybe we should all panic now.