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What if machines and computers decide to replace humans, considering us outdated and inefficient subcomponents?



Image: Fraunhofer IWU

This is a question that has been raised time and again and has long preoccupied philosophers, ergonomists and filmmakers (take The Matrix, for example): humans and machines – who’s controlling whom? It is certainly a worthwhile topic for consideration! At the moment humans give the instructions and computers put them into effect; that is how a computer is programmed. We need to make sure, however, that computers do not end up organising and “optimising” our entire lives, relationships and social interactions. The most important thing is, and will always be, sound human judgement. Or to say it with the famous American media theorist Neil Postman once said: “While we can ́t do much about the rapid growth of new technology, it is possible for us to learn how to control our own uses of technology.”

Dr Susann Beetz, Project Coordinator for the Ideas 2020 exhibition, answered this question.