Univ.-Prof.in Dr.in Martina Mara | November 20, 2018 | 13:00 | HS 2
Robotics and Artificial Intelligence entail many opportunities for humanity: From improving medical diagnoses to enabling greater autonomy for the elderly, from cleaning the house to optimizing energy efficiency. In the public discourse, however, smart technologies are customarily represented by the stereotypical image of the android, the artificial replication of the human being. Based on psychological findings, Mara argues that a human-centered approach towards technological development must foster new visions of complementary human-machine relationships instead of fueling fears of substitution. Furthermore, as many outside the expert circles still lack information about technical functions and feel uncomfortable with technology they don’t understand, there is a need for user empowerment: By explaining basic technological concepts to the public and by designing machines that are explainable themselves.
Prof. Martina Mara is a leading expert on human-robot relationships and head of the Robopsychology Lab at the Johannes Kepler University Linz. Her team explores how autonomous machines should look like, behave, and communicate in order to establish comfortable interaction experiences for varying target groups. She earned her doctorate at the University of Koblenz-Landau’s Institute for Communication Psychology and Media Education with a dissertation on anthropomorphic machines. She regularly speaks at international conferences and she writes about social impacts of emerging technologies in her weekly tech column „Schöne neue Welt“ („Brave new world“). As a member of the Austrian Council for Robotics, she advices the Austrian government in establishing a strategy for the application of robotics and artificial intelligence.