Life Engineering - The book

Will Machine Intelligence Help or Hurt?

Humanity is facing the greatest change in its history, a leap in socio-technical evolution. That, at least, is the view that scientists from many disciplines and above all the media convey to us. They stir up hopes and fears. Medical professionals promise an increasing understanding of diseases such as cancer and tools to cure them. Logisticians dream of efficient passenger transport and goods flows with autonomous vehicles. Political parties want to disseminate and enforce their goals via digital media. And consumers expect ever new and improved offers of services and products such as a smartwatch with reliable measurement of heart frequency or stress level.

Such utopias are met with even greater numbers of dystopias. Robots become job killers; electronic communication displaces personal human communication; digital services relieve us not only of much work but also of much autonomy and lead to a surveillance state; digitalization widens the gap between population groups; and technology displaces the human element, i.e. humanism.

In recent years, numerous initiatives on the part of private and governmental organizations have begun to permeate the changes brought about by digitalization and to formulate ethical guidelines motivated by goals such as "digitalization for a better world" or "artificial intelligence for the benefit of people".

Life Engineering: Machine Intelligence and Quality of Life
Verlag Springer 2020,

ISBN-10: 3030314812, ISBN-13: 978-3030314811


Henning Kagermann, former CEO of SAP AG

This book is an extremely realistic review of technological trends and their consequences for people's quality of life. The questions raised and the attempts at rational answers contradict many of the views widely accepted today, especially on human autonomy. Whether one agrees or disagrees, the challenges facing the individual, business, politics and civil society are ones we must face

Prof. Thomas Hess,Director of the Institute for Information Systems and New Media at LMU

Machine intelligence is a challenge for people, companies and politics. The book provides a thorough analysis of technological trends and their opportunities and threats to the quality of life. Based on the maxim of Homo Digitalis' happiness, Österle formulates sometimes extremely provocative questions such as the value of privacy. It is precisely such questions and the answers that deviate from the mainstream on the basis of comprehensible considerations that make it mandatory reading.

Andreas Goeldi, Partner at btov Partners

If you want to think more deeply about what machine intelligence (aka AI) really means for humanity, you should read this book. Hubert Oesterle takes an amazingly broad and multi-disciplinary look at all relevant aspects, from the roots of human behavior to the impact advanced digital assistants might have on our daily lives (and who will control these assistants). Highly recommended!

©2019 by Life-Engineering

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