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Telekom’s Digital Garage takes a look into the future

Digitalization, collaboration and idea sharing are not only at the top of our list, but are they are also a priority at Deutsche Telekom, the largest European telecommunications provider. This is why they brought together a C-level audience from their customer base to discuss future trends. From AI to robotics and more, the conference provided many insights into what’s being developed and gave an outlook of what we could expect in the (near) future. Visionary speakers from various areas of expertise shared their ideas.

Personally, I was impressed by the selection of speakers and the innovativeness of Deutsche Telekom. More than once during the presentations, however, I caught myself making a connection to the Netflix series “Black Mirror” and its rather dystopian outlook on the impact of technology. By the end of the event though, I felt much less dystopian than expected, because – spoiler alert – the event also showed the positive impact of technologies like AI and robotics on the cityscape and environment.

AI, robots and humans — can we all work and live together?

After the morning presentations, I started wondering if the future of AI, robotics and the human connection is already here, and I just haven’t grasped its full extent yet. Not only are today’s robots more human than ever, but they are actually only one step away from being integrated into our daily lives. Sophia, the first humanoid robot, is taking her turns on various TV shows and recently became a citizen of Saudi Arabia. Though currently more of a media hype, Sophia and her friends seem to be becoming a part of our society sooner than later.

The connection to the human brain

While we are waiting for a Sophia or robot servants, teachers, drivers, etc. to make our days easier at home or in the workplace, chips and sensors are already here. A good example is how they support physically challenged people in achieving independence. In a test environment, paralyzed people are already able to control robot arms via an implanted chip, they move a drink to their lips, and accomplish much more. An impressive opportunity in the medical sector and for disabled individuals.

And just think about the possibilities, but maybe also threats, of brain-to-text technologies. Also in laboratories, brain-to-text is already working in an early stage scenario. Going even a step further, Elon Musk has launched a company that is doing research on a “super-brain” – a connection between “all” brains via chips enriched with a powerful AI machine. Who’s thinking 1984 now? Maybe fiction is a lot closer to our future reality than we think….

There was also a professor for future psychology who is researching the impact of the digital revolution on the human psyche. As he said, people need to get ready for the digital change, as they cannot just upgrade their brain’s software. We are all affected by the digital revolution, which will impact every aspect of life sooner or later. He told us that we need to find individual ways to adapt, e.g. through meditation, system engineering, neuro feedback or simple fantasy.

The digital revolution and its impact on the environment and safety

New technologies have always been met with a mixture of fear and skepticism, as history has shown. Every industrial revolution had a long list of skeptics. Nevertheless, they have all ended up bringing mankind a step further and have eased the way we work. Now, in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution, there is a fair share of skeptics again. But, as one of the presentations showed, there is also a lot of potential.

With autonomous cars and car sharing models offering alternatives to owning a car, we can now transform parking spots, garages and streets as we know them today into recreational areas. Moreover, robot drivers never drink and drive, speed or take other risks that put people in danger. An opportunity for a safer and healthier world?!

Impact on SER

New technologies will not only disrupt the way we will live in the future, but also the way we work. The digital workspace of the future has been a cornerstone of our strategy for many years now. We constantly assess and integrate the latest innovations and opportunities for our Doxis4 platform to stay ahead of our competition. I definitely returned home from this event with many new ideas and thoughts about future developments and how they can be applied to my personal life, my workspace and our solution.

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