Mindblowing: Science, Innovation, and a Win for Empathic Tech at Re.Work Berlin

By June 24, 2014 Events No Comments

At Argus Labs we only say “Mind = Blown” when we mean it. That ‘mind blown’ expression seems a perfect fit to describe the Re.Work Berlin experience. Not only did the conference challenge my beliefs of what is technically – and often practically – already possible, thanks to our Start-Up Stage win, it is a great validation of the intelligence layer we are building.

A Win for Empathic Tech

There’s pitching to VCs. There’s pitching to possible clients. And then there’s pitching to a crowd you know is way smarter than you are. The latter makes you sweat. Makes you do last-minute changes to your presentation (it’s OK to talk tech). Most of all, it makes you multitudes of happy when they decide using modern technology to analyse and quantify something as ‘old’ as human behaviour and mind set is the way to go.

Because how can we call technology ‘smart’, when it doesn’t understand the person that it’s interacting with and the context this person is in? Whether the person we’re communicating with is happy , sad, anxious or excited? Of course, there’s no advanced algorithms or deep learning needed to diagnose that we are super excited about our Re.Work Berlin win. A win for which we gladly share the credits with the sheer possibilities of machine learning put to work on the human mindset. (If you’re just as enthousiast about cognitive and affective computing, we’re hiring you.)

A Mindblowing line-up

So ‘Mind = Blown’, and even more about the talks covering science outside my expertise. Mind blown by Plantoids, powerless computing, and air purifiers that get plastic out of thin air:

  • Plantoids. Robots that look, act and grow like plants. Roots that grow autonomously into the soil, directed by a rotating heads filled with sensors. This has the potential to change brain surgery, do autonomous soil testing and so much more. (Barbara Mazzolai, MBR, Biomimetrics in action: plants as a new source of inspiration in robotics)
  • Transistor replacement. This was not the core subject of the talk, but it’s what I remember. Because of the heat that transistors generate, cores in CPU’s are reaching their upper limit in computation power. Now, using nano technology, it should be possible to replace transistors all together and even go towards a future where we can operate a computer without spending energy! (Luca Gammaitoni, Can we operate a computer without spending energy?)
  • Smog Eating Buildings. Decorative facades for buildings that act like large air purifiers to reduce air pollution in large cities. Now comes the crazy thing. The parts that remain on the purifiers can be used to synthesise a consumer plastic from CO2. (Daniel Schwaag, elegant embellishments, Ornament and climate)

Actually, almost the entirety of the Re.Work schedule should be listed as “at the forefront of its science discipline” (To avoid repeating ‘Mind Blown’ one time too many.) Re.Work Berlin was a brilliant experience with a great reward. We’re looking forward to working with MashUp Communications, and are going over the General Assembly courses list. Meanwhile, we continue working on the future of empathic tech.

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