Hi. I’m Jürgen.

PhD Student - Human Robot Interaction

2 column paper to kindle

There are not many things I would say I hate however there is one I do. A scientific paper with two columns. Actually any book paper whatever with 2 columns. It is realy a pain to read such pdf on a kindle or any other output files. To solve my problems I set down for 2 hours and created a small script which convertes a 2 column pdf into a nice for kindle readable pdf and sends it directly per email to my kindle.

If you like this idea. Check out the docu on GitHub: https://github.com/BrandiATMuhkuh/paperToKindle

Humans, it is time to replace labor and step up!

Freedom is not to do what you want. Feedom is not to do what you don’t want.


In 2009 while I was writing on my bachelor thesis I compared the future of mobile GPS (GPS in Smartphones) with Maslow’s Pyramide of Needs. This was probably the first time I really had to think about the future of humans and our needs. Now four years later, I’m doing my PhD in Human Robot Interaction and I have similar thought. This time they are more concrete. This time I think, “What if human labour is replaced by robots?”. I know for many who think about his scenario, it sounds more horrifying than great. What should humans work in the future. How should we manage such a world? One reason for this way of thinking is, that it is hard for us (humans) to think without our feeling [here a reference from a study on this field]. For example, if you are hungry and someone asked you following question: “If you are on an island for one week. What do you want? Water, or Food”. Most people will say food. But if you ask them after a workout and they are thirsty, they will say water[ref]. As you see, feelings lead our thoughts. The problem with the idea of no labour and robots is, that we are right now in a economy crisis. Most of us know someone, or see in the news every day about places with not enough work, or other places where the only possible work is labour. This feeling blocks our bigger picture of the future. This picture is about fear and not about hope. Where politicians painted many years ago a fascinating great and healthy future for all of us, nowadays politicians work with fear for a bad dangerous future. I believe we should go back to a wonderful image of the future. And one wonderful image is, no single person on this planet needs to work in a hard and unhealthy environment any more, if they don’t want.

Every month or so, I will extend this article or write a new one, where robots help or replace humans in an labour intensive job, so those humans don’t need to have an unhealthy workplace any more.




Robot Ethnics

This morning I stumbled over a newspaper report about the Campaign To Stop Killer Robots. Since I started my PhD in Human Robot Interaction where my interests are clearly focused on the disruption robots will have in the society, I followed this campaign and I think it’s my duty to write and think about this subject.

For many people robots are still SciFi. If we look at the reality we can see that robots create emotions and some types of robots create the feeling they are really alive [Kate Karling, re:publica 2013]. On the other hand, fully autonomous defence systems like the Phalanx CIWS are used without any human interference.

I believe scientists, companies and politicians must carefully think about how they want our future to be. And think if it is a good idea to move the power of decisions from humans to computer systems.

If YOU want to create and design a robot or better fully autonomous computer system make yourself confortable with the “PRINCIPLES OF ROBOTICS REGULATING ROBOTS IN THE REAL WORLD” written in 2010 by EPSRC and AHRC.


My supervisor wrote a similar blog entry and I think it is worth sharing with you http://www.bartneck.de/2013/06/09/death-by-robot-who-will-be-to-blame/


Inspired by Adam Marcus grodschool guide I thought it would be a good idea to post about my PhD.

About one month ago I finished my master in Computer Science, more specific Media Informatics (Human Computer Interaction and Software Architecture) at the Vienna University of Technology. Two days later (2013.03.31) I was on my way from Vienna/Europe to Christchurch/New Zealand to start my PhD in Human Robot Interaction (HRI) at the HITLabNZ.

HRI does not only mean walking, talking, moving robots it is also about the influence on humans and the society. In my case, I’m very interested how robots influence the human communication by using specific words or special gestures. I think it is very important to understand how Humanoids or Androids) influence the human perception, especially when we have robots in every classroom and every household.

Just thinking about the power a company who creates all the robots would have when they can access all the sensors at once. Big Brother is watching you. Oh and whats about the way robots speak with humans. Is it possible introduce Newspeak? I hope not. But we have to find it out and create rules for robots, for science and for decision makers, or we may face a not so happy future.

PS: I hope my english will improve during my PhD. Sorry my mother tongue is german.