Talking heads are setting up

Physical distancing in a collaborative research center? Necessary, but only temporarily, please. I am curious to get to know all the talented young scientists who have joined the collaborative research center (CRC) during the last weeks.

Our kick-off event planned for April would have been a great opportunity to meet. There will be many opportunities soon, that is for sure, but no “Kick-off” because the ball is moving already and we do not kick air. “Opening” maybe, or “Get Together”. We continue setting up and building infrastructure for supporting social exchange and learning that are part of the fun and fuel of science.

Several important steps in setting up are managed: we have bylaws and a working executive board, a powerful digital collaboration tool and a management office pursuing onboarding and public relations activities, planning events and research training. Soon, I will learn about the research work that proceeds in the projects. There are some inevitable delays and challenges, particularly for the many projects working with participants in behavioral experiments. Nonetheless, we are in the game and are setting up also for welcoming participants and guests.

Setting up the CRC currently involves a whole lot of videoconferencing and digital communication but it is running smoothly for the most part thanks to the energy of experienced individuals in charge with whom it is a pleasure to work with – including their energetic kids participating voluntarily in meetings. Videoconferencing and digital collaboration tools are a blessing when social distancing is required. Technology can increase flexibility.

Sami Haddadin shared his vision of how a hybrid society would have been much better prepared for the Covid-19 pandemic (Die rettenden Roboter kommen/robots are coming to the rescue, FAZ April 20th 2020). He imagines that in a hybrid society there would be enough suitable autonomous and teleoperable robots to avoid direct social contact and hence infection risk (also to be better prepared in the future, he calls for investment in embodied artificial intelligence, well, rattling is part of the craft).

Discussing and developing ideas about instantiations and challenges of hybrid societies within the CRC will soon be possible again in close contact and with an exciting multitude of disciplinary and personal perspectives. I am curious.

Prof. Dr. Georg Jahn (Spokesperson)