Research MagazineWhat unites and divides humans and machines

Heidelberg, 23 July 2020
No. 60/2020

Latest issue of research magazine “Ruperto Carola” now out

Why are we fascinated by the idea of transferring human qualities onto machines? Where are the differences between the human brain and a computer? Can we imagine memory as a time machine? The latest issue of “Ruperto Carola”, the research magazine of Heidelberg University, focuses on the theme of MACHINE & MAN. The discussion starts off with inputs from two experts that are woven into a dialogue about the way the human mind and software interrelate and contrast with one another from the angles of brain research and geoinformatics. The following articles from different disciplines explore what unites and divides machines and humans, where they learn from one another and how they can complement each another.

RuCa16 Maschine & Mensch - Cover

The human body is familiar with both “protein factories” and “soft machines”. With the aid of artificial intelligence, machines are now able to compete with humans at all possible levels, even including language. Neuroprostheses are human-machine interfaces that can replace missing or lost physical functions. And the novel discipline of molecular engineering assembles nanoscale components into such tiny systems that they are revolutionising traditional approaches to robotics and lay the groundwork for futuristic applications in our daily lives. Back in the past, machines were developed in order to creatively meet challenges in manufacturing and industry. In their application and interaction with humans they do not just bring benefits, however, but also lead to distortions. In their articles, 24 scientists present cutting-edge research at Heidelberg University in the natural and life sciences and also new findings on the topic of MACHINE & MAN from economics, politics, history, ageing research, industrial and organisational psychology, law and computer linguistics.

The research magazine “Ruperto Carola” appears twice a year in German with English abstracts and is addressed to all members of the university, its partners in research, politics, business and society, and also particularly to alumni, friends and an interested general public at home and abroad. The magazine is available in the Communications and Marketing department of Heidelberg University (Old University, Grabengasse 1, phone +49 6221 54-2311).