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New Prospects on Automation
Gerhard Pratl

Gerhard Pratl was organizer of the ENF - 1st International Engineering & Neuro-Psychoanalytic Forum. He finished his PhD in April 2006. His research on the Vienna University of Technology at the institute of computer technology focuses on communication technology in industrial and building automation as well as the integration of classical building automation with psychological and neuropsychoanalytical models. He works in project ARS and project SENSE (funded by the European Commission), which are the two most relevant projects focussing on this direction of research..

Speech Summary

The future of automation requires new models for information processing; processes are getting more complex, integrate more sensory information and have to meet advanced user requirement. We have already successfully separated information flow from energy flow and we are today able to precisely model processes in confined environments. But we need to find ways to enable machines to operate in an environment that has been designed for humans, not for machines. Machines need to perceive and to recognize in a human-like way, identify their environment and decide upon knowledge they have gained Engineers have until today ignored the results of the scientific field of neuro-psychoanalysis. The combination of neuroscience and psychoanalysis has brought forth a consistent functional model of the human mind, which can be used as a foundation for technical systems. By translating this model into the engineering domain and implementing the functions of the human psyche, machines will gain human-like abilities and engineers can rely on a model that covers the complete human psyche including the phenomenon of consciousness (which is currently out of scope of implementation). By accepting that machines may be operated by drives, affects and emotions, a new era of automation will begin.

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