Upgrade or Overload: When Human Augmentation Pushes Into Our Lives

Norma Steller, Nils Lahmann, Andreas Argubi-Wollesen, Eric Eitel

In this session we will explore the latest advances in augmenting human capabilities through technology. Learn about their impact in practical areas such as elderly care, discuss potential ethical implications, and engage with the scientific community and their current research projects.
Stage 10

Imagine a future where our bodies can outperform any Olympic athlete’s, where our minds can communicate with machines as easily as we breathe. Welcome to the world of human augmentation, where our native capabilities are increasingly becoming optimized, enhanced, or even completely redefined thanks to additional physical support such as robotic exoskeletons or virtual augmentation like AR & VR. This development is rapidly gaining momentum. So, no matter if it sparks joy or jitters, it’s time to talk about how exactly the technology is being used at present, where it is headed, and what the potential (ethical) boundaries might be. 

We intend tackling this complex subject starting with the here and now. Making it as tangible as possible for a wide audience by taking a look at where human augmentation is a reality today: In a field where societies with aging populations are already facing acute challenges – in aged care – where, on the one hand, there is the question of how we can support those providing the necessary care for growing numbers elderly people in the future, and on the other, how can we deal with growing labor shortages in the healthcare sector. 

The geriatric ward at Berlin’s Charité hospital is one of the world’s pioneers in nursing care research. It deploys and conducts detailed studies into the application of augmentation solutions for its healthcare professionals. Here, together with involved nursing care researchers, human-computer-interaction experts, and developers of the technology, we will explore where this technology is heading and what it means for our future (work) lives. 

We intend to take an experiential excursion into the growing dimensions of human augmentation together with interested folks at re:publica. One that not only takes place in the form of theoretical impulses and discussions but also on a physical and interactive level. Various human augmentation “devices” that have been created for experimental, industrial, and artistic works will be available for experiencing firsthand on site. 

Profilbild von Norma Steller
Chief Product Officer
Das Bild zeigt Gesicht und Oberkörper von Prof. Dr. Nils Lahmann von vorn.
Stellvertretender Direktor Forschungsgruppe Geriatrie, Fachbereichsleitung Digitalisierung & Pflegeforschung