[Herald Design Forum 2019] Daimler art director puts spotlight on empathy in future mobility

By Kim Bo-gyung

Published : Oct 10, 2019 - 15:57
Updated : Oct 10, 2019 - 15:57

Alexander Mankowsky, art director at leading German carmaker Daimler, said Thursday that empathy should be the priority in future mobility so that companies can roll out innovative automated vehicles capable of interacting with pedestrians.

“If we have to talk about ethics, we need to talk about what is human. What are we humans? How would you like to be? That process is always for people. We need to see what we are and what do we want to be,” Mankowsky said at Herald Design Forum 2019 in central Seoul.

“We are deeply embedded into the biological world. … The key is empathy -- how it works, how we read the intentions of others. … Mobility is a cooperative activity, based on mutual empathy,” he added.

Alexander Mankowsky, art director at Daimler, delivers a speech titled “Ethics by Design: Informed Trust, an Interaction Concept for Self-Driving Cars Based on Empathy” at Herald Design Forum 2019 in central Seoul, Thursday. (Lee Sang-sub/ The Korea Herald)

Mankowsky gave a speech titled “Ethics by Design: Informed Trust, an Interaction Concept for Self-Driving Cars Based on Empathy” at the forum.

Since joining Daimler’s research division in 1989, Mankowsky has focused on social trends in mobility. His areas of study encompass technology development alongside research aimed at offering Daimler an outlook on future prospects.

Mankowsky said driverless cars should be able to interact with pedestrians by spotting human movement and shadow using various sensors to ensure road safety.

For instance, luxury German carmaker Mercedes-Benz’s “cooperative car,” part of its top notch S-Class series, features a 360-degree light-signaling system on the roof to notify pedestrians of the vehicle’s presence and the next steps it plans to take.

To smooth the interaction between humans and self-driving mobility, a set of guidelines or rules needs to be in place, he said.

“True innovation is based on empathy,” one of the presentation slides said.

“Erotic desire drives empathy. The bonding between the inventors’ spirit and the world around is basically sexual. Curiosity is about touching things,” it stated.

Making a clear distinction between humans and machines, Mankowsky specified a few things that should not be automated: empathy, compassion, love, interaction, communication, creativity, curiosity, willfulness, desire, eroticism, solidarity.

Areas that should be automated are functions specific to machines and are network-related: data-based complexity, parameterized systems, repetitive tasks and time-critical tasks.

By Kim Bo-gyung (lisakim425@heraldcorp.com)


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