We need lots of imagination to solve some of the big problems facing mankind#

Hermann Maurer


In this talk we claim that many of the biggest problem facing mankind cannot be solved by just minor changes, but do need entirely new approaches. We try to show this by discussing some major problems and unusual ways to potentially handle them. We start with a new look at CO2, global warming and the often ignored consequences of population growth and migration. We need much more clean energy for many reasons, but traditional techniques of production will not suffice. We present a solution for the traffic of the future. We then show weaknesses in the analysis of big data, how automation will change the world in ways rarely discussed, and how the internet is reducing our cogniitive capacities, is changing our culture …and why some of the dreadful sounding consequences are not as bad when considered carefully. We finish by pointing out one of the main problems of ongoing digitization by presenting one rather amusing example, and one that certainly is not amusing.

This rather provocative talk is suitable for a wide audience. All statements are based on results that are testable or replicable in laboratories, yet whether they will impact society as is discussed will depend on economical and other parameters, and this is where there is ample rooom for speculation (used by the speaker) and discussion (with the audience).

Hermann Maurer
Prof. Hermann Maurer

The Interdisciplinary Scientific Seminar of the University of Science and Technology

The lecture of Prof. Hermann Maurer (Graz University of Technology, Austria; Member of Academia Europaea) took place in cooperation of the University of Science and Technology with Academia Europaea Wrocław Knowledge Hub within a cycle of open meetings, organised by the University, under the name of Interdisciplinary Scientific Seminar.

The meetings present lectures of worldwide known speakers and are directed to the broad audience – students, PhD students, scientific staff and all recipients interested in broadening their knowledge related to exact science. The University of Science and Technology every month hosts one expert, who talks about most recent research in his field. Detailed information about the Seminar is available at the Seminar website (in Polish).

The lecture was financed by the resources granted to AE by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

The University of Science and Technology every month hosts one expert, who talks about most recent research in his field. Detailed information about the Seminar is available at the Seminar website (in Polish). The lecture is financed by the resources granted to AE by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

Hermann Maurer – Curriculum Vitae#

Study of Mathematics at the Universities of Vienna (Austria) and Calgary starting in 1959. System Analyst with the Government of Saskatchewan in 1963. Mathematician-programmer with IBM Research in Vienna 1964-1966. Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Vienna 1965.

Assistant and Associate Professor for Computer Science at The University of Calgary 1966-1971. Full Professor for Applied Computer Science at the University of Karlsruhe, West Germany, 1971-1977, Visiting Professor at SMU (Dallas), University of Brasilia (Brazil), and at the University of Waterloo, during the same period, for three months, each.

Full Professor at the Graz University of Technology since 1978, Dean of Studies 2000-2004, Dean of the new school of computer science 2004-2007. Founder, and later scientific advisor of the first research center on Knowledge Management in Austria.

Adjunct Professor at Denver University 1984-1988; Professor for Computer Science at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, in 1993 (on leave from Graz). Visiting Researcher for half a year at Edith Cowan University (Perth, Australia) in 2003.

Maurer received a number of awards, among them German Integrata-Prize (for Human Software) in 2000, the ‚AACE Fellowship Award’ of the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education in 2003; he became Foreign Member of the Finnish Academy of Sciences in 1996 and member of the Academia Europaea in 2000, where he was elected chairman of the section Informatics in April 2009 and as member of the Board in 2012. In 2001 he was awarded the „Austrian Cross of Honors for Arts and Science Class I”, also in 2001, the „Large Medal of Honour of the Province of Styria”. He received Honorary Doctorates from the Technical University of St. Petersburg in 1991, the University Karlsruhe, Germany, in 2002, and of the University of Calgary in 2007.

Maurer is author of twenty books, over 750 papers in various publications, is and was involved with many journals and international conferences. Founder of the conference series ED-MEDIA, WebNet and I-KNOW.

He was project manager of multimillion-dollar undertakings including a patent for optical storage device, the development of a color-graphic microcomputer (MUPID), an electronic teaching experiment COSTOC, multi-media projects such as „Images of Austria” (Expo’92 and Expo’93), various electronic publishing projects such as the open access journal J.UCS and responsible for the development of the first 2nd generation Web Based Information System Hyperwave, and a large electronic information system Austria-Forum that in its current version has over 960.000 entries.

He was involved in the multimedia part of a number of museum projects. He participated in or headed a number of national and EU projects, and continues to do so. Successful supervision of more than 400 M.Sc. theses and more than 70 Ph.D. thesis’, some of his students now professors in prestigious universities, like Emo Welzl at ETH, Dieter Fellner at Fraunhofer Darmstadt, Herbert Edelsbrunner at IST-A, etc.

Maurer has travelled extensively, and has given over 1.100 talks. His original research was in compiler design and formal languages, algorithms and data-structures, followed by applications of computer supported new media, and techniques to fight plagiarism. His current main research areas are networked multimedia systems used for cultural and educational applications; electronic publishing, information integration and societal implications of future developments in computers.

He is member of the ACM, GI, OMG, OCG, Fellow of AACE, and the WG 3.6 of IFIP. He is life-long honorary member of MCCA, Vienna, and of the Computer Engineering Society, Graz. Since 1980 he has been member and official of Kiwanis.

His Hobbies include: Writing Science Fiction, hiking and SCUBA diving.

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