Automation, smartness and intelligence

Interview with Dr. karin Vey – Automation, smartness and intelligence

From your point of view and after more than 17 years of innovation work at IBM Research ThinkLab, what are the three most important terms and what do they stand for?

“Co-creation, ecosystem, sustainability, radical customer orientation, experimental approach. Innovative and sustainable solutions for the VUCA world can no longer be created alone (VUCA stands for volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous). They are created together with partners within an ecosystem. Radical user orientation (e.g. by means of design thinking) and an experimental approach – i.e. trying something out as quickly as possible and taking the next development step with the feedback of the users – are central.”

Living spaces shape people. What role do architecture and design development play in the conception of artificial intelligence and in virtual spaces?

“Artificial intelligence is increasingly becoming part of our living environment – at the workplace or, for example, as an intelligent ambience that helps chronically ill or elderly people cope with life. This increasingly raises the question of interface design. What should the AI look like that is supposed to support us and with which we want to work as partners? The principles of good design such as beauty, simplicity and perfection or form follows emission play just as much a role as psychological factors. With robots, for example, it is important that the size does not create false expectations or even imply a threat. They should also have human characteristics, but in no way imitate humans. Sometimes we want the technology to fade into the background. Nevertheless, it is there and reacts to our wishes. Through technology, we then experience a certain “re-enchantment” of the world. If this world consists of spaces for well-being, action and regeneration, as conceived by Latrace, then the new hybrid world promises to be one that consistently focuses on human needs.”

How do you feel about “Star Wars”, do you find it innovative and inspiring or too far removed from daily realities?

“Star Wars is a postmodern adaptation of the great mythic narratives. Central archetypes like the hero/heroine or the ancient sage are represented in a form that resonates with people living today. It deals with themes that have preoccupied mankind since time immemorial: the struggle between good and evil, the relationship between father and son, the relationship between nature and technology. In addition, there is the tightrope walk between the outer path of struggle and the inner spiritual path. And a diverse multiverse of life forms. I can understand the fascination very well. However, I would have liked to see more female protagonists.”

Where do you see the journey in leadership, innovation and transformation going and what role do humans play in it?

“Central is the realisation that in today’s highly complex, interconnected, ambiguous and uncertain world, a hierarchical understanding of leadership must no longer be considered adequate. Only together can we find solutions for this world. The leader becomes the Chief Enabling Officer. There is also talk of the servant leader. The FC creates the framework conditions, such as psychological security for the team, so that they can develop creative and effective solutions. In the age of AI, knowledge is no longer power. For FK it is increasingly about listening, not talking, asking questions instead of giving answers. Emotional intelligence and self-leadership become central.”

Do we need new thinking and / or more feeling in the context of creativity and talent in the development of AI?

“In AI development, what is needed most is more diversity. It is important to form development teams with people of all genders, diverse cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Then the solutions will be ethically sound and contribute to a future where the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals are implemented.”

It is already clear that human thinking and its brain will never be able to keep up with the processing power and data speed of computers. How and what defines humanity and how can humans endure this evolutionary “regression”?

“Computational power is only one part of cognitive intelligence and this is only one part of the diversity of intelligences that we have as humans. In addition, we as humans have social, emotional, musical, bodily and even spiritual intelligence. The computer can only be as good or better than humans in the field of cognition in certain sub-areas. All other types of intelligence are typically human. Ultimately, the comparison with the machine can be an evolutionary incentive for us to better understand our typically human competencies and raise them to a new level.”

What do you love about and in Switzerland? Favourite places, people, regions, food, …

“There is a lot to say about my adopted country. I just want to pick out two things.
The C G Jung Institute in Küsnacht and the inspiring people and content I find there. I find the theory of individuation particularly fascinating. That every person carries an impulse within him/herself to become who he/she could be and to realise as much of his/her own potential as possible.
Ticino: Lake Maggiore, grotti, film festivals, Monte Verita,…. Here, the dream of the South can be experienced in a particularly impressive way in contrast to the rugged mountain world. Ticino has long been a favourite place.”

Dr Karin Vey is a psychologist and coach in private practice in Zurich, a psychotherapist at the C G Jung Ambulatorium and an innovation and trend expert at IBM Research’s ThinkLab. She holds a doctorate in physics and psychology and works there with managers and experts on shaping the future. She is a sought-after speaker and speaks on topics such as “The future of work and leadership” or “Resilience – how to increase one’s own resilience and that of the organisation”. She also leads workshops on topics such as “Strengthening Resilience in Turbulent Times”, “Vision Quest” or “Personal Development – The Critical Competence for Leaders of the Future”. Karin Vey teaches leadership courses at various Swiss universities. As a coach, she passionately accompanies people on their development path. Positive psychology, depth psychology and brain research form the basis of her work.


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