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What of tomorrow’s world of work, Mr Culha?

Artificial intelligence will have a huge impact on the way industry functions. Quite how huge will soon be illustrated by a visionary factory in Munich. Humanoid, self-learning robots work on the production line and can be controlled by humans working from home.

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  • Text: Nils Ehrenberg
Art graphic on the future of work with a portrait photo of Utku Culha
Saturn-ähnliches Dekortationsbild

UTKU CULHA

Dr Utku Culha is Chief of Science at the Munich Institute of Robotics and Machine Intelligence at TU Munich. In 2018, he held a Humboldt Research Fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart. In 2021, he participated in a Humboldt Communication Lab.

Humboldt Research Fellowship
Humboldt Communication Lab

The factory of the future makes us think of science fiction. Drones buzz through the production hall delivering components. Humans work together with smart robots on the production line, which are controlled by engineers remotely. Such a vision of the future is currently being turned into reality at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. “We are building the KI.Fabrik (AI.Factory) there, an interactive research lab for artificial intelligence,” explains Turkish computer scientist, Utku Culha. In the KI.Fabrik everything is digitally connected. A central AI system monitors and optimises every operation.

“Together with our partners in industry, we are investigating new methods and manufacturing genuine products, such as car parts. AI ensures that production is efficient and highly flexible. If we need to manufacture other components, the entire factory with its adaptive robots can adjust at lightning speed,” Culha reports. The point is that the smart robots learn from the people they are working with. With the help of virtual reality headsets and gloves, human staff can slip into the robots’ skin remotely, feel what the machines are touching and teach them new functions. “Especially in the light of the Corona pandemic, this avatar function has acquired a whole new significance, not least for the world of work, because it opens up completely new opportunities for decentralised production,” says Utku Culha.

Symbolic picture: Art graphic on the future of work
KEYWORDS: puppeteer, factory. This image was created to fit the text by the AI programme Wombo Dream.
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