Planned topics of issue 04/2021 – May 20

Space close: April 30, 2021

The special issue “Future of Work”

Cover Story: Microtasks and Flow
Not only since the pandemic has our work been characterized by more and more interruptions: chat messages, e-mails and phone calls vie for our attention. Add to that in the home office the distractions from other roommates. Our attention span is getting shorter and shorter. Researchers are working on an antidote: “microtasks” are supposed to break down work into bite-sized chunks that can be completed in between – leaving us more time for tasks that require concentration over a longer period of time. Technical tools are designed to help.

The best STEM employers in Germany
In this special edition on the “Future of Work”, the Technology Review selects the best STEM employers in Germany. We portray some of the winners: What are their special features? What makes it particularly innovative?

Developer training
The need for developers in the automotive industry is great, and VW now wants to break new ground: At 42Wolfsburg, the company will train its own software developers in the future. The facility is based on the model of a Paris academy, where there are no lectures and seminars, only projects. In this way, the training is intended primarily to develop problem-solving skills and not just to impart specialist knowledge. We asked VW how exactly this is supposed to work.

Colleague AI
In working life, artificial intelligence has long since ceased to be just a passive tool – it is increasingly taking on an active role. What does that mean for its human colleagues? We use three case studies to describe what this collaboration can look like: In industrial production in human resource management and in hospitals. But this is just the beginning. Researchers are already working on combining “hybrid intelligence”, the strengths of machines and people, as well as possible.

People Analytcis
Home office work and distributed teams are generating more data than ever – for example, who works how much and when. What’s the point? How do you measure efficiency in home offices and distributed teams? And where do challenges arise for employees?

Empathic work assistants
Assistance systems – such as fatigue assistants in cars – pretend to give us a sense of sensitivity to how we feel, but ultimately only respond to rough motoric cues. To develop real sensitivity, the first digital assistants are now diving deeper into cognitive psychology – and learning to adapt to our needs.

Virtual working worlds
VR and AR applications could make life on factory floors so much easier – but, despite all the hype, they are still in the research phase. Off-the-shelf systems do not yet exist, but pilot projects are already showing what works, where the pitfalls lie in putting it into practice and where the virtual one then fails due to reality.

✚ “Tech2Go” podcast topic

Topics are subject to change