02 April 2019

For 25 years, students taking the Cognitive Science programme have organised an annual conference about humans and technology. The topic this year is assuring the quality of the future by understanding both human and machine.

“A huge amount is being done to adapt future technology to humans, and this is what we want to showcase. All speakers are either conducting research or working actively with the issues”, says Sofie Forsberg, one of the organisers of the conference, which takes place on 9 April.
The name of the conference is “KVIT”, which is an anagram of the Swedish words for “cognitive science” and “information technology”.

“Anyone who is interested in the relationship between humans and technology is welcome. This year we are placing a particular focus on AI, artificial intelligence. There’s a certain amount of apprehension relating to AI, and that’s why it’s important to show how we can understand the technology better. In this way we can reduce apprehension”, says Sofie Forsberg, student of cognitive science. The day offers several lectures and workshops. The speakers include Ashkan Fardost, pundit specialising in the future, people and technology; Peter Gärdenfors, the first professor in cognitive science in Sweden; and Jenny Skog, cognitive scientist at Saab, developing the cockpit for the JAS Gripen plane.

“Jenny Skog will describe the design process and how the personnel at Saab work to support humans in the cockpit. They design a product that must be adapted for human use in extremely high-pressure and stress-filled situations.”
Also speaking at the conference are Karin Eklund and Ida Borestein from global technology company Semcon.

“They are to provide a female perspective on design. For many years, products have been developed by and for white men. Ida and Karin want to develop products that are suitable for other target groups. They have, for example, developed a towing hook that does not need hand strength when connecting a trailer to a car.” The conference will be held in Kårhuset Kollektivet in Linköping, and the organisers are expecting 300 participants.

“Local companies have shown considerable interest, wanting to know more about the connection between humans and technology. They can then use this knowledge to draw parallels with their own activities. They realise that they must be user-focussed in order to compete in the market”, says Sofie Forsberg.
This year, students from the Graphic Design and Communication programme are also participating in organising the conference.

Translated by George Farrants

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