Keynote Speaker

Re-defining the “Smart Everything” Paradigm towards Reconciling Humans  and Technology

Dr. Dr. Norbert Streitz, Scientific Director, Smart Future Initiative, Germany



My keynote presentation will address multiple issues in the intersection of the following three conferences at MCCSIS 2017: 1) Connected Smart Cities 2) ICT, Society, and Human Beings 3) Interfaces and Human-Computer Interaction.

Starting out with the context of living in the Urban Age, I will discuss different notions of “smart cities”, being propagated as the blueprint for our cities in the future, and complement them with the concept of “hybrid” cities, i.e., integrating the virtual, digital world with the real, physical world of our urban environments. One can currently observe a big hype about the opportunities of smart cities based on an Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure monitoring states and dynamics of urban objects and their combination with data about citizens obtained in urban contexts for providing smart services.

With the increasing penetration of IoT and the proliferation of smart services, one can actually speak of a “smart everything” paradigm permeating very diverse spheres of our society and determining our personal and public life in many ways. Thus, it is necessary to investigate the implications for individuals as well as for society. Exploring the challenges, but also the venues towards a human-/citizen- centered design approach, I will take a critical look at smart services based on matching people’s profiles and interests with service options available at specific locations. A major focus will be on the risks resulting from these smart city installations, especially the serious infringements of privacy rights, i.e., usage of personal data without consent of the people concerned.

Besides the issues of privacy, designing interfaces and human-computer interaction or more general human-technology, resp. citizen-urban environment interaction is of major importance. A prominent challenge is the property that “traditional” affordances are often hidden in these kinds of environments. (=> invisible or disappearing computer). How can people know how to interact, when they are not aware of the options? How can people protect their privacy, when they don’t “see” the sensors, the hidden devices? Another aspect is the shift from information design to  xperience design.

A critical reflection of different manifestations of the “smart everything and everywhere” paradigm is needed in order to meet the overall goal of reconciling humans and technology. A central aspect of this goal is to keep the human in the loop and in control. Therefore, a citizen-centered design approach for future cities is needed for helping us to go “beyond smart cities” and transform them into Humane, Sociable and Cooperative Hybrid Cities.


Dr. Dr. Norbert Streitz (Ph.D. in physics, Ph.D. in cognitive science) is a Senior Scientist and Strategic Advisor with more than 35 years of experience in information and communication technology. Founder and Scientific Director of the Smart Future Initiative (SFI) launched in 2009. From 1987-2008, he held positions as Deputy Director and Division Manager at Fraunhofer Institute IPSI, Darmstadt, e.g., founding the research division “AMBIENTE – Smart Environments of the Future”. Teaching appointments at the Department of Computer Science, Technical University Darmstadt for more than 15 years. Before Fraunhofer, Assistant Professor at the Technical University Aachen (RWTH). At different times of his career, he was a post-doc research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, visiting scholar at Xerox PARC and at the Intelligent Systems Lab of MITI, Tsukuba Science City, Japan. He has published/edited 24 books and authored/coauthored more than 150 papers. His research and teaching activities cover a wide range of areas: Cognitive Science, Human-Computer Interaction, Hypertext/Hypermedia, Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Ubiquitous Computing, Ambient Intelligence, Privacy Enhancing Technologies, Interaction and Experience Design, Hybrid Worlds, Smart Cities and Smart Airports, Smart Privacy, Smart Food. Manager of EU-funded projects, reviewer and evaluation expert for the EU, member of various Editorial and Advisory Boards, consultant, keynote speaker.
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