On Friday 20 November, engineering education at Aarhus University celebrated its centenary. Two hundred people took part in the festivities, which were kicked off by a symposium on subjects including robots and technical developments in the world of banking.
“We engineers have a bright future ahead,” said Conni Simonsen in her opening speech at the centenary. For those in the room who did not already know this, it was soon made clear to them.
The theme was actually ‘Future advanced technologies and their societal impact’, as regards the role of engineers in society.
New technological era
Nell Watson, an engineer and entrepreneur at Singularity University, USA, opened with a lecture on robots and computers. According to her, we will soon see a transformation in the world of robots. Where they have to be programmed to do something at present, they will be able to interact with people in the future.
“Right now, robots are simply machines with no feelings or assumptions. In the future, they’ll be able to gather knowledge and build experience on this. Precisely the way humans do. Based on this knowledge, the robot will gain experience, collect information, and thereby predict a future. It will be able to use all this for interaction with people,” said Nell Watson, and added that we are generally on the way to a new technological era, where humans can become one with machines.
“Nanorobots are in a stage of development, and the chance of them getting into the brains of humans is quite likely,” she said.
Technology challenges the world we know
The new technological era is not just about robots that can cook and clean. It has also helped redefine customer experience in different branches.
“We’ve had to rethink ourselves. Remove everything that defines a bank today and see it all from a new technological and customer-friendly point of view. We have to embrace technological development because we’ll die if we try to control it,” said Simon Haldrup, engineer and executive vice president at Danske Bank.
He assured the audience that the bank world will soon be even more digitised than it already is.
“This could very well be an everyday event,” he said, pointing to the great amusement of the audience to an image of a smartphone with a photo of a house on the screen. The price of DKK 3.2 million was displayed below the house with a text ‘swipe to purchase’.
By the end of the day, nobody was in doubt of the fact that engineers are needed in a world of great technological advancement. According to Dean Niels Chr. Nielsen, engineers will play an ever-greater role in society, and it is important that they are skilled and competent. Regardless of how clever they are, however, there will always be things they are unable to control. So we have to just sit back and hope for the best.
See more photos from the centenary celebration here.