Geographer Kirsten von Elverfeldt argues the case for giving greater consideration to uncertainties in the scientific approach to the environment and its transition. She has taken a close look at natural phenomena featuring the concept of so-called self-organising systems, where the long-term development is difficult or even impossible to predict. In an interview with ad astra she explains what defines these systems and why tolerating uncertainties can be worthwhile.
The fridge that autonomously recognises when you’re running out of milk and places a fresh order for you is one example of the vision of smart homes. However, it also helps to demonstrate the limitations of the concept: If I am unwell and don’t feel like drinking coffee, the order for milk will still be placed. Gerhard Leitner has explored how to move from “smart homes” to “wise homes”, which are able to give due consideration to the distinctiveness of the individual and her or his respective current situation.
Energy management systems are designed to support people’s efforts to consume less electricity. However, as Smart Grids expert Wilfried Elmenreich explains, these systems are still grappling with a range of issues. Together with his team of researchers he is looking at simple ways to ensure that anyone can use these systems.
The idea of Europe has run its course. But how can a viable new European idea be established? Klaus Schönberger believes it should be pluralistic and brought about by the means of art. The cultural scientist based in Klagenfurt is leading the three-year Horizon2020 project TRACES, collaborating with eleven partners in ten European countries. ad astra invited him to an interview.