Around dinner time my wife and I always like to watch Australian Master Chef, while knocking together our own food during the commercial breaks. A well-known item from this popular cooking contest is the Mystery Box – a box containing a very limited set of ingredients that the contestants have to cook with. And then it turns out that you can compose the nicest dishes with licorice, fennel, sesame seed and red port. On some occasions the contestants are given an empty box. Then they have a free rein and can go ahead using their own imagination to the full. At such moments a number of candidates completely lose it and literally and figuratively make a complete mess of it. Out-of-the-box thinking is by no means easy.
Google Streetview recording nice pictures of the street as well as unprotected Wi-Fi traffic in a neighborhood. TomTom which shares information with the police about stretches of roads where many motorists tend to speed so that the police can target their positioning of speed cameras better. ING which wants to analyze payment data of customers, and wants to sell these analyses to third parties, so that those commercial parties can focus their publicity efforts more. The tax authorities that use SMS parking services to trace tax fraud. These are examples from everyday practice whereby personal data is used in a way that makes many people’s hair stand on end. That is when the so-called ‘creepy line’ has been crossed.
You can measure it, but you cannot see, touch or weigh it. You can burn, save, waste or kill it, but you cannot destroy or change it.
Women are systematically underrepresented in leading academic positions. TU/e has been actively promoting change in that department for several years, but reality has proven tricky.
2001 saw the release of the movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Based on the classic console game, the movie impressed with its hyper realistic computer-generated imagery (CGI). It marked a milestone in representing people, and experts doubted if real people weren’t used in the movie after all.
When they want to generate research revenue, scientists can get quite creative. The first sponsoring requests for experiments have appeared on Kickstarter and Indiegogo already. Sometimes, scientists make up their own data. Chris Snijders aims for the big bucks via the App Store and Google Play.
Ask a student what my job is, and they’ll tell you I’m a teacher. Whenever I’m at a birthday party and tell people what I do, I tell them I’m a researcher at university. Students tend to see only one side of my job, but it might be a good thing to realize we often do more than just teach.
Psychology is becoming ever more important at TU/e. Technical systems and artifacts, be they games, cars, robots, lighting systems or buildings, are all meant for human end users eventually. It's essential to know how these users perceive, think, feel, and act. The new human-oriented program Psychology & Technology examines every technical design from a psychological perspective.
From now on, on a biweekly basis, Cursor will be taking a closer psychological look at students, teachers, labs, technical artifacts, the workplace, the scientific business, campus, education, and websites.