Norbert A. Streitz


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 ICT. Founder and Scientific Director of the Smart Future Initiative launched in 2009. 1987–2008: Deputy Director and Division Manager at Fraunhofer Institute, Darmstadt, Germany. Lecturer at the Computer Science Department, Technical University Darmstadt. 1978–1986: Assistant Professor at Psychology Department, Technical University Aachen (RWTH). At different times of his career, post-doc research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley; visiting scholar at Xerox PARC, Palo Alto; and Intelligent Systems Lab, Tsukuba Science City, Japan. He has published/edited 30 books and authored/co-authored more than 160 peer-reviewed papers in a wide range of areas: Cognitive Science, Human-Computer Interaction, Experience Design, Hypertext/Hypermedia, CSCW, Ubiquitous Computing, Ambient Intelligence, Privacy by Design, Industry 4.0, Autonomous Driving, Hybrid Smart Cities and Smart Airports. Norbert was a PI of many projects funded by the European Commission and other funding agencies as well as industry. He has organized and chaired many conferences and is regularly invited as a keynote speaker at international commercial as well as scientific events. (

Talk: Redefining the “Smart-Everything” paradigm

This talk presents a critical and constructive reflection and evaluation of the “Smart-Everything” Paradigm, especially from a user-interaction and design perspective. ‘Smart’ services exploiting data collected by a range of sensors being part of an Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure and controlled by software based on Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) result in an increasing degree of automation, lack of transparency and privacy infringements. Humans are increasingly removed from being the ‘operator’ and thus in control of their environment and decisions, because they are – at an ostensible level of the discussion – considered to be the cause of errors, e.g., in automated driving, smart cities, manufacturing processes, bank credit assessment.

Our proposal is to redefine the ‘Smart-Everything’ Paradigm via a human-/citizen-centred design approach, keeping the human in the loop, looking at the interaction and balance of mental structures, social structures, information structures, and architectural structures, i.e. the built urban environment. Considering the following design trade-offs is central: complete automation vs. human control and empowerment, importunate smartness vs. privacy. Application examples are taken from the domain of ‘smart’ cities, urban spies and automated driving with the goal to move beyond ‘smart-only’ cities towards humane, sociable, cooperative, self-aware hybrid cities.