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UZH Magazin 2/19

UZH Magazin 2/19 (Cover)

The technologies that surround us are getting ever smarter. What does that mean for us – will computer programs and robots take control in the future? Will humans become surplus to requirements? We talked to UZH academics to find out what the future holds and to help us separate fact and fiction, the real possibilities and the fake news.

 

Focus: Us and the Machines 

Marcel Kammermann

Humans and machines have a long history of co-existence, but artificial intelligence (AI) threatens to disrupt this delicate balance. Will machines become more intelligent than we are? Will they ultimately take over and enslave us?

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The Columbus Bacterium

Schiff auf hoher See (Gemälde)

Syphilis sailed back to Europe with the voyagers who discovered America – and stayed. With the use of penicillin, "Cupid's disease" started to die out and gradually fell into oblivion. But not for long. Having reappeared at the turn of the millennium, cases have been recorded in Switzerland too. 

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At a Glacial Pace

Hüfigletscher (Daguerreotypie)

Even though glaciers react relatively slowly to rising temperatures, Switzerland will have to adjust to a future without these magnificent ice masses. We will manage – but the challenges facing Asian countries are far greater. 

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When Our Lives Were Still in One Piece

Anna Schnitzer

What is life like for families living in exile in Switzerland? What experiences do they bring with them to their new country? And what significance do memories from their native countries hold for them now? Sociologist Anna Schnitzer takes a closer look at the life stories of immigrants.

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Fleeing Like Antelope

Aufmarsch von Rechtsextremen in Essen

What goes on in our brains and bodies when we feel under threat? Psychiatrist Dominik Bach researches how we react to fear and how disturbing memories can be made less painful.

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"Selling our data soul"

Michael Latzer

Algorithms accompany our every click on the internet. Facebook and Google use them to analyze our online behavior. Communications expert Michael Latzer researches what algorithms do and how they shape our view of the world.

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Splitting Water

Sandra Luber

UZH chemist Sandra Luber has set her sights on achieving artificial photosynthesis. A successful outcome could enable major climate issues to be solved in one fell swoop. However, there are still many hurdles to overcome.

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