Are employees really less upset losing their jobs to robots rather than other humans?

via english.jagran.com

Study assesses psychological impact of job losses through technology

Generally speaking, most people find the idea of workers being replaced by robots or software worse than if the jobs are taken over by other workers. But when their own jobs are at stake, people would rather prefer to be replaced by robots than by another employee. That is the conclusion of a study by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

Over the coming decades, millions of jobs will be threatened by robotics and artificial intelligence. Despite intensive academic debate on these developments, there has been little study on how workers react to being replaced through technology.To find out, business researchers at TUM and Erasmus University Rotterdam conducted 11 scenarios studies and surveys with over 2,000 persons from several countries in Europe and North America. Their findings have now been published in the renowned journal Nature Human Behaviour.

Human replacements pose greater threat to feeling of self-worth

The study shows: In principle, most people view it more favorably when workers are replaced by other people than by robots or intelligent software. This preference reverses, however, when it refers to people’s own jobs. When that is the case, the majority of workers find it less upsetting to see their own jobs go to robots than to other employees. In the long term, however, the same people see machines as more threatening to their future role in the workforce. These effects can also be observed among people who have recently become unemployed.

The researchers were able to identify the causes behind these seemingly paradoxical results, too: People tend to compare themselves less with machines than with other people. Consequently, being replaced by a robot or a software poses less of a threat to their feeling of self-worth. This reduced self-threat could even be observed when participants assumed that they were being replaced by other employees who relied on technological abilities such as artificial intelligence in their work.

Weaker organized resistance?

“Even when unemployment results from the introduction of new technologies, people still judge it in a social context,” says Christoph Fuchs, a professor of the TUM School of Management, one of the authors of the study. “It is important to understand these psychological effects when trying to manage the massive changes in the working world to minimize disruptions in society.”

For example, the insights could help to design better programs for the unemployed. “For people who have lost their job to a robot, boosting their self-esteem will be less of a priority,” says Fuchs. “In that case it is more important to teach them new skills that will reduce their concerns about losing out to robots in the long term.”

The study could also serve as a starting point for further research on other economic topics, says Fuchs: “It is conceivable that employee representatives’ responses to job losses attributed to automation will tend to be weaker than when other causes are involved, for example outsourcing.”

Learn more: Employees less upset at being replaced by robots than by other people

 

Is it now possible to check the origin and quality label of food manufacturers and detect food fraud?

The simultaneous analysis of odorants and tastants could simplify and accelerate the quality control of food in the future. Image: A. Dunkel / LSB / TUM

Food profilers develop new methodological approach for food analysis

Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology have developed a new methodology for the simultaneous analysis of odorants and tastants. It could simplify and accelerate the quality control of food in the future.

Whether a food tastes good or not is essentially determined by the interaction of odors and tastants. A few trillionths of a gram per kilogram of food is enough to perceive some odorants. Tastants, on the other hand, we only recognize at significantly higher concentrations.In order to guarantee consistent sensory quality, it is very important for manufacturers to know and control the characteristic odor and taste profiles of their products from the raw material to the finished product. This requires a fast but precise food analysis.

Tastants and aroma substances, however, differ greatly in their chemical and physical properties. As a result, food chemists currently use very different methods to determine the exact nature and quantity of odorants and tastants in a raw material or food. Especially aroma analyses are very time-consuming and therefore expensive. This limits the high-throughput analysis of numerous samples.

One methodical approach for two different substance classes

Thomas Hofmann, Director of the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology and Professor of Food Chemistry and Molecular Sensory Science at the TUM, explains: “We have now developed a new, innovative methodical approach that will enable us to examine food simultaneously for both odorants and tastants in a time-saving high-throughput process. It is based on an ultra-high performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS) method typically used for taste analysis.

The new and time-saving feature of the developed approach is that volatile odorous substances can now also be analyzed by means of an upstream enrichment or substance conversion step using this method, which is otherwise not used for aromatic substances.

“We have tested our new methodological approach using apple juice as an example. The results are very promising,” says Andreas Dunkel, Senior Scientist at the Leibniz-Institute of Food Systems Biology. Together with doctoral student Christoph Hofstetter from the TUM, he was substantially involved in the development of the new approach.

According to the scientists, the new method makes it possible for the first time to analyze a large number of samples in a very short time with regard to their taste and odor giving ingredients.

The researchers hope to be able to further develop the method so that it can be used by food manufacturers in the future to quickly and easily monitor the flavor of food along the entire value chain and, if necessary, optimize it.

Last but not least, the new method could also be used to stop food fraud. “Using the identified flavor profiles, it would be possible to check the origin and quality label of the manufacturers and detect food fraud,” says food profiler and food chemist Andreas Dunkel.

Learn more:

 

The Latest on: Food quality control

via  Bing News

 

 

Dermal tattoo sensors for the detection of blood pH change and metabolite levels

via Wiley

The Art of Sensing within the Skin

The art of tattooing may have found a diagnostic twist. A team of scientists in Germany have developed permanent dermal sensors that can be applied as artistic tattoos. As detailed in the journal Angewandte Chemie, a colorimetric analytic formulation was injected into the skin instead of tattoo ink. The pigmented skin areas varied their color when blood pH or other health indicators changed.

A tattooist places ink directly in the dermis, a roughly one-millimeter-thick layer of tissue that hosts nerves, blood vessels, and hair follicles. The tattoo needle punctures the epidermis, the uppermost layer of skin, and releases the pigments into the dermis below, where the pigments stain the skin permanently.

Using tattoos for diagnostic rather than cosmetic purposes is a new concept. Researcher Ali K. Yetisen, who works at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, and his colleagues thought the technique could be helpful to place sensor formulations at spots in the body where they can record changes in metabolic substances directly, without any spatial distance or time delay, and perhaps for a very long period of time.

The researchers then identified and adapted three colorimetric chemical sensors that produce a color change in response to biomarkers. The first sensor was a rather simple pH indicator consisting of the dyes methyl red, bromothymol blue, and phenolphthalein. If injected into a model skin patch—a piece of pig skin—the resulting tattoo turned from yellow to blue if the pH was adjusted from five to nine.

The other two sensors probed the levels of glucose and albumin. Albumin is a carrier and transport protein in the blood. High glucose levels in the body may indicate diabetic dysfunction, whereas falling albumin levels can indicate liver or kidney failure. The glucose sensor consisted of the enzymatic reactions of glucose oxidase and peroxidase, which, depending on the glucose concentration, led to a structural change of an organic pigment, and a yellow to dark green color change. The albumin sensor was based on a yellow dye that, upon association with the albumin protein, turned green.

The scientists then applied several sensor tattoos onto patches of pig skin. When they changed the pH or the glucose or albumin concentrations, the colors of the decorated areas changed accordingly. They quantified these visible effects by evaluating the colors with a simple smartphone camera and an app.

The authors claim that such sensor tattoos could allow permanent monitoring of patients using a simple, low-cost technique. With the development of suitable colorimetric sensors, the technique could also extend to recording electrolyte and pathogen concentrations or the level of dehydration of a patient. Further studies will explore whether tattoo artwork can be applied in a diagnostic setting.

Learn more: The Art of Sensing within the Skin

 

The Latest on: Dermal tattoo sensors

via  Bing News

 

CRISPR-Cas9 modified T cells could solve immunotherapy problems

The study team of the Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene (from left to right): Prof. Dirk Busch, Thomas Müller and Kilian Schober

Successful T cell engineering with gene scissors

The idea of genetically modifying a patient’s own immune cells and deploying them against infections and tumors has been around since the 1980s. But to this day modified T cells are still not as effective as natural T cells and have been only been of limited clinical value. Using the new CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing tool, a team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now engineered T cells that are very similar to physiological immune cells.

There are two forms of T cell therapy: either a recipient receives cells from a donor, or the recipient’s own T cells are removed, genetically reprogrammed in a laboratory and unleashed against an infection or tumor in the body. While the first method has proven to be successful in clinical models, reprogramming T cells is still beset with problems.

The team led by Professor Dirk Busch, Director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene at the TUM, has generated modified T cells for the first time that are very similar to their natural counterparts and could solve some of those problems. To do so, they utilized the new CRISPR-Cas9 gene scissors, which can be used to snip out and replace targeted segments of the genome.

Both the conventional methods and the new method target the key homing instrument of T cells, known as the T cell receptor. The receptor, residing on the cell’s surface, recognizes specific antigens associated with pathogens or tumor cells, which the T cell is then able to attack. Each receptor is made up of two molecular chains that are linked together. The genetic information for the chains can be genetically modified to produce new receptors that are able to recognize any desired antigen. In this way, it is possible to reprogram T cells.

Targeted exchange using the CRISPR-Cas9 gene scissors

The problem with conventional methods is that the genetic information for the new receptors is randomly inserted into the genome. This means that T cells are produced with both new and old receptors or with receptors having one old and one new chain. As a result, the cells do not function as effectively as physiological T cells and are also controlled differently. Moreover, there is a danger that the mixed chains could trigger dangerous side effects (Graft-versus-Host Disease, GvHD).

“Using the CRISPR method, we’ve been able to completely replace the natural receptors with new ones, because we’re able to insert them into the very same location in the genome. In addition, we’ve replaced the information for both chains so that there are no longer any mixed receptors,” explains Kilian Schober, who is a lead author of the new study along with his colleague Thomas Müller.

Near-natural properties

Thomas Müller explains the advantages of the modified T cells: “They’re much more similar to physiological T cells, yet they can be changed flexibly. They’re controlled like physiological cells and have the same structure, but are capable of being genetically modified.“ The scientists have demonstrated in a cell culture model that T cells modified in this way behave nearly exactly like their natural counterparts.

“Another advantage is that the new method allows multiple T cells to be modified simultaneously so that they’re able to recognize different targets and can be used in combination. This is especially interesting for cancer therapy, because tumors are highly heterogeneous,” Dirk Busch adds. In the future, the team plans to investigate the new cells and their properties in preclinical mouse models, an important step in preparing for clinical trials with humans.

Learn more: Successful T cell engineering with gene scissors

 

The Latest on: CRISPR-Cas9 gene scissors

via  Bing News

 

A landing system which lets smaller aircraft land without assistance from ground-based systems

TUM’s research aircraft lands fully automatically without ground-based systems. (Photo: Andreas Dekiert / C2Land)

Successful automatic landing with vision assisted navigation

Automatic landings have long been standard procedure for commercial aircraft. While major airports have the infrastructure necessary to ensure the safe navigation of the aircraft, this is usually not the case at smaller airports. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and their project partners have now demonstrated a completely automatic landing with vision assisted navigation that functions properly without the need for ground-based systems.

At large airports the Instrument Landing System (ILS) makes it possible for commercial aircraft to land automatically with great precision. Antennas send radio signals to the autopilot to make sure it navigates to the runway safely. Procedures are also currently being developed that will allow automatic landing based on satellite navigation. Here too a ground-based augmentation system is required.However, systems like these are not available for general aviation at smaller airports, which is a problem in case of poor visibility – then aircraft simply cannot fly. “Automatic landing is essential, especially in the context of the future role of aviation,” says Martin Kügler, research associate at the TUM Chair of Flight System Dynamics. This applies for example when automated aircraft transport freight and of course when passengers use automated flying taxis.
Camera-based optical reference system

In the project “C2Land”, supported by the German federal government, TUM researchers have partnered with Technische Universität Braunschweig to develop a landing system which lets smaller aircraft land without assistance from ground-based systems.

The autopilot uses GPS signals to navigate. The problem: GPS signals are susceptible to measurement inaccuracies, for example due to atmospheric disturbances. The GPS receiver in the aircraft can’t always reliably detect such interferences. As a result, current GPS approach procedures require the pilots to take over control at an altitude of no less than 60 meters and land the aircraft manually.

In order to make completely automated landings possible, the TU Braunschweig team designed an optical reference system: A camera in the normal visible range and an infrared camera that can also provide data under conditions with poor visibility. The researchers developed custom-tailored image processing software that lets the system determine where the aircraft is relative to the runway based on the camera data it receives.

TUM research aircraft features Fly-by-Wire system

The TUM team developed the entire automatic control system of TUM’s own research aircraft, a modified Diamond DA42. The aircraft is equipped with a Fly-by-Wire system enabling control by means of an advanced autopilot, also developed by the TUM researchers.

In order to make automatic landings possible, additional functions were integrated in the software, such as comparison of data from the cameras with GPS signals, calculation of a virtual glide path for the landing approach as well as flight control for various phases of the approach.

Learn more: “Eyes” for the autopilot

 

The Latest on: Automatic landing system

via  Bing News