A recent event at the German Federal Chancellery - one of the country’s key democratic institutions - showed for the first time that AI really can be sociable and could indeed find a place in the heart of society. As part of Girls' Day 2018, 24 schoolgirls programmed the "NAO robot" to greet the Chancellor Angela Merkel all on its own. The secret to their success was NEPO - the graphical programming language developed by the Fraunhofer IAIS. "Unlike their smartphones, which they just use, the schoolchildren have to program NAO themselves using NEPO," explains Beate Jost, project manager at the Fraunhofer IAIS. The task didn’t prove too taxing for the girls, however, and was an eye-opening experience. This is all thanks to the Fraunhofer IAIS, which aims to use NEPO to make intelligent algorithms accessible to the general public.
"Within the Fraunhofer Information and Communication Technology Group, institutes such as the Fraunhofer IAIS research and develop pioneering AI technologies based on principles that should not be beyond the understanding of people who aren’t already experts," says Jost. "With NEPO, we are turning our attention to the public - schoolchildren, trainees and managers - so that we can transfer the principles of this specialist knowledge from our experts’ heads to wider society, anchor them there and make sure even the younger generations can grasp them." And where better to do this than at the new CEBIT - a trade fair that has long since attested that disruptive technology offers opportunities to all?
Under the slogan "Code Your Smart Home", the Institute is therefore inviting CEBIT 2018 visitors to try their hand at robot programming, gain a practical insight into the specialist field of cognitive systems and discover futuristic scenarios ranging from the world of work right through to smart homes. Visitors are sure to be captivated by the world of intelligent assistants, as besides using NEPO to have a heart-to-heart with the NAO robot they can also expand their know-how by programming the Kobold VR200 robot vacuum cleaner.