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5 Questions: Harald Kerschhofer

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1. What area do you work in at link|that?

I originally joined the then small team in 2007 as a software developer. As we grew, I also took on marketing and PR tasks. I still like the variety of creative tasks, so it hasn’t changed much. In the meantime, I’m also involved in our Voice over IP and AI teams. And that works surprisingly well. And it never gets boring. I give our management a lot of credit for the fact that we can contribute creatively and continue to develop. I’ve even been able to complete a degree and gain experience with a small startup while working. So it’s perhaps not surprising that in 14 years I’ve never considered working anywhere else.

2. link|that develops solutions with artificial intelligence. What characteristic do you think a solution should have to be intelligent?

Generally speaking, the word “intelligence” in artificial intelligence is quite problematic. If you were to judge the intellect of any AI, you would quickly find that even the most “intelligent” network is more naive than a three-year-old. This is simply because the AI does not question what it is doing. And actually, it has no understanding whatsoever of what it is doing. Neither is important for the quality of the results. And both show that the fear of AI is completely unjustified. AI is a tool, like so much else in IT and programming.

A trained network is an expert at a specific task – for example, it can determine with 99.9 percent probability that the cat in front of the camera is a cat. But if you paste a photo of a cat onto a dog, it’s still 99.9 percent a cat if the camera angle is just right. Without real experience, reflection, intuition, etc., an AI network will never seem truly “intelligent” to us, even if it solves the most complex tasks in seconds. However, the future will be very exciting. If an AI system can perceive the environment in a meaningful way and has a memory capability, then completely new areas of application will open up again.

3. What does a classic daily routine look like for you?

Fortunately, the daily routines are no longer so “classic. At the moment, home office and office alternate daily. Either way, the day starts with a coffee in the garden. Depending on the commute (between 0 and 40 minutes), we start early or a little later. And a few more coffees follow, regardless of location. During the lunch break, we cook or organize something to eat together with our colleagues. I’ve already described roughly what the work looks like before and after that.

I spend the evening – also depending on the location – with friends in the city, or on foot, on the bike or in my kayak around Danube island. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, I also enjoy the couch and video games. In any case, the flexibility we gained last year when home office established itself as a productive alternative increases the quality of life enormously.

4. Do you prefer wild camping or a luxury hotel?

Usually, the hotel room is only the base for various explorations and excursions, so it’s enough for me if the basics are there.

Ergo, my choice is wild camping. Waking up at the waterfalls on Samothrace or the Danube meadows near Stopfenreuth – these are magical moments that no hotel can offer. Admittedly, even this experience loses its appeal after a few days, because at some point the body will surely long for a real bed again. Nevertheless, this mental luxury wins in any case against any fancy hotel.

Compensation for the IT business: First experiments in the garden start to bloom

5. What would you rather be able to do – speak all existing languages or time travel?

Speaking all languages sounds very tempting, but it also robs travel of a certain adventure factor. It’s exciting to learn the first bites of a new language on your own – or to struggle through it waving your hands and feet.

That’s why I opt for time travel. It just opens up so many possibilities. First, briefly “looking up” the lottery numbers to have the budget for long distance travel. Then from these places, take a look into the past to uncover the great mysteries of (human) history. And from the T-Rex to the construction of the wonders of the world (in time-lapse) to the fall of the Berlin Wall, experience everything live for a short time. There would be so much to see in the past alone, and then there’s the whole future… But then I’d have to be careful not to just travel from one The Legend of Zelda and MCU release to the next. That would quickly leave too little time for time travel.

The island is calling!