Summer School 2022

Summer School (June 20-22)

Gecko’s second training event is co-hosted by FIT and University of Siegen which will take place at the Kranz Parkhotel in Siegburg, Germany from June 20-22.


June 20

Welcoming and Kickoff

Speakers: Uni Siegen and Fraunhofer FIT

Abstract: Welcoming all participants and outlining the plan for the next days of our summerschool, as well as tackle any remaining organizational questions.

Training Session I: Rapid Prototyping for Data Collection and Visualization

Speakers: Martin Stein and Nico Castelli (Fraunhofer FIT)

Abstract: In the course of digitalization, machines are increasingly communicating with each other or providing users with information – this development is referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT). Practical examples will be used here to show how sensors can be connected to provide digital data and generate added value.  In the workshop, users will have the opportunity to try out this entire process for themselves.

Empathy Session

Speakers: Nickhil Sharma, Vinicius Juliani Pereira, Joseph Llewellyn

Abstract: In this session, we propose a space to slow down, reflect, and empathize with one another as we embark upon our transdisciplinary, intercultural collaborations in the context of the GECKO project. Given the cross-national nature of our work, a diversity of cultures, identities, nationalities, disciplines, and thoughts are to be expected. Diversity is often considered as an important factor or successful collaborations in many academic and non-academic work settings. Research suggests that diversity in work groups can lead to enhanced creativity and heterogenous results – offering a unique opportunity for diverse teams to produce results from multiple perspectives.  (Srikanth et al. 2016) However, diversity can also lead to reduced cohesion, and increased conflict and fragmentation, which can have both short- and long-term impacts on collaboration. Diversity can also act as a barrier to effective communication, which can not only impede team performance, but also create an atmosphere of distrust. (Bennett 1986) Within our diverse consortium, collaboration and communication are key. Non-violent communication has been used as an effective tool to improve trust and collaboration in diverse teams. This form of communication originates from a place of respect and acknowledgment of the humanity of the “other” and involves co-creating information rather than just sending and receiving. Thus, in order  to engage with these topics and to develop a solid foundation for future collaborations within our  consortium, we propose this participatory session in which we will (i) acknowledge and bring forth  the diversity of identities and experiences within the GECKO consortium using the popular  ‘Privilege Walk’ exercise (ii) share reflections about similarities and differences among us and  how they can foster empathy in our communications and (iii) co-create a set of collaboration  principles/guidelines for ourselves using the principles of non-violent communication and empathy  as a guide. The goal is to create a space for all GECKO members to come together to safely share their experiences, learn from and listen to one another, and take away information about their colleagues that goes beyond what meets the eye, with an aim to enhance empathy and establish trust.

Industry Keynote: A2I – A design-(co)-driven innovation project in AI for medical applications. Working Report.

Speaker: Jochen Denzinger (IconStorm)

Abstract: The talk will introduce our work at the Frankfurt-based design agency ›Iconstorm‹ and focus on the ongoing research project     ›A2I – Augmented Auditive Intelligence‹. We will discuss views on AI and socio-technical systems from a design perspective.

Training Session II: Practice Theory for Sustainability

Speaker: Tom Hargreaves (UEA)

Abstract: Practice theory has become an increasingly prominent perspective in sustainability research over the last two decades. In contrast to approaches focused on individual’s choices and behaviors about how to use energy, practice theory instead explores what people actually do in their everyday lives by asking ‘what is energy for?’ It considers how high levels of energy use are embedded within our normal, mundane routines. To date, however, the implications of a practice-based analysis have had little impact on the design and development of AI or smart home technologies for sustainability. This session will introduce some of the core concepts of practice theory and show how they differ from more dominant behavior and resource-focused understandings. A collaborative exercise will then develop ideas for how practice theory could be used to inform innovative approaches to home energy management.


June 21

Poster Session

Supervisory Board Meeting

Interdisciplinarity Session

Speaker: Tom Hargreaves (UEA)

Abstract: An interdisciplinary approach is written into the heart of the GECKO proposal. GECKO is premised on the need to develop a new cohort of researchers capable of understanding and addressing the complex interactions between social and technical challenges faced when developing AI solutions for sustainability. This session will introduce different understandings of and approaches to interdisciplinary research before an interactive exercise will explore where, how, and with what success interdisciplinarity is (or isn’t) being pursued across the GECKO network.

Training Session III: Interacting with Intelligent Agents

Speaker: Sebastian Denef (OWN)

Abstract: One of the key Challenges in developing intelligent agents is how to design them so that they can effectively interact with humans and other agents in order to accomplish tasks. This challenge is due to the fact that agents need to be able to understand the intentions of their users and other agents, as well as the context in which they are operating. In my talk, “Interacting with Intelligent Agents”, I will provide an introduction into the concepts and challenges of bringing AI-based agent software in real-world usage and business contexts.

Social Event


June 22

Academia Keynote: Human Factors in Continuous Interaction with AI Systems

Speaker: Dr. Philip Wintersberger (TU Wien)

Abstract: The number of touchpoints between humans and technology is permanently increasing. More and more digital services are already present in our workplaces and private lives. Soon, cooperation with machines and AI systems while being engaged in other tasks will become standard in many domains such as mobility, manufacturing, and health. Consequently, the challenges are how we can better understand and deal with individual systems while providing a seamless flow of interactions between them. In this talk, I will introduce related human factors constructs before presenting work that addresses these challenges. In particular, I will demonstrate two lines of research that address an overarching principle that we call “continuous interaction”. First, I will show how transparent augmented reality visualizations can foster appropriate mental models while fostering trust. In the second part, I will discuss how AI itself can be used to better time interruptions and deal with users multitasking between digital systems. The talk will conclude with open research challenges to realize “continuous interaction” principles. Research in this area may have a high potential for supporting human users and dealing with the limited resource of human attention.

Training Session IV: Making the most of secondments

Speakers: Lina Stankovic and Vladimir Stankovic (STRATH)

Abstract: In this session, we provide some tips on how to make the most of your secondments, looking at simple things you can do pre-, during and post- secondment.

Communications and Expectations

Speakers: Lina Stankovic and Vladimir Stankovic (STRATH)

Abstract: This session will discuss the ten key communications skills you will need to effectively communicate your expectations with your colleagues and supervisors/mentors, and also what are your colleagues’ and supervisors’ expectations of you. We will practice with examples on how to communicate with your supervisory team, your peers, secondment supervisors and other staff and colleagues. You will learn how to effectively convey and receive messages in person as well as via phone, email, and social media. This session is complementary to the Empathy session. We will also look at how to effectively communicate your research ideas and outcomes, and what media are most suitable for impact generation.

Wrap up and closing

Speakers: Uni Siegen and Fraunhofer FIT