An interview for TRANSFER Magazine with Mirko Drotschmann – alias MrWissen2go (“MrKnowledge2go”)
Have you ever wondered which technology will have an impact on our lives in the future? Do you feel skeptical about future technology? Or do you not think about it because you simply don’t know enough about it? Knowledge is important when you want to make your mind up about something – as Mirko Drotschmann, alias MrWissen2go can tell you. It’s a topic he thinks about every day on his YouTube channel. In November 2019, Drotschmann moderated the first #techourfuture event on the future of autonomous flying for the Ferdinand-Steinbeis-Institute. The event took place at Technik Museum Sinsheim. TRANSFER talked to Drotschmann about the importance of future technology.
Hello Mr. Drotschmann. Why do you believe it is important to inform society about future technologies?
When you’re informed and know the facts about future technology, you’re fundamentally more open to it. In Germany we tend to be more conservative when it comes to technological advancement. So important and comprehensive information is essential to open people up to technology so they don’t immediately dismiss it or feel opposed to it, but see things optimistically. That’s why it’s important to really make sure everyone’s on board when it comes to the technology of the future.
What kinds of concerns do you encounter in your work regarding emerging technology?
It depends which technology you’re dealing with and especially which area it involves. If it’s about mobility, most people are open to topics – things like autonomous driving and even autonomous flying. But it’s different with a topic like medicine – lots of people tend to be skeptical when they hear this topic and they find it hard to believe that internal organs coming off a 3D printer could really become part of everyday life one day. People are more cautious when it’s about their own bodies or what they eat. But as a rule – and I don’t think this is surprising to anyone – younger people are much more open to things than older people.
Where and how would you personally use autonomous aircraft, and in which situations would you not use them?
That’s a really tricky question. I’ve often thought about that. If I had an autonomous car, I’m pretty sure I’d get into it and travel from Berlin to Munich. But if I had an autonomous airplane, I’d probably think twice. Sure, you can also belt along in an autonomous car at 180kph. But the way I see it, something’s less likely to go seriously wrong traveling in an autonomous car than in an autonomous aircraft. So I’d only use that kind of technology if I had an emergency pilot on board who’d jump in if something went wrong. I think that’s also the solution that will be needed for the transition period in the coming years – before we start depending on airplanes that aren’t even steered by people. They’ve already got those sorts of things in other areas, like vehicles traveling on tracks, but there are fewer risks in that kind of area if something happens.
If you were given a free choice, which technology would you like to see introduced in the future?
I’d go for a technology that reduces suffering and misery in the world – I mean material suffering and misery, which is usually caused by a lack of food or not enough water. For example, I’ve spent time in Kenya and I’ve seen with my own eyes how people have to walk miles and miles to fetch water for their village. So if there’s a technology that would make it possible to obtain water at a low cost, or nutritional meals, that would be awesome.
The absolute ideal would be a technology that could turn trash into usable food. Technology already exists to turn salt water into drinking water, although even this could benefit from an improvement or two to raise general living standards in the world. I think this is a technology that’s really necessary and it’s on a higher level than things like transportation and maybe even medicine. Although advanced and affordable medicine would really help a lot of people, especially in poorer countries. I’m thinking of people who have eyesight problems and can’t afford glasses. There must be ways to come up with a modern technology that can provide help in this area without costing too much. What people should concentrate energy on when it comes to technological advancement is thinking about the poorest people and bringing them on board. I’m not trying to lecture people on morals; I just find it important. This isn’t about coming up with amazing science fiction scenarios, but helping people, especially those who really need it.
Mirko Drotschmann is one of the most successful YouTubers in Germany. Nicknamed MrWissen2go (“MrKnowledge2go”), he uses his YouTube channel to discuss current political issues and share knowledge from history. His channel has just under 1.2 million followers and each of his videos gets hundreds of thousands of clicks. Drotschmann is also the managing director of a company called Media GmbH, which produces media content for broadcasters, federal authorities, business enterprises, and NGOs.