Prof. Martin Botteck

D.-Eng., Our digitalisation expert

Prof. M. Botteck studied electrical engineering at Dortmund Technical University, gaining his doctoral degree there in 1993 doing research on digital signal processing. Occupying various leading positions at Nokia, he accompanied the introduction of digital television and the development of Bluetooth.

Before being appointed Professor for Communication Services and Applications in 2012 at Südwestfalen College of Applied Sciences, he held executive positions in engineering firms operating in telematics applications and industrial communication techniques.


To me, Digitalisation means …

The definition of this term has been changing in recent years: Initially, it was used to describe a purely technical process presenting values in a logical sequence of noughts and ones. If for instance electrical quantity represents the brightness curve of a surface, after digitalisation a “digital picture” is created. In the same way it is possible to create “digital sound”, “digital film”, and “digital text”.

As the devices used for the processing of digital data became enormously more powerful in just a few years, something like a “digital revolution” began. Meanwhile this revolution is being equated in many contexts with “digitalisation”: More and more pieces of information we encounter in our daily lives are presented by way of noughts and ones, processed accordingly, and shared with the whole world via efficient modern communication networks.

Presently, many experts are forecasting another step forward in this digital revolution: Some methods of digital data processing – which basically have been around for some time already – display traits of intelligence patterns, especially in connection with ultra-powerful computers. This “artificial intelligence” promises it can do a lot of things much better in a digital way than can be done by the known methods of our imagination. However, those are prognoses for a future which is still very distant – and whose concrete realisation will certainly and decisively be influenced by other developments.

Wrapping up up the term in a punchy definition is a bit tricky because its usage tends to evoke those high expectations that always resonate when we're talking about that brave new future. But let me try all the same, even though it's difficult: Digitalisation is the technical presentation of any form of information with the help of noughts and ones and its processing by way of globally connected devices, hoping that those appliances do indeed come to intelligent conclusions and make decisions that will change our lives profoundly in the future.

Four questions for Prof. Dr. Botteck

To me, Hansa means: I associate the Hanseatic League with audacity, international exchange, an aggressive trading strategy, fabulous wealth, and sea air.

What do you expect of the Brilon Hansa Congress? I do hope that I have to wisely correct my prejudices regarding the first question.

On digitalisation and the future: The experts are not in agreement, wavering between euphoria and distrust. As for me, I haven't decided yet: I am not sure whether artificial intelligence will really improve our lives – or whether it rather jeopardises the continuation of human existence. Since the current state of technology is still a good deal away from genuine “artificial intelligence”, there's plenty of time to ponder this question for a while yet.

What can visitors expect of you in the discussions? Not just professionally sound tips and explanations regarding technical digitalisation, but also ironic and to-the-point remarks on exaggerated expectations concerning the efficiency of computers.