Alex Kirsch
Independent Scientist
DE | EN

Person

How does thinking work? (How) can we instruct machines to think? And how can we use our knowledge to make machines more useful for people?

I combine 15 years of university-based research and teaching in the areas of artificial intelligence, robotics and human-machine interaction with three years of practical experience at Intuity Media Lab GmbH. As an independent scientist I produce tangible results based on scientific findings.

I am currently mostly pondering about the abililty of humans to make decisions in everyday life. I use results from psychology and behavioral economics to implement computational decision processes that resemble those of humans. The goal is not only to get better automatic responses, but also to facilitate the interaction between people and machines. The same mechanisms are interesting for defining organizational processes.

Photo of Alex Kirsch

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Experience

since 2021
Independent Scientist (full-time)
2018 – 2021
Intuity Media Lab
2018 – 2021
Independent Scientist (part-time)
2012 – 2018
Assistant professor, Universität Tübingen
2008 – 2012
Junior research group leader, TU München
2007 – 2008
Strategy consultant, Booz & Co. (now: strategy&)
2003 – 2007
Doctoral researcher, TU München

Education

2017
Positive final evaluation of assistant professorship (asserting the ability and aptitude necessary for filling a professorship), Universität Tübingen
2008
Doctorate in Informatics,  TU München
Grade: summa cum laude
2003
Diploma of Informatics, TU München
passed with distinction

Awards

  • Adjunct member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, as a member of the Young Scholar's Programme (2012 – 2018)
  • Carl-von-Linde Junior Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study of TU München (2010 – 2012)
  • Junior research group leader in the cluster of excellence Cognition for Technical Systems, TU München (2009 – 2012)

Projects

since Sept 2021

Transformation consulting and support for an online publisher of medical knowledge

Consulting
User Experience Design
Business analysis
Requirements Analysis
Workshops
Prototyping
ClojureScript
JavaScript
React

The 10-year-old company has been very successful with quick innovations in its online products. By focusing on innovation, technical debt has been accumulated both on a conceptual and on an architectural level, which led to declining innovative power. In this project, interal software tools are to be reconceptualized and reimplemented, while ensuring that day-to-day business is not impaired. Ideally, new functionality that directly improve the end user product, should be added in the course of the transformation process.

My Role

  • Analysis and illustration of hitherto existing system functionality and shortcomings
  • Preparation and presentation of information for management to argue the need for the transformation
  • Information and onboarding of different stakeholders (end users, developers, product designers)
  • Planning of intermediate goals and project steps
  • User experience research
  • Research of central libraries
  • Functional prototyping of a web frontend

Peer Feedback

Feedback I received from project collaborators:

  • very structured and well prepared for meetings
  • an iterative approach that can deal with uncertainty and gets closer to a clear picture on every iteration
  • great presenter of results and insights
  • inspiring with new angles on old issues
  • not only capable on a concept level but also a quick prototyper
  • great user-centric end-to-end thinking

2019 – 2021
Sort-it: a demonstration prototype for a knowledge tool
Categorisation
Decision processes
Cognition
User Experience Design
Artificial Intelligence
Prototyping
Agile software development
ClojureScript
React
Project management
2021
Digitalisation strategy for a logistics SME
Consulting
Business analysis
Requirements Analysis
Workshops
Market research
Roadmap
Logistics
Project management
2019 – 2020
Development and prototyping of an interaction concept for in-plant logistics
User Experience Design
User research
Workshops
Interaction design
Information architecture
Agile software development
Roadmap
Logistics
Automotive
Project management
2012 – 2018
Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence
Young Scholar's Programme of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Decision processes
Cognition
Autonomous robots
Clojure
JavaFX

Talks and Training

April 2022

User Experience – Survival Guide for Software Developers

itestra Exchange Day
User Experience Design
Agile software development
Talk

User Experience has become a pervasive topic in software development. This presentation introduces basic tools and methods of User Experience Design for software developers. On the one hand it aims to facilitate the interaction with designers, on the other hand it contains tips for creating intuitive user interfaces without the help of designers.

Nov – Dec 2021
Webinar Series on Artificial Intelligence
TECH:LOUNGE by the native web
Artificial Intelligence
State of AI
Machine Learning
Training Course
October 2019
The Technology in Autonomous Cars: A Focus on the Present
Autonomous Driving
Human-machine interaction
State of AI
Talk
November 2018
Can Robots Replace Caregivers? An Insight into the State of Robot Research
Accessibility
Autonomous robots
State of AI
Talk
August 2017

The RenAIssance: Brave New World

European Forum Alpbach 2017, 6-day course, with Tarek Besold
Artificial Intelligence
State of AI
Lecture

It was my honor and pleasure to teach this course at the European Forum Alpbach. The seminar introduced the basic principles of Artificial Intelligence to give participants a basis for evaluating ongoing public discussions. To give participants from non-technical subject areas an idea of the difficulty of programming, we had a robot programming challenge, with students playing the parts of robots, compilers and programmers.

Seminbar at the Forum Alpbach
Syllabus
  • The fascination of AI
  • Basic techniques of AI
  • Machine Learning
  • Cognitive processes
  • Applications of AI

Publications

Clemens Beckstein, Alexandra Kirsch. Suche. In: Handbuch der Künstlichen Intelligenz. Ed: Günther Görz, Ute Schmid, Tanya Braun, 6th edition. De Gruyter. Chap. 3. 2021.
Alexandra Kirsch. Shakey Ever After? Questioning Tacit Assumptions in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Künstliche Intelligenz, 33(4), pp. 423 – 428, 2019. [pdf from HAL]
Alexandra Kirsch. A Unifying Computational Model of Decision Making. Cognitive Processing, 20(2), pp. 243 – 259, 2019. [pdf from HAL]
Frank Papenmeier, Meike Uhrig, Alexandra Kirsch. Human Understanding of Robot Motion: The Role of Velocity and Orientation. International Journal of Social Robotics, 11(1), pp. 75 – 88, 2019. [pdf from HAL]
Alexandra Kirsch. Explain to whom? Putting the User in the Center of Explainable AI. In: Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Comprehensibility and Explanation in AI and ML 2017, co-located with 16th International Conference of the Italian Association for Artificial Intelligence (AI*IA 2017). Bari, Italy, 2017. (invited paper) [pdf from HAL]