skip to context

How machine intelligence can make you happy

Springer book drives the debate on the future of humans and machines | Life Engineering as a discipline of happiness management

Heidelberg, 3 March 2020

Book cover: Life EngineeringMachine intelligence is changing our lives: Data traffic on the Internet and digital assistants at home make everyday life easier. These services are quickly developing from simple passive helpers to active assistants. But do people actually benefit from this development? Reports on machine intelligence alternate between horror scenarios that predict the rise of a human-oppressing superintelligence, and utopias of universal prosperity. “Whether we are using the growing capabilities of machine intelligence to our advantage or to our demise is becoming the greatest challenge facing mankind,” says author Hubert Osterle. Discussions on the topic are strongly influenced by emotions and misunderstandings. His book, Life Engineering, recently published by Springer, addresses the question of what people, companies and society should expect from digitization. The author conceptualizes on how this new technology could lead to happier people and a better quality of life.

The book incorporates the perspectives of various disciplines - computer science, economics and social sciences, political science, psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, ethics and religion. Osterle offers an important impetus for the debate on the joint future of humans and machines, on happiness and evolution as well as on the great changes that digitization brings. He calls for the establishment of a new discipline: life engineering. “This discipline should understand the technology, quality of life, and the management of society, and guide its development.” Life engineering should also highlight the opportunities and dangers to humanity, provide stimuli for entrepreneurial behavior and also contribute to the political agenda. Osterle believes that, in addition to regulating society and the economy, we also need a kind of happiness guide. The first step could be an objective measurement of happiness. A global, freely accessible database of personal as well as factual data and a so-called happiness coach, who can transfer the knowledge into everyday life, could provide helpful support.

In his book, the author designs an agenda for a Quality of Life Model aimed at individuals as well as at companies, politics and society. He provides a thorough analysis of technological trends as well as their opportunities and threats to quality of life. Building on the maxim of happiness of “Homo Digitalis”, Osterle formulates provocative questions on matters such as the value of privacy.

About the author

Professor Hubert Osterle was a full professor of business information systems at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. He founded the Institute for Information Management and initiated the Executive MBA program "Business Engineering" at the University of St. Gallen. Hubert Osterle was the editor-in-chief of Electronic Markets and co-editor of other magazines. He founded several companies, where he put his scientific knowledge into practice.

Hubert Osterle
Life Engineering
2020, 164 p., 14 illus.
Softcover  €22,99 | £19.99 | $27.99
ISBN 978-3-030-31481-1
Also available as an eBook

Further information
Services for Journalists

Journalists can request an electronic review copy of the bookLife Engineering: Machine Intelligence and Quality of Life


Felicitas Behrendt | Springer Nature | Communications
tel +49 6221 487 9901|