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Sprecher*innen: Dr Thomas Müller

PhD Applied Cognitive Psychology from University of Ulm, Human Machine Mediator at HuMM

Progressively departing from a traditional practice of clinical psychology, Dr Thomas Müller has, since the publishing of his thesis "Lost In The Machine: A Review Of Computer-Borne Disorders" in 2004, contributed to develop a branch of cognitive psychology looking at the emergence of new mental and physical conditions resulting from an accelerating technological innovation. In his 2007 essay "Data Permanence and Other Technoconfusions", he documents over sixty recently-appeared syndromes among which numb thumb, dead pixel remanence and extralineaphobia, and makes a case for new forms of cognitive-behavioural therapy acknowledging the affective relationship between humans and their digital environment. From 2010 to 2014, an observation study following the mental evolution of programmers in Silicon Valley's foremost companies has led him to theorise, together with Søn 'Data Doctor' Permedic, the now widely recognised concept of Data Permanence, and to the subsequent development of a practice combining CBT, IT support and suggestion methods he refers to as Human Machine Mediation (HuMM). This practice had earned him the nicknames of and 'Machine Whisperer', a familiarity he deconstructs in "The Machine Whisperer: How We Should Talk To Computers", comparing Human-Machine Mediation to conflict-solving between human cultures, in the sense that both processes must start with acknowledging both the language barrier and cultural biases, and heavily relies on progressively rephrasing the issue until it is agreed on by both parties in equal terms. Dr Thomas Müller has identified the 2008 economic crisis as being in part due to a growing disconnection between algorithms managing stock exchanges or insurance premiums and the humans entrusted with overseeing them, and he has since evolved a branch of his HuMM practice to address the issue of consensus in the workplace, coaching entire teams to synchronise their collective use of complex computer systems. His latest work "Synthetic Brains At Work", published last year at Cornell UP investigates the new paradigm of human-machine colleagueship, looking at domains until recently considered proprietary to humankind — power struggles, harassment and burn-out.