Futur/io | Alexander Mankowsky
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Alexander Mankowsky

Alexander Mankowsky

Futurist, Daimler AG

“In a dystopian future, technology drives culture, in a utopian world, it is the other way around. I hope we can contribute to the latter.”

Alexander Mankowsky talks in German and English about

  • Future of mobility
  • Desirable Futures



Born in Berlin in 1957, Alexander studied Sociology, Philosophy and Psychology at the Free University of Berlin. He graduated in 1984 with the title of Diplom Soziologe.


After four years in social services helping troubled children, he decided to follow the Zeitgeist and enrolled at a post graduate university, focusing on the then new field of Artificial Intelligence. After heavy programming in OOS and Prolog, he earned the title of ‘Knowledge Engineer.’ Since 1989, Alexander has worked in the research unit at Daimler AG, initially focusing on societal trends in mobility. This led him in 2001 to his current field of work as Futurist and Mobility Philosopher at Daimler Research.


Alexander is focused on human-centered innovation utilizing futuristic technological concepts. He is embedded in Daimler’s rich and diverse creative network.

Highlight References





  • 2018: Handelsblatt C-Suite, GigaGipfel, MIT Paris, SXSW Panel



  • 2019: re:publica talks from 2012 until 2019, starting with ‘In Bewegung zu Hause’

What’s your personal utopia?

A world in which we have managed to balance collective needs and individual freedom in a sustainable and resilient way. Diversity in my utopia includes biodiversity – our world view is multipolar and not just centered around men. Self-fulfilment should allow the development of talents in as many different ways as people will like. In my utopia we can be as lazy and industrious as it is in our genes, no need for continuous slaving around. Consumerism is contained through a circular economy approach. Bodily pleasures, aesthetics, productivity, interaction and play should provide a solid ground for satisfaction with life.

What was your first touch with the future?

In a professional way it started with the first wave of Artificial Intelligence in the 80-90’s at Daimler Research in Berlin. Before, the Radical Constructivism, as taught by Maturana and Varela cleared my view about our ability to think forward. Even before, it was Rhen Dark, a Sci-Fi series from the 60’s.


Creating future started in earnest around 2000 with concepts for research cars, product categories and devices.

Favourite Books

The Great Derangement, Amitav Gosh

Immortality, Stephen Cave

Homo Deus, Yuval Harari

Bullshit Jobs, David Graeber

What Algorithms want, Ed Finn

Weapons of Math Destruction, Cathy O’Neil

The Relativistic Brain, Miguel Nicolelis

The Threatened Net, The Washington Post

Anxious, Joseph E. LeDoux

A Natural History of Human Thinking, Michael Tomasello

Uberland, Alex Rosenblat

Autonomous, Annalee Newitz

What the Dormouse said, John Markoff

Ecotopia, Ernest Callenbach

Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction, Annalee Newitz

Favourite Movies

Matrix, Lana Wachowski & Lilly Wachowski

Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry

Ghost in the Shell, Mamoru Oshii

Serial Experiments Lain, Ryūtarō Nakamura

Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker

THX 1138, George Lucas

Welt am Draht, Rainer Werner Fassbinder

This inspired me the most…

Alphaville, Jean-Luc Godard

Mechanization takes Command, Siegfried Giedion

Brazil, Terry Gilliam

The Age of Insight, Eric Kandel

The Tree of Knowledge. Biological basis of human understanding, Umberto Maturana and Francesco Varela