target is new

an exploration in the new

The challenges of simulating reality at This happened UTC

20up. This happened has become an institute on it’s own. With chapters in Amsterdam and Rotterdam now, Utrecht remains the original. I dare to admit I am a fan of the concept and the curation of speakers, and was present at a lot of the evenings (I think I only missed two). After edition 10 I wrote on the role of this happened in addressing some elements in designing interaction.


It was of course great to have Kars Alfrink to present at this edition, he is the initiator bringing the event to the Netherlands (it originated in the UK). He showed the work of Hubbub for Shell, creating a game (Ripple Effect) that shapes an environment for learning to work together without trying to simulate reality. It is a signature project of Hubbub.

In the presentation Kars showed the way a divers team agents (that were present in room, including the product owner of the client) together with the client makes a project like this possible. It is an great overview of all kind of tools to shape a project like this.

In the questions we could experience a little bit on the conscious thinking of the design of these kind of ‘tools for change’. Kars mentioned how the use of the concept from the daily reality of the Shell workforce, the Goal Zero clock, was blocking the possibility to step out of the reality and really learn something, change behavior. A useful insight in approaching serious gaming. Making a simulation of reality is not the way to go, you need to adapt the principles and try to shape an environment to make understanding possible by taking action.

Next up was Yvonne Dröge Wendel showing a project where she made a simulation of a train coupe that helps patients with Alzheimer to relax. A beautiful project that was a bit suffering from the choice of Yvonne to go into more than one project. Proven a tricky approach with only 10 minutes of presentation, better give one project all the attention. Luckily in the question round we could dive a bit deeper and hear on the hard work to make the videos in the right manner. Shot from a low standpoint, tuning on the pace, and above all how the filtering all the unwanted visual trigger was important. To much of specific elements like a church makes the patient troubled.

It showed how she is really focussing on creating some product that fits the needs of the user. One thing that is interesting in the light of her statement that she is more of an artist than a designer and that the difference is in the way to propose a project. A designer wants to solve problems, an artist creates problems, new questions.

After the break Lilian Henze shared insights and approaches on the research of the use of the packaging of a product from KPN (InternetPlusBellen). The insights from the research lead to design changes that generated lots of reduction in costs in after care.

Real understanding how behavior works should be the beginning of all design, she thinks. Which is true of course.

An interesting chain of thoughts that flew by during the questions: user insights are hard to adopt in the complex environment and keeping them robust. It felt she is looking for a more lean approach; deliver fast, fail fast, learn a lot (oversimplification).

Last speakers of the evening were the founders of IJsfontein (Jan Willem Huisman and Hayo Wagenaar), an agency with a long lasting reputation in designing games. As it was a bit the classic edition of This happened they brought an old laptop to be able to show the old game Meester van de Macht, a game that started off their fame in a way. It brought back some old feelings. But also shared some interesting choices, like the focus on a couple of principles, and working together with a designer and a coder to create the best and most efficient solutions. Also in animation.

The way they treat the mouse pointer as part of the interaction and communication of behavior was great in the game. It also unlocked the insight that we are losing the cursor as a concept more and more with the ubiquitous presence of touch devices.

A connection in the projects lies maybe in the that disconnection of simulations from reality. As IJsfontein showed with the bouncing ball how you can replace exact feeling with the right combination of key animation components. And as Kars showed in his approach to serious gamers within Shell. The simulation of a world outside for the Alzheimer patients is clearly an altered reality, and in that a simulation of reality, where it is proved that detailed simulation distract you from engaging with the simulated reality. An approach that could be valuable for Linze to shape the future research, getting more fundamental than detail insights as start for design work.

Continuity, the first step to a notifaction based OS

A new OS model emerged, thinking on the consequences of the Google Glass interface model and the consequences on a more deeper level for the way user experience will work in the future, and services will function on our mobile and wearable devices.

I sketched it for the first time for a presentation at the CrossMediaCafe February 4 this year: the app model is replaced by a system where the notifications-layer become the linking pin between instances of the service you are subscribed to. The context of use both in knowledge as in sensing is defining what is relevant for the moment.

I predicted this would be the playing field of the next generation OS’s of Google and Apple. I made a typo and call it the notifaction space, something that works remarkable well though.

Now we have seen the first of it in iOS8 and OSX Yosemity at the WWDC last Monday. The talk was packed with interesting new stuff, from appearance to complete new program models including a disruption in the platform with Swift and Extensions. And also some huge steps in connecting the tangible world to our digital reality with Healthkit and Homekit, something to go in deeper another time.

The solution for the notifaction space from Apple is called Continuity. OSX and iOS are not only looking more and more the same, the experiences are really merging now. And more interesting, the presence of devices in relation to each other is noticed and have added intelligent behavior. Fluent experiences, discreet behavior, all solved with Continuity.

Combined with the catching up in interactivity in the notifications with direct interactions via Spotlight features shows how this layer is indeed the center of our control room of the digital life. I expect even more to come as app-maker will start to use it and we grew into a trigger based ad-hoc service experience. Exciting times.

Evgeny Morozov inspiring a balancing of viewpoints

This evening I attended a debate session in De Balie organized around the Dutch introduction of the book by Evgeny Morozov: To Save Everything, Click Here. The writer was present to kick-off the discussion. Three others played the role as referent (Hans de Zwart, Linnet Taylor, Dimitri Tokmetzis). It became interesting as the floor was opened to the audience. I am not reporting on the session in detail, you can rewatch the whole piece if you want.

The value of the work of Morozov and this debate is not his standpoints as such, but it is the discussion it triggers. For me two important concepts are linked (and I don’t mean to be complete in the analysis, these are mine main observations).

First is the notice we have entered a state of total digital life. We are post digital and beyond mobile. We live our life like it is digital, in our behaviour, in our expectations. Next step is the connection with the real world, the creation of ‘solid’ touchpoints, tangible interactions. This is the solid internet. In Morozov’s world he is opposing the technology as solutionism for everything. He propose to think technology as part of our life, as something to live with, not to live by. We need not to be servants to technology, not to be pure slaves to data optimised behavior, we need to keep thinking. Something I agree upon.

Secondly we need to think how to react. We need to master this digital life, to learn and have literacy to play the system. We live in a world that becomes more and more defined in rules, adapting to our behaviour, but also trying to influence our behaviour.
We can fight this situation by ignoring technology, but I think it is a better strategy to learn to master this world. We will have a continuum of virtual reality that we can manipulate. The smart ones will generate ghost-presences, will learn how to bend the rules.

So we need to learn how to play. And we need to be aware how digital and physical layers interfere and add on. This is not something we can master in one iteration, this will take more like a generation. To help understand and learn is the important part of thinkers as Morozov. The biggest danger is the rhetoric and polarisation. I value Morozov as inspiration for this thinking, not as the end stage of an ideology.

Lessons on wearables from Berlin

[Published on in Dutch]

Afgelopen week was ik op twee conferenties in Berlijn. De eerste was een nieuwe over het internet of things: Thingscon. Een zeer goede conferentie met hoog niveau sprekers en publiek. De tweede was NEXT Berlin. Daar was ik voor de tweede keer (vorige keer in 2012), dit keer op uitnodiging om als bezitter van een Glass bij nog erg summiere Glass penetratie in Duitsland het publiek kennis te laten maken.

De wearables waren in verschillende vormen goed vertegenwoordigd op beide conferentie. Bij Thingscon werd veel nadruk gelegd op het maken van dingen, iets dat voor een mensen die normaal over bits nadenken nog al eens weerbarstig kan zijn. “There is no China button”.  Nu we van corporate via personal computing nu naar ambient computing zijn gegaan gaat het niet meer om sneller maar om kleiner en minder energiegebruik, zoals de Noor Adam Scheuring zei.

Olivier Mével, de maker van Nabaztag (later Karotz), het Wifikonijn dat 200 duizend stuks verkocht, zoekt het nu vooral in dingen die onszelf quantificeren, en remote controls van alles.
Zoals ook Matt Biddulph aangaf op zoek te zijn naar de randen en vooral te focussen op het ecosysteem, niet op de node.

Die nodes zijn nog steeds de mensen betoogde Alasdair Allan. Wij verbinden nu nog de verschillende connected devices. Bij NEXT Berlin gaf Cedric Hutchings van Withings een mooi voorbeeld hoe hier gebruik van te maken. Ze proberen bestaand gedrag te ondersteunen met connected devices, zoals de weegschaal. Deze data wordt vervolgens persoonlijke gezondheidsdata waar omheen nieuwe producten worden gemaakt.

Interessant zijn de principes van discretie in design zoals de Finse designer Sami Niemelä het verwoordde. Mobile first = behaviour first, ontwerp vanuit de human factors de service, daarna de software en de hardware als laatste. Brady Forrest van investeerder Highway1 gaf het eerder ook aan: if the software breaks, the product breaks.
We maken daarbij steeds meer adaptieve producten die pas af zijn door het gebruik betoogde Matt Webb van BERG.

Het meten zelf is interessanter dan de data die we meten. Usman Haque hield een vlammend pleidooi als afsluiter van Thingscon om niet te focussen op de optimalisatie van persoonlijke dingen, maar op de mogelijkheden die de connected things hebben om samen diensten op te zetten met meer waarde. Wil niet alles simpel maken. Making meaning is making mess.

Christian Holm zei het ook bij NEXT Berlin. Serendipity maakt het leven mooi. Omarm de onzekerheid, neem dat mee in het design van de wearables.

In het zelfde panel gaf Priya Prakash terecht aan dat de notificaties nog niet werken. Daar ligt voor wearables de werkelijke uitdaging. Waar ik het helemaal mee eens ben. Mensen zijn daarin de sensors die de notificaties moeten sturen. Mooi gezegd. Het werd onderstreept met de slechte manier waarop de eigen iBeacon conferentie-implementatie werkte, onterechte en 10dubbele notificaties als je op de verkeerde plek stond. We zijn daar nog maar net gestart…

FutureEverything thinking on the box

This year I attended the FutureEverything conference for the second time. The last time was two or three years ago. A small conference, but with high quality content. And a good atmosphere too. This time it was scaled up a bit with big support of the city municipality, what makes it into a conference with a few side tracks and bit more local focus. Still the quality of speakers was far above average again.
It is some weeks ago now but I will give some reflections (instead of reporting in detail).

The kick-off by Mike Bracken and Russell Davies talking on GDS was nice. The first time I saw Russell in such formal talk, but still very smart and the achievements of GDS are of course impressive. Putting the delivery before the talking is very productive. The use some straight forward principles like: Work on stuff that matters. Do the hard stuff first. Make it open. Show the thing. Also show the analytics. Fixing the basics
They believe that the future of government is not a policy paper. It will emerge from the places where government is made. GAAN Government as a network. Not centralised, Not localised, But networked.

The rest of the day a lot of talks refer to different kind of utopias in the main room. The minimal viable utopia as Greenfield it puts.

The best talks I followed in the fireside chat room. James Bridle is still one of my favourite thinkers and artists. Always shifting our thinking with pieces of real working art. He talked on his drone shadows of course and on the project that was in town (but I missed); the Spaulder. Looking for the physical embodiments of the internet makes it interesting to look reversed too: digital embodiment of the real. The next day he talked a bit more on the surveillance topic in the main room. This was a very good panel of speakers, with next to James a talk by Eleanor Saitta, and Adam Harvey. James started with questions on the data ownership of driving plate data captured by British government.

It addresses how the current developments in surveillance shifts from an understanding of the world to an understanding of the person. Adam Harvey is the artist who made the camouflage like face paintings to counter face recognition. “We can interfere with observation by modifying our simulation. We exist in many environments and may moments in the future”. In that sense is the work of Tom Armitage creating a ghost presence of himself in another city a very practical implementation of the concept. Combining these would be very interesting.

Also the chat with Adam Greenfield was good. Long time I saw him present. His new piece as anti-smart city thinking was the main topic. From smart to networked city as an approach. The example to go out through the city in a ‘Walkshop’ and be aware of all the connected artefacts.

The second day was talking on the box as one speaker quoted.
A nice metaphor to take responsibility again instead of making just new new stuff. On of the boxes is our relation to tech and the evolution in that. Koert van Mensvoort introduced a model that behaves like the Maslow pyramid, upper levels are the next stages in evolution. For tech he found the steps: envisioned > operational > applied > accepted > vital > invisible > naturalised

Especially in the afternoon some great speakers told about projects. Like Tom Armitage on Hello Lamppost, and Dan Williams on several robotic encounters.
The talk of Alexandra Deschamp-Desino on gonzo products is definitely something to watch if you are active in the field of creating connected products, lets call them new products, like we call media new media in the era of change. Gonzo products are a need breed: a product designed for the crowdfunding reality. Low goal, lean, 6 months pivots.
Tom Armitage talked on Hello Lamppost and showed us how you make a city really playable. It is not a playable city if not everyone is allowed to play. Therefor they used low entry technology (SMS). Networks go beyond network cables. We should create service avatars. Objects as manifests of services. Made personal. Products can break from the services. Wellknown example is the Nabaztag connected rabbit.

Looking back on the conference it is hard to pinpoint one overall story. I like the box as a metaphor. Also I got the feeling that there is a kind of gap emerging between a non-developing practice of open data in cities and new realities of automated contexts we need to master.

Wearables trigger a new model of pull-marketing

For the Mobile Marketing weblog I wrote a column on the impact of wearables on marketing models. We will have a Personal API that can provide the data we generate by the use of wearables on a permission basis.

Read the post below (in Dutch).


Afgelopen week was er week SxSW in Austin. Ik heb dit jaar overgeslagen na een bezoek in 2011 en 2013. Het is een interessante bubbel waar je vooral goed kunt ontdekken welke ontwikkelingen tractie zouden kunnen krijgen. Voorafgaand filosofeerde ik over een paar mogelijke trends, waarvan wearables en privacy de belangrijkste waren. Het lijkt zeker terug te komen als ik de verhalen lees.

Voor mij is het een van de meest interessante aspecten van de wearables. Wat gebeurt er met de data die we gaan produceren met z’n allen. Ik vind het interessant dat de mens steeds meer een bron van data wordt over zichzelf waar hij anderen toegang toe geeft. Ik noem dat Personal API. Een API staat voor een Application Program Interface en zorgt ervoor dat je bijvoorbeeld met de data uit Tweets analysetools kan bouwen als bedrijf. Heel veel moderne diensten hebben een API. De Personal API maakt het dus mogelijk om voor andere partijen – binnen voorwaarden – gebruik te maken van mijn data.

Wat er gaat ontstaan in de wisselwerking tussen je eigen datacollectie en de publieke data, en welke data je wel en niet wil achterlaten is een groot vraagstuk. Nu nog zie je dat we er geen controle over hebben, denk aan de NSA-activiteiten. Als we die data echter steeds meer dicht bij onszelf laten ontstaan in de wearables en de tussenlaag meer bewust wordt ingericht krijgt de gebruiker meer controle. Het was ook een van de topics bij SxSW.

De commotie rond de ING heeft er alles mee te maken. Is de data die ik als gebruiker van een betaalde dienst (bankieren) gebruik van mijzelf of van de bank. ING geeft de indruk van het laatste, maar veel klanten zijn het daar niet mee eens. Het was voor ING net zo makkelijk geweest om de datatransactie vanuit de klant te laten sturen, dan was er geen ophef geweest, en was de opbrengst voor de ING gelijk geweest.

Ik geloof dat we het komend jaar veel applicaties en diensten zullen krijgen die de gebruiker wel de sturing gaan geven. Een voorbeeld is die probeert alle data bij elkaar te brengen. Maar ook tools als Commonsense van Sense-OS proberen data uit sensoren slim bij elkaar te brengen.

Dat betekent voor marketeers dat ze veel directer en persoonlijker contact kunnen zoeken. Permission marketing gaat een nieuwe fase in als we onze eigen Personal API gaan beheren.

Hoe die appjes eruit kunnen zien is ook een van de vragen die we ons stellen bij een hackathon op 9 april in Rotterdam plaatsvindt (en waar ik betrokken bij ben). We staan nog maar aan het begin van deze ontwikkeling, maar de impact lijkt groot te worden. Zeker voor marketeer. Het zou heel interessant zijn als bij de hackathon niet alleen programmeurs en designers meedoen, maar ook een moderne marketeer in een team gaat zitten.

In het marketingvak komt weer focus te liggen bij de gebruiker van de producten en diensten, vraaggestuurd. Pull is echt het nieuwe push, de Personal API zal daarin een van de belangrijke concepten kunnen zijn.

Do we need an identity faraday cage?

This was rather interesting tonight. I attended a session on the topic of fixing the internet. Instead of talking on the infrastructure alone privacy became a hot topic. I did not intended to direct this discussion by wearing my Glass but it did. Some people seemed to feel offended by the device, which is interesting on its own. It started with Douwe Schmidt mentioning the presence of Google in the audience through the Glass and at the end of the evening Marleen Stikker asked me to declare why I put the device on as provocation. It was not, although I thought on it wearing the device. Also as I tweeted; it is very interesting how Glass is functioning as the sharp knife of privacy, making the invisible data collecting very tangible.

For me the most relevant question of the evening was that of Hans Maarten van den Brink. He wonders what to do; hide or regulate? I think that is the valid question. We have to deal with this reality in more intelligent ways than purely try to protect all our doing from leaving trails. Of course it is wise to be aware of what is happening and what you share without knowing. Data sharing literacy is so important. I hope though that we can come up with tools and solutions that alter our presence in a way we like, or give at least the control on what we want to share.

As I think that our identity is much more defined by all traces that we leave behind, and with that the profiles we build of ourselves, much more than our personal identity data like name or address. We need to design literacy first and tools for self control of our wished presence. The work of Tom Armitage I admire for that, how he is making a ghost presence.

That is the direction we need to think. More than using ultra protected devices. This is what I wanted to achieve with our privacy sensing concept and commission research on altering contexts.

I don’t think we need a faraday cage for our identity, that is not the privacy we need. I think that we need a tool that control the opening in the faraday cage, or better; we need a faraday cage that could function as our controlled self. In the meanwhile, check out the activities of the privacy cafe.

Thinking on the #sxsw buzz

I do not attend South by South West interactive (SxSW) this year. The conference is becoming even more popular, and will definitely something to be missed, but I will make it up later this year with some other places. Still I was thinking on what buzz we can expect. Just for the fun of it, let’s try to predict this, see what will come true. And at the same time, these are of course also some of the things I hope it will buzz. I did not dive into the program, these are just some of my feelings.

Last year we had (big) data and behavior design. And the introduction of the Glass. That is the first buzz I expect. A lot of Glasses in the wild, it will be probably the most glassed place ever.

I attended some interesting talks on machine learning and intelligent systems last year. I expected more on that this year. The internet of things will buzz SxSW with connected products galore.

Quantified self was hot too last year. More as overall theme maybe. It will be buzzing in a more mature manner, connected to health stuff for instance. On the other hand we will have a buzz on data literacy. With Snowden doing a keynote and all that has happened last year, it could not be other than that this topic will be important. Morozov believers and deniers will be both present.

I can’t remember true breaking apps or services or categories from last year. Wonder if we would get one this year. It could be very well that it is not an app but a wearable this time. The hottest interactive stuff is sensor-based today.

See what Bruce will say.

Proving privacy is all about control

For the Dutch blog Mobile Marketing I wrote a post on my experiences with wearing a Glass in a museum that allows making pictures, but found it uneasy to allow it when it is unclear when the pictures are taken. An interesting case how the approach to this device is characterised by the openness and transparency more than the fact itself.

The post is in Dutch.


Er wordt heel verschillend gereageerd als je een Glass draagt. De onzekerheid die het oproept kan een gevaar zijn voor de acceptatie van wearables.

Vorige week was ik in het Rijksmuseum. Al enige tijd ben ik actief de mogelijkheden van Glass aan het onderzoeken, de nieuwe slimme bril van Google. Sinds enige weken heb ik zelf ook een exemplaar en probeer daarmee verschillende dingen uit. Zo ook rondlopen in het museum. Aangezien het beleid van museum fotograferen en videoopnames toestaat leek me dat geen groot probleem. Dat bleek echter anders. De suppoost in de zaal bij het kunstwerk van Daan Roosegaarde vroeg mij de bril af te zetten. Als toelichting gaf ze aan dat dit het beleid was zolang er geen beleid is geformuleerd. Daarbij gaf ze aan dat het probleem niet is dat je fotografeert met de bril, maar wel dat je niet ziet dat iemand dat doet.

En daarmee wordt wel een interessant punt geraakt. Bij alle presentaties die ik geef of bijwoon over de Glass komt altijd de privacy vraag langs. Wat gebeurt er met de data en zijn we nu echt volledig overgeleverd aan Google. Ook afgelopen donderdag bij het seminar Mens voor de Lens. Geleyn Meijer prikkelde in zijn aftrap met de vraagstelling of de data van een persoon die een device als Glass vastlegt eigenlijk niet van die persoon zou moeten blijven. Een discussie op zich.

In het licht van Glass een interessant punt uiteraard, maar een andere spreker (Dariu Gavrilla) vertelde over de geavanceerde radar en camerasystemen (8 stuks) die in een nieuwe Mercedes zitten en zorgen dat de auto voorkomt dat je een voetganger aanrijdt door in het uiterste geval zelf te remmen. Die foto’s die Glass maakt zijn misschien nog maar een fractie van alle foto’s en signalen die worden opgevangen door alle auto’s straks. Er is natuurlijk wel een verschil. In de auto zit geen mens aan de andere kant van het glas die naar de beelden kijkt.

Voor marketeers en mediamakers is het interessant te beseffen dat met de nieuwe golf ‘intimate mobile devices’ of ‘wearables’ weliswaar een heel nieuw speelveld ontstaat waarin marketingcommunicatie en -concepten kunnen worden bedacht, vol met mogelijkheden om dat toe te spitsen op die ene persoon. Maar aan de andere kant zorgen die devices ervoor dat mensen argwanend worden. De vraag is of de data die wordt afgegeven bij het gebruik van wearables niet ‘permission-based’ moet zijn. Google heeft met Glass daarin een interessante positie gekozen. Door het interactiemodel van diensten met triggers is het alleen mogelijk succesvol te zijn op deze device als je superrelevant communiceert. Als je daar dan specifieke data van die consument nodig hebt is de kans een stuk groter dat die wordt afgegeven.

Daarin zijn er modellen te bedenken waarin die data een tijdelijk karakter heeft. Zoals bij de radardata van de Mercedes. Het denken over profileren van consumenten moet verschuiven naar herkennen van gedrag, en daar op inspelen. Lerende systemen zijn daarin essentieel. Zoals een NEST thermostaat van je gedrag leert, het is niet voor niks dat Google deze partij heeft gekocht; Google is bij uitstek de partij om deze kennis te verfijnen en op basis van anonieme profielen heel veel input te geven aan marketeers. Context as a Service kan Google als de beste aanbieden.

De wearables zijn zeer interessant en maken een hoop los. Dat zal de komende tijd vaker gebeuren. Overigens reageerde de directeur van het Rijksmuseum later via Twitter dat Glass wel welkom is. Een teken hoe we nog zoeken naar de goede vorm voor deze datagedreven context.

Connected Everyday and the life of things

I was lucky to notice a tweet on Thursday evening, otherwise I would have missed a symposium at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering in Delft at Friday, dedicated to Connected Everyday. The symposium is dedicated to the inaugural lecture of Elisa Giaccardi later that day, but I was triggered with the line-up of speakers in the morning. Three of them I knew already by their reputation for good thinking on a field I find most interesting; connected products and the deeper impacts.

We live in a world where digital data, material objects and social practices are increasingly connected and interdependent. What are the challenges in designing for this new ecology of materials, artefacts and interactions?

Paul Dourish started off with a more philosophical look to the concept of Everyday. He mentioned different concepts of Everyday: Everyday as ubiquitous, everyday as casual, as residual, as repressive, as revolutionary, as collective, as site of study, as site of design.

Everyday is restructuring our perspective on life, my everyday is different from yours. As site of study it is interesting how he described the participation in the researchable world. Reshaping the concepts of everyday through design is in the end the topic of now.

Next was Chris Speed. He talked on Fast Algorithms and Slow things. And the concepts of time. The framework of everyday is future and past. He explored a bit further into the notion of time. Showing how stories told in movies of 6 seconds on Vine have a different meaning as the 140 characters of Twitter, that cost us also 6 seconds to read. And he let us experience via Speeder how speeding up the reading pace transforms meaning.

Sensors make us watch without eyes. New realities emerge. I liked his app TMIY, Take Me I’m Yours, where you can put geofenced based messages to objects based on place and time. The theory of spimes brought to practice. I think his distinction between objects and things, where things have context of presence, is very valuable. New economic models will emerge from the connected things.

Third speaker was Ron Wakkary. I did not see a talk of him before, but I liked it very much. He goes into the way we need to design for these everyday practices. We don’t call it functionality, it just does things. He also reject the idea of users. We have to look to these new things as self controlling entities. Unselfconsious interactions.

Screenshot 2014-01-27 04.27.32
A model

He used a couple of research project that made sense. The table non table project and the indoor weather station. Both designed for a kind of own will in the things. And as his main conclusion: “that over time lead to subjective and possibly unknowing improvements in the relationships of artifacts, evironments and people.”

Last speaker was Jack Schulze. Well-known for his agency BERG London, that is now fully transformed into a product company BERG Cloud with signature product Little Printer. He did not talk on this product, but on more meta level consequences of these new products. Systems are leaking into our experiences. Every connected product brings a system with it.

The example of cash is very strong. The product itself is quite simple. A coin. But it represents a lot. Like ownership. That change as you don’t hold the coin yourself. The object is just a carrier of the system behind it. And make the context of use clear.
And the example of Google; as a search action to pizaa of 0.26 seconds can return 213 million result, what is the thing carrying with it.

There are four orders of products, an evolution.

  1. Shelf demonstrable value
  2. Action at a distance, autonomous connection
  3. Independent connection to the web, the objects are part of the services of the internet
  4. They speak to and affect each other, an ecology of things

To use something, you have to be able to perceive it. You have to make things that have heart. That is what connects us to the things. Like the Apple iOS comparison to Android. iPhone feels better because the makers care.

The panel discussion delivered some extra bits of insights. The format to let objects ask questions to the speakers worked out very well. We learned a nice entertaining activity; read the reviews of the Roomba and see how the product is having a soul for people.

Schulze added that it is remarkable to realize how the very same book of 1999 -say Harry Potter- is so different now with all its context you get when reading in 2014. That is the impact of systems and spimes.

Wakkary put it nice: products are interventions in situations. And as Chris Speed said; objects are no things. Things are events with objects as artefacts. Combine this with algorithms and it can get messy.


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