Weeknotes 196; ThingsCon recap

Hi all! Summer is nearing. And we are in a new peak event season, pre-summer is popular more than ever. The share of event-wallet is challenging next to a kind of unwary after two years of online gatherings. We experienced at ThingsCon last week how nice it is to be together in sessions sharing experiences and especially meeting each other in between. So we hope to be able to get back to the routine again with more events. The smaller size makes it even better, cozier, and more intense.

Speaking on ThingsCon, as I was going around dealing with production matters I could not experience the sessions myself. The wrap-up at the end showed however the learnings. We hope we can publish some impressions later. In a lot of sessions the relation between human and tech, from conversations with robots to concepts of trust, on an interaction level or philosophical, was covered. Justyna Zubrycka addressed a nice question to start with “How do we move about between the virtual and real-world so that our human experience is enriched instead of diminished?” She made references to the Japanese art of Mitate “the perception of an object in a non-habitual way, to contemplate an object as if it were something else in order to renew its meaning and experience”. Kris Vanherle showed with their Telraam open sensor solution how AI and sensing become part of the toolkit of a designer and maker of the currently connected devices, and what practical consequences it has.

At the exhibition, the animistic prototypes, AI mirror art installation and unintended consequences of smart objects, also illustrated a current phase in our relationship with intelligent technology that rules the physicality of things and vice versa; building on the ethical discussions we started in the earlier editions.

Events planned

This week I will attend some of The Next Web for old times’ sake. I have been visiting TNW since the second edition I think but skipped last year for the first time. The nature has changed a bit after it was sold to FT I think, but I am curious to find out if there is still a good social vibe, something that TNW for me always was known for; running into a lot of people from the digital community. We have good weather, that will help. INFO will do a session on digital twin with one of our clients Growy on Friday (14:40 at Growth quarters if you are there), with service designer Anandita presenting; looking forward to seeing that.

I do not see other events. CogX is happening in London if you are into that, Amsterdam Digital Society School has its yearly showcase on Wednesday.

Continue reading Weeknotes 196; ThingsCon recap

Weeknotes 195; intelligent car play

Dear subscribers. A day later; due to busi-ness and the day off for Whit Monday) we had yesterday. It might be the last week that I mention ThingsCon as the conference will take place this Friday. Maybe not the last week, I might report next week on the experiences.

For now, I leave it here with another shout-out. Check the latest program including exhibiting projects. You are of course still warmly invited to join and check it out for yourself!

About last week: I did visit Micromobility Europe. More tradeshow than sharing visions on the role of mm in our lives and our cities; which I missed a bit.

So many scooters, steps, e-bikes and other micro vehicles that all share an electric drivetrain and some smartness via a phone. Service providers were there in that sense often what is.

Continue reading Weeknotes 195; intelligent car play

Weeknotes 194; robots go home

Hi all! Weeks are passing by like days… The experience of organizing a conference like ThingsCon is always a similar process. You run always into a lot more work in the end. You tend to forget to amount of work as soon as the event is over and you got all the energy out of it. This rush started this year a bit earlier as we have that special Summer Edition planned as an event on 10 June. So check it out and join us. Read this newsletter with the latest news and special deals.

What else happened last week?

I went to a symposium (part of it) about usage-driven personal mobility services at TU Delft. Always insightful to see some of the research work done. It triggered some questions on the premisses of MaaS (Mobility as a Service) apps, which are designed with the idea that the problem to solve of planning of door to door routes is mostly about the uniformity of the app, having one app for all, with one ticket etc. The use of the current apps is very low as it is not solving real problems yet… Interesting insights are however that there is a chance that the last mile electric vehicles are replacing the wrong modes of transportation; walking and biking instead of car use.

I also had a session with the CMD Advisory board of Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. Which was a nice and open discussion on learning goals and more. Keep your eye on their Golden Dots party this year which celebrates 20 years of CMD.

podcast tip; Kevin Roose is a NYT journalist that has written a good book –Futureproof– on our relation to AI developments. I read it before, it is quite compact. In the podcast he had a nice conversation with Scott Galloway discussing his framing: we need technology that makes us more human. I really feel for his analysis that replacing human activities with AI and robotics will happen fast then we think as the tipping point is not one way the robots become humanlike, but we also grow into habits to adapt to machine learning behavior closing the gap. We should focus on what makes us different, and build valuable relations in that with tech.

What if the internet is generated 99% by AI tools? How are we going to find the human content?

Events this week

As mentioned last week; I will join as much as possible Micromobility Europe. Curious to see if this delivers new insights and inspiration. There might be some side events in the slipstream. Like this party by BinBin scooters. And like the inaugural address of Marco te Brömmelstroet on Friday on Urban Mobility Futures.

End of today there is a new event by the Billion Seconds Institute on “Decoding the futures of Responsible AI systems

And next Monday the WWDC will inspire speculations for the next features and devices of Apple. Will RealityOS be introduced?

And looking for updates on the Dutch media and metaverse, check next Tuesday’s Cross Media Cafe (Dutch).

And now for the news of last week

The weekly dose of robotics, autonomous systems, and critical tech reflections.

Dyson has been secretly building robots 
HOMEBOTICS – Silently more and more options arrive to the market for the companion robots, the cobots. “Today at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Philadelphia, Dyson revealed “secret robot prototypes” that are part of broader research.”techcrunch.com  •  Share
NY State is giving out hundreds of robots as companions for the elderly – The Verge
ROBOTICS – “Deploying robots for elderly care is often controversial. Advocates say robots are a necessary tool, especially when humans aren’t available. Critics warn machines have the potential to dehumanize their users, and their deployment reflects the low value society places on older adults.”In the end, it is about intentions. I tend to be critical as soon as the robots try to be human instead of trying to be what they are: robot companions.www.theverge.com  •  Share
Samsung Seeks FDA Approval for Wearable Exoskeleton Robot – IoT World Today
ROBOT FEAR – Should we really be more afraid for humanoids or for exo-humans? “Samsung is anticipating an August commercial launch of GEMS Hip”www.iotworldtoday.com  •  Share
Researchers develop algorithm to divvy up tasks for human-robot teams 
ROBOTICS – teams are the future! “Researchers have developed an algorithmic planner that helps delegate tasks to humans and robots. The planner, ‘Act, Delegate or Learn’ (ADL), considers a list of tasks and decides how best to assign them. The researchers asked three questions: When should a robot act to complete a task? When should a task be delegated to a human? And when should a robot learn a new task?”www.sciencedaily.com  •  Share
The first wave of urban robots is here
ROBOTICS – “The robot takeover is here – and it’s kinda cute.” This latter statement is interesting. The autonomous delivery cart is conceptual quite identical to manufacturers, and the difference would be in the digital service mainly. Is the appearance part of that or another layer/lens?www.freethink.com  •  Share
Robot that can do laundry by itself will help test washing machines | New Scientist
COMPLICATOR – Such a robot arm feels like a complicator; a solution for a problem that is more complex than the problem it is trying to solve. A strategy to deal with that of course can be to add more complexity in the problem… “A completely automated system for using a washing machine, from loading to unloading, is already being used for appliance tests by one manufacturer”www.newscientist.com  •  Share
Surrender and Assimilation
INTELLIGENCE – The pieces by Vankatesh are extensive and intelligent, super interesting to dive into. Hard to follow the production.. I need still to dive deeper into the graph mind series, this new addition has again an intriguing proposition: “The very first time I sat down to brainstorm graph minds, within minutes, it struck me that a key feature, perhaps the key feature, is that a collective intelligence, like a cult, is something you surrender to.”studio.ribbonfarm.com  •  Share
Imagen: Text-to-Image Diffusion Models
VIRTUAL AUTHENTICITY – So Google is jumping the band wagon Dall-E 2 got a lot of attention with. “unprecedented photorealism x deel level of language understanding”imagen.research.google  •  Share
New countermeasure against unwanted wireless surveillance 
SECURITY – Countering security issues with spying on wifi through a physical barrier instead of trusting software-based encryption… Interesting choice.“To counter this method known as “adversarial wireless sensing”, the team investigated the use of Intelligent Reflecting Surfaces (IRS). IRS are considered a forward-looking technology for establishing intelligent wireless environments: here, many reflective elements are distributed over a surface and their reflective behavior can be individually and electronically adjusted.”news.rub.de  •  Share
Ethereum’s cofounder says we’ll soon use ‘soulbound tokens’ to verify things like school and employment — all stored in a ‘souls’ wallet
CRYPTO LIFE – Are we approaching peak decentralized society if the equivalent of the Klout score for social media is now translated into NFTs? “SBTs are non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that a person can earn based in part on their job and education history. Unlike regular NFTs, they’re non-transferable (though people can revoke them if they choose.) SBTs would represent a person’s reputation and accomplishments, a kind of “extended resume,” Buterin wrote.“www.businessinsider.com  •  Share
Storage wars: the structures that house forgotten objects – Architectural Review
CITIES – In our MUC AMS proposal for a neighborhood community hub we took local logistics as a starting point: buffer storage. In the US is the situation always a bit more extreme “The growing need for self-storage disfigures cities and exposes housing precarity, upholding the promise of a life that will remain out of reach”www.architectural-review.com  •  Share
Everyday Experiments
HACKING – I like the work of oio.studio as rethinkers of design for an AI world.
Hacking IKEA as a concept is not new and is an inspiration for a long time; we did some thoughts in the lab back in 2013 on social media-related platforms and -uhum- Google Glass. This Updatables project is ticking a lot of boxes on reconnecting to the furniture for life. “How will tomorrow’s technologies redefine the way we live at home?”everydayexperiments.com  •  Share
An Autonomous Car Blocked a Fire Truck Responding to an Emergency 
AUTONOMOUS – The Cruise Autonomous service is is exploring all edge cases… “The incident in San Francisco cost first responders valuable time, and underscores the challenges Cruise and other companies face in launching driverless taxis.”www.wired.com  •  Share

Paper for the week

Sometimes a title for a paper can be as long as the summary: A Psychological Ownership Based Design Tool to Close the Resource Loop in Product Service Systems: A Bike Sharing Case

Not really of course; check the abstract. In the research “the central question was whether and how designers can be supported with a design tool, based on psychological ownership, to involve users in closing the loop activities. We developed a PSS design tool based on psychological ownership literature and implemented it in a range of design iterations. This resulted in ten design proposals and two implemented design interventions.”

“Our evaluation resulted in suggestions for revising the psychological ownership design tool, including adding ‘Giving Feedback’ to the list of affordances, prioritizing ‘Enabling’ and ‘Simplification’ over others and recognize a reciprocal relationship between service provider and service user when closing the loop activities.”

I spoke to the author some time ago on the broader research, and I am curious to read what the findings are for this part…

Ploos van Amstel D, Kuijer L, van der Lugt R, Eggen B. A Psychological Ownership Based Design Tool to Close the Resource Loop in Product Service Systems: A Bike Sharing Case. Sustainability . 2022; 14(10):6207. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14106207*

Find the paper here

This is a repost of the weekly newsletter via Getrevue.

Weeknotes 193; more than human intelligence

Hi all. Last week of May. It seems that every organizer of events that normally take place in wintertime has moved their events to this period. Just like we did with ThingsCon; you know it when lot of the supporting functions are already booked. It makes the organizing a bit busier.

Speaking of which; the ThingsCon program starts to round up. We need some final sessions to confirm and it looks very nice I think. If you missed it, check it out!

Last week was dedicated to the Munich workshop as described in last week’s newsletter. We had some tours in the city on Tuesday to check two potential neighborhoods for the Collect|Connect Community Hub we are developing as field lab project. The Kreativ Quartier is an old industry place with lots of creative companies, maker spaces, theaters etc. It will also have dwellings in the future so it is maybe more for later a place for the hub we foresee, but it is a nice place to visit when in Munich. Same goes definitely for the area ‘behind’ Ostbahnhof. Back in 2004 when I visited Munich for the first time it was still a abandoned industry area turned into nightlife, now it becomes a typical creative place with offices and new dwellings mixed together. They left some of the old factories in that mix which gives it good vibes. A new building like this one by MVDRV that won some prizes makes it also worthwhile to check out.

For our community hub we will look in some adjacent living areas like Obergiesing or Haidhausen; thanks to our guide from the municipality of Munich we got a good feel for the places. I am looking forward to being back a next time! I might reconsider the train as a travel option; I have had huge delays on every trip I had in the last year (3 times). On the other hand, avoiding flying is a good habit of course.

I also visited a symposium on a new European research program that is set up on Inclusive Smart Mobility Hubs. Definite something to keep following; curious to see how it will develop further. It still needs some clear definitions for what hubs are but it looks like a nice consortium. The first research results on smart mobility typologies can be found here, including an open data platform they introduced to collect insights into all kinds of hubs.

We also visited some galleries and events of Rotterdam Art Week. We skipped the main event just like last year, and it is not easy to find out all of the side programs, but as a tip for next year: The New Current was again a collection of very nice work. My favorites this year were Tina Farifteh, Carl Rethman, and the work of Nath, Smink & Acket.

Events for the coming week

As mentioned, I will visit Micromobility next week. I bought my tickets for the special early bird price luckily as they are raised substantially after…

Work in the Metaverse is later today. Sounds a bit hyped but I think this institute is ok.

I will be visiting a symposium on “Gebruiksgerichte Mobiliteitsdiensten” at TU Delft today.

Back to in-person events is AiTech Agora; with Alessandro Bozzon this week.

I have never visited yet a Creative Morning in Rotterdam (and will not do this time, but I keep it on the list).

If you are into art; this piece Sun & Sea was one of the most popular Venice Art Biennale back in 2019; and not in a quite unique place in Rotterdam.

And if you are in the North of Italy, you might check this out.

If you are into academic IoT, don’t forget the call for paper deadline of this conference later this year.

News of last week

Now let’s go quickly through the captured news of last week.

Algae-powered computer runs for a year on light and water
ROBOTICS – Mixing different species of nonhuman artefacts; “An algae-powered computer demonstrates a sustainable, reliable way we could power small IoT devices in the future.”www.freethink.com  •  Share
Barcelona bets on ‘digital twin’ as future of city planning – POLITICO
CITIES – “In five years’ time, the structure of Europe’s cities won’t be decided in local town halls but inside a quiet 19th-century chapel in a leafy neighborhood of Barcelona. Housed in the deconsecrated Torre Girona chapel, the MareNostrum supercomputer — one of the world’s most powerful data processors — is already busily analyzing how to improve city planning in Barcelona.”www.politico.eu  •  Share
AMD launches Kria KR260 robotics starter kit – The Robot ReportROBOTICS – An Arduinof for robots? “AMD’s Kria KR260 robotics starter kit is scalable and out-of-the-box development platform for robotics with native ROS 2 support.”www.therobotreport.com  •  Share
Apple’s VR Headset Gets Closer to Actual Reality | WIRED
METALIFE – We will see. Is the Eyes Pod on the verge of introduction?www.wired.com  •  Share
Apple shipped me a 79-pound iPhone repair kit to fix a 1.1-ounce battery – The Verge
RIGHT TO REPAIR – It is good that there is more happening on repairability, although “The more I think about it, the more I realize Apple’s Self-Service Repair program is the perfect way to make it look like the company supports right-to-repair policies without actually encouraging them at all.”www.theverge.com  •  Share
The Myth of the Machine – by L. M. Sacasas
INTELLIGENCE – “If the myth of the machine in these three manifestations, was, in fact, a critical element of the culture of modernity, underpinning its aspirations, then when each in turn becomes increasingly implausible the modern world order comes apart.”theconvivialsociety.substack.com  •  Share
The AI and the Tree | booktwo.org
INTELLIGENCE – More Bridle, this time a blog by himself. “What we need are intelligences that help us do useful things in new and better ways, ways which we could not have imagined alone. AIs which are colleagues and collaborators, rather than slaves and masters.”booktwo.org  •  Share
Ways of Being – The Low Carbon Design Institute
NONHUMAN – Conversation with two bright minds; Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino is interviewing James Bridle. “For artists who are engaged with the world – which is not a requirement of art, but an interesting way to go about it – I think there is a responsibility to address the many problems we face, and artists have many ways of doing this.”lowcarbondesigninstitute.org  •  Share
Opinion: Elon Musk’s autonomous vehicle forecasts are not just too optimistic — they’re wrong – MarketWatch
AUTONOMOUS – I am not sure if this is about Musk or AV promises more in general. I think the latter, Musk is clickbair. That said, it is more interesting to read and think if you agree…. “Yes, the technology in AVs can make them much safer. But the faster the vehicle travels, the less safe it becomes.”www.marketwatch.com  •  Share
Robot can fly, swim or hitch a ride by sticking to other objects | New Scientist
ROBOTICS – Is it a hitchhiker of a parasite? “An amphibious drone that can attach itself to other objects with a suction cup could be used to track marine animals such as whales”www.newscientist.com  •  Share
Adam Mosseri Says He Wants Big Tech to Give Up Control | WIRED
DAOGRAM – “The head of Instagram has a vision for using Web3 to shift power from tech platforms to content creators—which he says will ultimately benefit both.”www.wired.com  •  Share
Using everyday WiFi to help robots see and navigate better indoors
ROBOTICS – I like these kind of different use of mundane technology to unlock new functions. “UC San Diego engineers have developed a low cost, low power technology to help robots accurately map their way indoors, even in poor lighting and without recognizable landmarks or features. The technology uses WiFi signals, instead of light, to help the robot “see” where it’s going.“jacobsschool.ucsd.edu  •  Share
🔮 Superminds bridging the innovation chasm #373
INTELLIGENCE – Better than focusing on AI leaping over humans, it is interesting to take a centaur-route: “I describe future superminds as the result of the interplay of networks of people and intelligent machines, thus generating emergent, superior (and possibly exponential) cognitive properties.”www.exponentialview.co  •  Share
The web3 world computer is at a 1970 level of development (Interconnected)WEB3 – “If the web3 world computer has only just reached 1970 then, first, don’t expect too much. There’s real utility to be found but in very prescribed use cases. But also, second, there are wild and unrecognisable transformations to come. There is room for imagination and invention.”interconnected.org  •  Share
Building a Better Middleman – O’Reilly
PLATFORMS – We are over the platforms, but what is next? “If you understand how your parties interact and what they want to achieve, you’re in a position to spot new product opportunities that will make your customers happy.”www.oreilly.com  •  Share
Haptics Device Creates Realistic Virtual Textures – USC Viterbi | School of Engineering
TOUCH – Will haptics become separate think after all? “USC Viterbi computer scientists have created a user-driven haptics search that can generate dead-ringers for real-world textures.”viterbischool.usc.edu  •  Share

Paper for the week

I need to mention the new paper for the Aitech research group:

“The concept of meaningful human control has been proposed to address responsibility gaps and mitigate them by establishing conditions that enable a proper attribution of responsibility for humans; however, clear requirements for researchers, designers, and engineers are yet inexistent, making the development of AI-based systems that remain under meaningful human control challenging.”

“Meaningful human control: actionable properties for AI system development”

Cavalcante Siebert, L., Lupetti, M. L., Aizenberg, E., Beckers, N., Zgonnikov, A., Veluwenkamp, H., … & Lagendijk, R. L. (2022). Meaningful human control: actionable properties for AI system development. AI and Ethics, 1-15.

Check it out here!

This is a repost of the newsletter sent via Getrevue.

Weekpost 192

Hi all. This is another different edition of the newsletter. Monday we had the workshop at Munich Creative Business Week (MCBW) for the Cities of Things field lab in planning, connected to the Creative Embassy activities. With about 30 people we explored the potential locations and positioning of a field lab Cities of Things in Munich. 

Preparing for this workshop took some time last week. Making the presentation, promoting, follow-up RSVPs, etc. Next to the workshop we visit some other sessions, do tours through two potential interesting neighborhoods for the ‘Reallabor’, a tour of the Design faculty of the Hochschule Munchen, and a session on smart fashion. On Wednesday I will take the train back, using that as a different type of working environment. Hopefully with fewer delays than on the way in…

ThingsCon is approaching fast too. We have been brainstorming on the latest program additions and added more sessions. Descriptions of earlier sessions are up. Tomorrow some more are added. Check the website

Events

As mentioned I am in Munich for MCBW. I will miss however the live panel of Troy Nachtigall and others with some interesting explorations later this week on “Data enabled short range mobility DESRM On Saturday the panel can be followed via a livestream.

Today and tomorrow you can visit the conference Public Spaces with an extensive program around this theme. Check it out.

Sensemakers is always nice to follow, this edition is on Synthetic Biology.

Into Metaverse and cities? Amsterdam is organizing a session.

News

Here are the new items I captured this week. Due to lack of time, I only share these as-is now.

This robot’s paintings showed at the Venice Biennale, but are they actually art?
ROBOTICS – “Art never exists in isolation. It always needs someone to give it ‘art’ status. That goes for work created by AIs, too.”www.fastcompany.com  •  Share
Festo introduces pneumatic cobot arm 
ROBOTICS – “Festo’s cobot uses six pneumatic direct drives, instead of the typical electric motors and mechanical transmission, to move.”www.therobotreport.com  •  Share
The Web3 Decentralization Debate Is Focused on the Wrong Question 
META – “Fixating on the degree—rather than the type—of decentralization is leading us astray.”www.wired.com  •  Share
Quantum Computing without the Hype 
QUANTUM – “So what can quantum computers do now that’s interesting? First, they are excellent tools for simulating quantum behavior: the behavior of subatomic particles and atoms that make up everything from semiconductors to bridges to proteins.”www.oreilly.com  •  Share
Microsoft Adaptive Mouse, Button, Hub: Details, Specs, Release Date
THINGS – “The wireless system—a mouse, a button, and a hub—is designed to increase productivity for those with limited mobility.”www.wired.com  •  Share
How 10 Skin Tones Will Reshape Google’s Approach to AI
ETHICS – “For years, the tech industry has relied on a six-shade scale to classify skin tones. The search giant’s open source alternative could change that.”www.wired.com  •  Share
10 Things – Dispatches from the Future 
DESIGN – “Periodic interesting things gathered – to accelerate (or disrupt) social working thinking, exploring and practice with a futures/foresight lens. 10 things seems like a good amount of things…and about as much as any of us can handle at one time. (I’ve been away from doing this for awhile…but you can see previous posts of this…”socialworkfutures.com  •  Share
Designers, (Re)define Success First 
ETHICS – “About two and a half years ago, I introduced the idea of daily ethical design. It was born out of my frustration with the many obstacles to achieving design that’s usable and equitable; protects people’s privacy, agency, and focus; benefits society; and restores nature. I argued that we need to overcome the inconveniences that prevent us from acting ethically and that we need to elevate design ethics to a more practical level by structurally integrating it into our daily work, processes, and tools.”alistapart.com  •  Share
#182: New Noise 
CITIES – “There is a set of words—gentrification, hipster, neoliberalism, capitalism—that feel surprisingly difficult to use in most contexts now, provoking a variety of unpleasant responses, ranging from annoyance to outright dismissal of whatever statement encompasses the word. ”kneelingbus.substack.com  •  Share
On Design Thinking. Oh… are we still talking about this?
DESIGN – “Design Thinking is dead — so the majority of my peers claim — yet there it is, smeared all over LinkedIn, peeking out from job descriptions and lurking in resumés. It crops up in conversations…”medium.com  •  Share
Google announces the Pixel Watch at I/O 
WEARABLES – “After false starts, rumors, and leaked photos, Google officially announced the Pixel Watch — its first smartwatch — is arriving alongside the Pixel 7 later this fall. On top of a new Wear OS UI, the watch will also debut a new Fitbit integration.”www.theverge.com  •  Share
Signs of a magnetic pole flip in company ownership 
OWNERSHIP – “What if the dominant model of company ownership inverts? What if we’re at the end of an era of companies being owned by external stockholders, and at the beginning of bottom-up ownership by the people who do the work – the employees? Feels unlikely I know, HOWEVER:”interconnected.org  •  Share
AI & Society | Syllabus for the TU Delft IDE master elective course ID5417 Artificial Intelligence and Society
INTELLIGENCE – Useful! With lots of inspiration for the papers for the week :)“Syllabus for the TU Delft IDE master elective course ID5417 Artificial Intelligence and Society”karsalfrink.github.io  •  Share

This is a repost of the weekly newsletter of Getrevue

Weeknotes 191; predicting behaviours

Hi all. I hope you had a good week. My week was all about preparing and proposing and some student coaching. In short.

And ThingsCon Summer Edition is now in less than five weeks, so this is one of the moments in the organizing process it starts to accelerate a bit. Completing the program, discussing with speakers and hosts, finding nice projects to show at the exhibition, building the website etc., don’t forget to check the schedule. The early bird offer ended last week, but I made a discount code for 25%, especially for newsletter subscribers here. This offers ends this Sunday, 15 May. Registration via the website and use the code TC22-25procent

Enough promotion :-)

Events

Not that many events this week that reached me.

This evening in Amsterdam, there is a very promising workshop by Speculative Future Amsterdam on a super relevant topic: Unintended Consequences by Smart Things

Also, this evening a webinar linked to the release of a new book by Kevin Driscoll: The Modem World. With time differences somewhere in the evening.

Wednesday, Sensemakers AMS is having a DIY session.

Following Monday, we have our workshop of the MUC AMS field lab Cities of Things in Munich as part of MCBW, so if you are nearby…

News of last week

Ok, time to dive into the exciting news items of last week with the usual mix of robotics and -this week a bit more- autonomous driving vehicles.

Predicting Others’ Behavior on the Road With Artificial Intelligence
AUTONOMOUS – Understanding intentions is a key quality for autonomous driving. “If a robot is going to navigate a vehicle safely through downtown Boston, it must be able to predict what nearby drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists are going to do next.”scitechdaily.com  •  Share
Designing user interfaces with bots not buttons 
INTERPLAY – Great thinking and exploring thoughts as Matt is doing so well.In this article he explores what the role of NPCs (non-player characters) can be, not only in VR like environments but in all software.Referencing a concept of Gordon Brander; geists:“They’re just little scripts that find connections between notes, and use procedural generators to construct algorithmic provocations.”And referencing a book by Brenda Laurel on the role of agents in our interactions.And I feel for his prediction a lot: “as users become accustomed to agents and NPCs, we’ll see more interfaces on desktops and phones that behave like Subconscious: bot not buttons”interconnected.org  •  Share
Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Apple over practices regarding Apple Pay
LOCK-INS – It seems a new phase in the maturity of mobile platform so people say. “The European Commission has informed Apple of its preliminary view that it abused its dominant position in markets for mobile wallets on iOS devices.”ec.europa.eu  •  Share
Report shows that Amazon uses data from Alexa smart speakers to serve targeted ads 
OWNERSHIP – Anyone surprised? “A research report titled, “Your Echos are Heard: Tracking, Profiling, and Ad Targeting in the Amazon Smart Speaker Ecosystem,” investigates how Amazon Alexa smart speakers use voice data to target ads at users.“www.theverge.com  •  Share
Newly-developed lensless camera uses neural network and transformer to produce sharper images faster: Digital Photography Review
FUTURE TECH – Always interesting to see foretelling technologies develop; curious to see if it will deliver a shift. “Lensless cameras have many potential use-cases but have generally been held back by lengthy processing requirements and low-resolution images. A research from a team at the Tokyo Institute of Technology is looking to change that.”www.dpreview.com  •  Share
Meta has built a massive new language AI—and it’s giving it away for free
INTELLIGENCE – Interesting move of Meta… “And in an unprecedented move for Big Tech, it is giving it away to researchers—together with details about how it was built and trained.”www.technologyreview.com  •  Share
Cruise’s robotaxis now cover 70% of San Francisco – The Robot Report
AUTONOMOUS – Did we reach a tipping point? “Cruise expanded its robotaxi services to nearly 70% of San Francisco, according to co-founder and CEO Kyle Vogt.”www.therobotreport.com  •  Share
Apple Car May Take Commands From Siri Like An iPhone, Updated Autonomous Driving Patent Suggests 
AUTONOMOUS – Is this a breaking invention or a no-brainer. The real difference will be in the way of execution of the interplay of the car and passenger “Point out or say exactly where you want to be dropped off with this Apple patent”www.carscoops.com  •  Share
Apple Hopes to Solve Motion Sickness In Self-Driving Cars Using Virtual Reality
AUTONOMOUS – More Apple patents on autonomous driving this week. Coincidence? “Motion sickness in a car is something many deal with through medication, but a recently granted Apple patent might have a solution through virtual reality.”www.motortrend.com  •  Share
Prepare for smart robot revolution
ROBOTICS – These kind of statistics are always more a trend than a guaranteed reality, but it seems our life will change…. “The analyst firm forecast that by 2030, 80% of humans will engage with smart robots on a daily basis, due to smart robot advancements in intelligence, social interactions and human augmentation capabilities, a figure up from less than 10% today.”www.computerweekly.com  •  Share
A visit to the human factory 
ROBOTICS – The continuing quest for shaping humans for real… “Engineered Arts in the UK is a small company, but it makes the world’s uncanniest robots: machines with realistic facial expressions that make you wonder what it means it be human. Its latest model, Ameca, provokes fear and excitement in equal measure, but why build robots that ape humans in the first place?”www.theverge.com  •  Share
Virtual reality ‘answering machine’ records the real world while you’re in VR 
META – Great to know you won’t miss anything immersing out of reality… “People using virtual reality at work could use a new system to capture what happens around them and play back a 3D reconstruction later”www.newscientist.com  •  Share
FTX’s Steph Curry Ad Is the First Honest Celebrity Crypto Commercial 
CRYPTO – Politics blurring lines. “The sector’s rise has minted a generation of overnight millionaires and billionaires, some of whom have political ambitions. As the Washington Post recently reported, crypto investors and executives are pouring millions of dollars into the upcoming midterm elections, seeking to help elect candidates who will support the industry’s preferred regulations.”www.wired.com  •  Share
How to build neighborhoods we actually like
CITIES – As we are working on a community hub for Cities of Things this triggered. “Where you live has more of an impact on your physical, emotional, and mental health than you think.”www.freethink.com  •  Share
Radar trends to watch: May 2022 
INTELLIGENCE – as always fine overview of trends of past month by O’Reilly. With a different meaning of FOMO (Faster Objects, More Objects), and other intriguing abbreviations like LAION (Large Scale Artificial Intelligence Open Network), STEGO etc. www.oreilly.com  •  Share

Paper for this week

One of the sessions at ThingsCon will dive into “Animistic Design”. Looking into possible speakers this paper was suggested: Robotic Improvisers: Rule-Based Improvisation and Emergent Behaviour in HRI

A super interesting topic again. “A key challenge in human-robot interaction (HRI) design is to create and sustain engaging social interactions. This paper argues that improvisational techniques from the performing arts can address this challenge. Contrary to the ways in which improvisation is generally used in social robotics, we propose an understanding of improvisational techniques as based on rules that shape motion choices.”

Alcubilla Troughton, I., Baraka, K., Hindriks, K., & Bleeker, M. (2022, March). Robotic Improvisers: Rule-Based Improvisation and Emergent Behaviour in HRI. In Proceedings of the 2022 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (pp. 561-569).

Find the paper PDF here

This is a repost of the weekly newsletter via Getrevue.

Weeknotes 190; personal digital space

Hi all! Thanks for reading. Last week I had a short time to dive into events and reads and did a high-level overview. This week it is back to the usual routine.

So last week I discussed LaaS concepts and several forms of AI and ways to move into the next era of digital reality; the era of protocols. It can be the focus I have myself or it is really starting to become more of a thing indeed. It slowly is getting out of the realm of investment strategies and becomes a real structural part of developing new services.

At the same time, I started reading the new book of Bridle (finally), on new ways of being, new types of intelligence. His starting premise is that as we are now decoupling intelligence from humans with AI there should be an opening for other forms of nonhuman intelligence. Just started but already interesting. I watched this interview with James that dived further into it.

I also finally visited the exhibition Private_Eye_Butler_Spy. It is a nice overview of the impact of digital tech.

Continue reading Weeknotes 190; personal digital space

Weeknotes 189

Hi all! Happy Kingsday. In case you celebrate this tomorrow located in the Netherlands, it is the first full-fletched Kingsday. Last year we had a kind of evening lockdown as I remember well. So I am curious about what it will be like this year. We ‘practiced’ partying last weekend in the first clubbing night in years. Felt strange but soon normal again.

At the time of writing, I am in a conference place in Brabant to discuss some possible future plans and collaborations in a short design sprint. I am part of the preparing team and moderating what results in this somewhat shorter newsletter.

Last week was a short week with easter et al. With a scattered program of activities. With Kars and others, I discussed the current state of responsible tech developments (looking back and forward at Techsolidarity). It was nice to see the 50% presentation of the Technical Informatics students of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. They are developing the wizard-of-oz platform for citythings further with ‘viewing capabilities’. Demie completed the after movie of the hackathon with the same explorations in citythings. Activities are very well connected there now, and will be even more it seems (later more).

Continue reading Weeknotes 189

Weeknotes 188; little signals and home robotics

Hello all. I hope you had a pleasant Easter time. Here we had an extra day off on Monday dedicated to Easter brunches and enjoying a warm spring day. Biking around Amsterdam Noord, to experience the new developments of Buiksloterham and around, that I can see from home on the other side of the river IJ. It is changing fast. It left a bit less time than usual to go through the captured news items…

Last week was quite a regular mix of planning and updating on the field labs, and sitting with students to check their progress. Like the technical informatics student team (University from Applied Sciences Amsterdam) working on a project to dive into interactions with vocal things based on applied AI. Work on the organizing for ThingsCon too.

Continue reading Weeknotes 188; little signals and home robotics

Weeknotes 187; computing plants

Hello all. Thanks for reading. We are looking back on another impactful week, especially with all the global developments. One of the important things is not to normalize the war. Just because of the horrible consequences every day, but also because it is impacting our current and future lives. In the monthly update newsletter, I wrote for Cities of Things I relate the developments to the direct consequences for the balance of agency between humans and tech.

The presentation by James Bridle at Strp Festival was a very relevant project in this context. It was great as ever. The artifacts in the gallery were a bit hard to grasp without the presentation so I was lucky to be able to experience that. Bridle’s latest project Serverfarm is very inspiring.

In a smaller context, the hackathon that we organized within the program of CityLab010 project together with Creating010 (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences) touched upon the social design role of autonomous objects in the city. Check the post here.

Other activities last week were the graduation ceremony of Lisa Stevens who designed (and researched) a tool for youngsters to be more aware of their pensions in the future, building upon the notion of predictive knowledge. Congrats also here to Lisa for finishing the project.

Continue reading Weeknotes 187; computing plants