Weeknotes 175; web3 critiques

Welcome to the new week! Now 2022 has started for real. Still, some prediction blogs are dropping but most have been published and we can start monitoring the expectations for web3 and other big stories. And we can say that Wordle has officially become hype overnight with a media frenzy about monetizing on other ideas. Nothing new but it was very quick.

These are not the typical topics I like to focus on in this newsletter though. I try to keep the focus on the phygital (I don’t know about this term), intelligence, post-human societies, and robotics.

Continue reading Weeknotes 175; web3 critiques

Weeknotes 174; robotics as consumer electronics

Hi all! If you are just returning from a holiday break, welcome back! As announced last week, the publishing moment for this newsletter will be Tuesday at 7 am from now on as I am pretty sure I will be able to make that every week. The contents of this newsletter, including a new item at the end: paper of the week

  • Updates from last week
  • Plans for this week
  • Noticed news from last week
  • Paper of the week

Updates from last week

Slow and quiet week to start in the new year. I noticed a lot of people are in vacation mode still. I used the week to look a bit ahead to the year, writing a first draft manifesto for Cities of Things and a plan for quarterly events. More on that soon I hope. I also visited the Amsterdam Light Festival and I think it was even busier than in times without lockdowns. Or it seems so. It is a reprise edition so most of the pieces I had seen before, but still a good occasion for a 7 km walk through the city. Magere Brug and Darth Fisher are the highlights for me I think.

We completed also the after movie of ThingsCon 2021 which gives a good impression of the very nice event. We start planning our next event soon and maybe set a date. You can subscribe to our newsletter to keep updated specifically.

Plans for this week

More meetings this week. Some in-person even planned. The field lab projects of Cities of Things are progressing.

As mentioned last week, I plan to attend parts of Micromobility World 2022 as it is an online event again, taking place here in the evening due to time zones. Friday TU Delft will have its yearly Dies Natalis. This year a lot of buzz was initiated by some old alumni for the wrong reasons (imho). Not going into the details, if you find it interesting you can read this overview.

To plan for next week: Sensemakers on Web3.

Noticed news of last week

Let’s make a selection of CES-related news, I add a few introductions that go beyond the gadget phase. Even without some big players’ live present, there was quite some news. Some I shared already last week as it was announced before.

Continue reading Weeknotes 174; robotics as consumer electronics

2022; groundhog iterations into the new year

Traditions. Looking ahead into the new year. It is a fine tradition I think. Not to pretend to be able to make predictions all right, it is not a competition, but set your mind in another mode.
Last year I did more than ever forecasts on developments in mobility and energy, autonomous systems, and mailboxes, all furthermore in the future, like 2030, 2040, or 2050 even. Doing these is always arbitrary too. You try to spot bigger developments and weak signals as the innovations for the next 20 years started today, and the future is a continuum, meaning that a future state is a framing of a moment on a future time.

It is also said before: some of the consequences of turning society into a virus defense mode is like a speeding up of longer predicted changes like e-commerce, homework, video calling replacing normal call, and more. But other developments were frustrated; the mobility hubs with social communicating are setback with everyone working from home.

So what to say about 2021 2022? Let me first set a frame; I am focusing on our relationship with intelligent and autonomous operating technology. The Cities of Things Lab that we have been building and will continue to bring into practice with a field lab is the context of the explorations. Nevertheless, I like to keep a broad spectrum to watch, as everything is connected, and the weak signals can be found in all kinds of changes.

Continue reading 2022; groundhog iterations into the new year

Weeknotes 173; a new year

Happy new year! Thanks for being a reader this year again. I hope I will be able to serve you inspiration and useful links again this year via this newsletter (thanks Stacey for the nice words on Twitter!). I am always thinking about the format of this newsletter. Balancing between a personal update on my activities and the impressions of the news. I think the latter is the most important for you readers, but some context is nice too I reckon, as it is a personal newsletter after all :-) 

Personal updates

Sharing my calendar of events and reporting on the ones I visited will remain an important part. Adding personal reflections to the articles and reasoning why it is interesting to share is something I think is important.

These updates remain also a source for my Monthly reflections on the Cities of Things that I post in a separate newsletter (thanks Peet for the nice words on Linkedin!). One of my work-related new year’s resolutions is to establish a manifesto(-like) document for the Cities of Things (collection of objects make intelligence, relations over nodes, sharing goals, value power of non-human contributions, to name some top-of-mind). Will feed back into this newsletter too.

So let’s dive into the new year together, and as a slight change of formatting: let me use some headings for different parts (adding ‘personal updates’ now).

Continue reading Weeknotes 173; a new year

Weeknotes 172; predictive systems

Happy holiday break! At least, that is it for me. So this week I skip a full newsletter but I share the articles I captured during the week roughly. Normally I use my Sunday evening and Monday to go through the newsletters and RSS feeds of last week, but I respect my holidays… I finished a planned-to-be-Monthly update though for Cities of Things. It feels it can use some more work but I share it as a moment of refecting; the Web3-ownership model deserves fleshing out more; we had some first thought exchange at General Seminar of last week on stewardship vs ownership vs responsibility. I might update the post later ;-)

For now let me wish you a great year-ending although we are still in a lockdown here, so no big parties and no fireworks… See you in 2022!

10 – predictive systems shaping an ownership economy
“In this reflective blog I like to dive into one of the fundamental concepts of Cities of Things that is touched upon in several posts but deserve a specific fleshing out I think; the active and initiating role of the bottom-up based network of objects that builds a Cities of Things, what makes a Cities of Things stand out other smart city concepts.”
The Web3 Renaissance: A Golden Age for Content – by Li Jin
Good overview of the shift Web3 is all about, and a starting point for reflection.
‘Starting to freak us out’: Robot’s realistic response stuns engineers – NZ Herald
“Engineers behind a new Ameca robot have admitted its realism was ‘freaky’” It is by design I would say…
Mobileye Launches Pilot For Autonomous, On-Demand Car Service In Paris
“Riders will be able to use the service through Moovit, the Israeli smart transit data company Intel bought last year.”

Back with full edition next week!

Weeknotes 171; simulations of life

Hi all! The year is almost ending. Christmas is around the corner for those who celebrate that (or just visit family etc), here in the Netherlands we are again in a lockdown for a brace for the impact of Omicron as we are still not fully recovered from the last waves… It is a pity. Reading the news and zooming in on Teams does not change that much, but it is definitely not energizing. Let’s make the best of it…

Last week -on that note- we celebrate a belated ‘Sinterklaas’ or early Xmas gifting party with INFO colleagues on a distance. Next to buying the right gifts and making a nice poem, as one does in this tradition, getting the gifts on time at the houses through the post was an extra challenge. It was good fun, as good as it can get!

Furthermore, we discussed plans for the CityLab010 project together with Rotterdam UAS. Preparing the first prototypes, planning student projects, and the kick-off. Did I mention here before that this project was selected? Very nice and looking forward to starting!

We also discussed a bit on the field lab MUC AMS’s next steps. Planning meetings in-person is getting harder again, hope the lockdowns will be released in a couple of months at least.

In this last week before the holiday break we meet with the two master graduation students to update on their projects -one on designing safe routes in a surveilled city space, and one on predictive knowledge for pension planning- and we have a session for the public-private partnership research project of Waag on the design layer in the public stack. On Wednesday I will join the General Seminar session on the topic “Web3 WTF!?”.

I did not see anything else to put on the event calendar in this first lockdown week. In the news last week another mix of topics on robots, autonomy, transformations, and the first trend reports for 2022 start dropping.

Continue reading Weeknotes 171; simulations of life

Weeknotes 170; learning from robots

Happy Tuesday (yes a slight delayed). Thanks for subscribing!

Last week was for an important part dedicated to ThingsCon preparations. The student competition was as big as last year and the evening program was an experiment to organize in a different tool than the usual Zoom or Big Bleu Button. SpatialChat worked rather well for shaping an environment that did not feel like the usual online space, you can really wander around and meet people, have a chat in one corner etc. Also, the presentations of the student projects in a Spatial exhibition worked very well. The staging environment can use some more interaction, but it also worked pretty well. So happy to have made the decision to organize even without the in-person program we were looking forward to so much… Hopefully we can do that again next year in an edition just before summer.

I expect/hope we will have an after-movie ready next week, or before the Christmas break at the latest.

We are running towards the end of the year, so I don’t think there are a lot of events or meetups to visit. I just ran into a short session organized by David ‘New World Same Human’ Mattin, reflecting on the trends of the coming year I think. It is that time of year, see also the first article below.

That is the one thing I ran into, maybe I should check some of the talks that are still in my ‘watch later youtube list, like Neil Stephenson, a documentary on the first smartphoneMorozovRethinking HumanityWiny Maas

Or just read all the articles of last week. Via Revue.

Weeknotes 169; meta deep dive

Hi all. Welcome to this week’s update. This is a short one and a bit delayed; I have had some ‘extra’ meetings on Monday and no time to reschedule the writing… Next week I promise to do a complete edition again!

Organizing a conference is always a lot of work. ThingsCon 2021 is a smaller edition than usual in time, and fully online, but it does not make it less work. Especially as we have a great program of course. And the student competition is just like other years; 20 projects entered from different places and countries. And we have chosen to use a new tool that possibly will deliver a different type of online event: SpatialChat. Setting this up including a student exhibition is nice to explore. Feel warmly invited to register to join! The exhibition opens at 14:00 CET, the speaker’s program start 17:30. Thanks to CLICKNL participation is free.

So I leave the look back, for now, will cover it next week. But I did save some interesting articles from last week for myself to read, so let me share these with you too! See you next week!

Read the news via Revue.

Weeknotes 168; some fundamentals

Thanks for subscribing, welcome to the newsletter of 29 November, edition 168 already! Sometimes I wonder about the first one. The first one in this series was on 15 June 2015 I see. Just with links. “Tech is disappearing” is the opening. And links are already about AI and ethics and devices.

The first time I made a monthly trend report as an internal document at INFO was in 2001 (26 January to be precise) I just found out. Forgot about that. These days everything was about making websites. The trends looked already further; the themes I defined were “Services via Internet”, “Peer-to-peer”, “Smart products”, “Information overload”, “Mobile Internet”, “Security and Governance”, and “Personalized”. The growth towards broadband Internet was still a thing. To quote my own writing from 2 decades ago about smart products (Deepl translated from Dutch):

The cleverness is not in a screen on your refrigerator for browsing, but rather in a hot air/microwave oven that can quickly or perfectly bake a meal according to personal needs. Albert Heijn can put the perfect settings for the oven online in addition to the special turbo chef meals. And if it is now linked to the Internet, you can, with linking your profile and the meal code, cook in a really relaxed way if you don’t feel like bringing up your culinary skills. The development of other devices that use the Internet is reinforced by the saturated market of personal computers in the US.”

Ok. Back to our times. Still wondering about the future of smart products or connected products. ThingsCon started in 2014 and end of next week 10 December the 8th edition of the conference organized by the Dutch team will take place. Just like last year only in an online format and rather compact, but I think still a nice thing to join. Check the program here.

This week you can check the yearly NGI Policy Summit; theme “Redistribute the internet”. Last year we did a little interactive session with the ThingsCon team and this year it is spread over three days with some promising sessions. Check the program here.

Other events this week worth mentioning: The Hmm; I still haven’t been able to visit an event from start to finish, maybe this week. I am always curious and confused at the same time by their communication tbh. It is parallel though with General Seminar.

Last I missed the evening events myself; the promise of being able to watch later makes it too easy to skip… And too busy with other activities (ThingsConCities of Things field labs, a research project with Waag, discussing new proposals and corporations).

Let’s dive into the news of last week… (via Revue)

Weeknotes 167; new relations

Welcome to the new week! Thanks for subscribing and reading. A short look back to last week and look ahead to what to expect and do this week.

To start with the latter. We are on the verge of a new covid-lockdown in the Netherlands, so online conferences and events are becoming the default again. We also had to decide this for ThingsCon (10 December) last week; the in-person workshops and audience is hard to organize now and might be even harder beginning of December. We cannot take that risk, so we decided to focus on a short online program and hope for a full conference in spring. Be sure to join us for the online program, I expect it will be great though! Don’t forget to register!

This week you can join also Iterations, a conference on creative coding if you are into that. Also another AiTech Agora on Wednesday on aligning human norms and AI. In Pakhuis De Zwijger you can join Tegenlicht Live (in Dutch) on sun-powered cars. Tuesday London IOT can be followed live too.

So far for the coming week. Last week I had to miss most of the workshop DEI4EAI I mentioned last week. It was good to talk one on one with a lot of potential German partners for the Munich Amsterdam field lab initiative.

I also published a monthly update of the Cities of Things Newsletter on embodied reality with (or thru) citythings.

What else was interesting to read last week? The right to repair reached Apple with all the second agendas a principle good thing. And some interesting thoughts and reads on the relation with tech and the consequences for interactions and the making (Via Revue).