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).

Weeknotes 166; web3 or metaverse?

Hi all. Welcome to this weekly update. The update on weekly activities can be short as I was off a couple of days last week. I did visit Eindhoven for Glow which was a nice experience. Less crowded or at least less mass experience without a fixed route. I never had to show my QR-code that many times before. The quality of the works differed as always, some were quite nice, others mwah. Let me share one: Drop of Light by Gijs van Bon. He combined lasers and falling water beams in perfect harmony to create flying diamonds. The nice part next to the stunning visual effects was that it was operated live in a nice co-performance of technology and human.

COP26 was a big thing last week of course. And not for nothing, the importance is clear. The results were weak according to a lot. Signals of change might be there, but is it enough on time? Are we still making a world that caters to human life (scroll to the end for a possible answer)?

And then we had the new covid-measures announced. I was happy to be at Glow on time. We will announce soon what measures will have an impact on ThingsCon Boutique of Salons, but we will change plans as we cannot count on the ending of these measures on the 4th of December. Keep an eye on the newsletter of the website this week!

What else to do this week? I saw some nice tweets pass by from IAM Weekend in Barcelona. I might check out their online program that runs thru Thursday. I think I mentioned the DEI4EAI workshop last week I think. On Thursday ICAI is organizing AI & Mobility in NL and an online lunch session.

Ok, let’s dive into the news of last week (via Revue).

Weeknotes 165; hot robot collabs

Thanks for subscribing! Let me share with you another short update and interesting news bits of last week.

First: we just opened the registration for ThingsCon 2021 officially today (I announced last week already). With all the changes in Covid-19 rulings it is not easy to organize an in-person event and it is still not sure what the latest rulings will be. So it will be flexible; I hope we can do the in-person workshops like we planned them, otherwise we change to fully online…

Check the latest on the program and registration at our website.

Next to finalising this last week was a week with planning activities, discussing field lab project, student meetings, etc. I did not attend any events or watched products announcements like the week before. I did visit the freshly opened Depot museum though. Officially not primarily a museum of course, but a art depot made public. You could think about scenarios where this will be part of a kind of metaverse experience too but I can say you will miss a lot of experience of the building. 

This week I will be a couple of days off but will check out Glow in Eindhoven. It is a kind of tradition to do this although it is getting busier and busier. Last year it was cancelled of course so curious to see the turn out this year…

Checking some agendas I see you can attend a session on the digi-mens at De Zwijger in Amsterdam, linked to Tegenlicht tv doc last evening. I need to rewatch that. It seems to focus on the possibilities to create a human face representation to interface with robots or VR-avatars. I am not so sure about this approach; let the robots be robots :)

On Thursday IAM Weekend will start both in-person in Barcelona as online.If you are into proposing workshops, know that the MozFest deadline is extended to this weekend. Mozfest will take place in Amsterdam and online next year in March. Key theme is trustworthy AI, very relevant.

Ok, let’s dive into some interesting news articles of last week (via Revue).

Weeknotes 164 – a meta week

Welcome in November! The end years rush has started for my feeling. Maybe extra the case as you organise a conference in December every year :) Check out the latest news on ThingsCon 2021 on our website. Will be updated with more content and new style later this week but I give you a sneak peek! And registration is open.

We tested last week the setup for the first time. Having an hybrid event with three separate locations and without budget for big TV-like production; I think it will be very nice!

Last week I was asked to join a team that organizes a workshop for a client of INFO to contribute with a look into the future and setup the workshop together. Always nice to do, though it messed up the planning a bit. One of the reasons this newsletter is a day too late.

For this week there is not that much on the event-agenda (or it did not find me). But I see Sensemakers has a DIY session this week. And -very nice- this Friday 5 November the third workshop on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in embodied AI is organised on Embodied AI and Race.

Let me point you to two events next week. IAM Internet has moved the conference this year to November and is held both on premise in Barcelona and online. IAM Weekend is held november 11-18. Eday is something I used to attend yearly before Covid to keep in touch of agency life of the Netherlands. This year it is fully online again.

Continue reading Weeknotes 164 – a meta week

Weeknotes 163; an intersection in the metaverse

Thanks for subscribing to the new readers! Let’s start with a quick view of activities in the last week.

As mentioned last week I visited Dutch Design Week, I had not had all the time that you need for a thorough reflection, but it was good to get an impression. It was a less overwhelming edition both in size, number of visitors, and impact of the work. From what I saw, of course, I missed more than I could visit. Good to see so much attention for responsible and sustainable impact, for AI and design. Also after visiting a couple of other exhibitions on Wednesday I think Manifestations had a nice collection again of smaller and bigger questions about the relation of technology and human relations. See the website for an overview of the projects.

I watched the online Upclose & personal show on Tuesday and part of Wednesday. Just like last year a nice mix of conversations and projects. You can still watch it back.

Let’s have a look at this week. After the Apple event last week and announcements of Google with new phones, Facebook will announce its further plans for the metaverse and even have a rebranding (to Meta?) as Google did some years ago (but who is using the Alphabet name?). I heard already some analysis on the why; mainly to free Zuckerberg from the harder questions on responsibility for the impact of his platforms. We’ll see. The metaverse as a concept is also something that keeps been discussed. And not for nothing. The take of Ian Bogost is definitely an interesting one. It is interesting to see if it is approached as a separate world you need to access with all kinds of devices, the VR approach, the digital twin becomes your reality so to say. Or will it much more an ambient computing reality, something Walt Mossberg repeated in a good podcast last week. I am feeling more for that approach too. We move from every thing being connected to connected every…

We cannot forget that Facebook had tricked us into a ubiquitously connected reality at the moment the social icons were introduced; sold as a personalization strategy. Will Meta have the same impact? Will it be meta like they hope and tell, or can it be something that is not to foresee as the social button fabrics were? Is it still possible to do something so ‘hidden impactful’ being such exposed with Facebook so in the spotlights?

Enough about this. Before diving into the captured articles of last week, I can share two events. There might be more, but in that case, they did not manage to find me.

Continue reading Weeknotes 163; an intersection in the metaverse

Weeknotes 162; tech taking initiative

Welcome to this weekly newsletter that is sent at the beginning of every week looking back and forward a week in both activities and news captured.

Last week?

Let’s keep the update of last week short. After returning from Munich (see last week’s newsletter) I need to spend some serious time writing a proposal which we were invited to join. Still busy this week too.

I joined a walking tour of the so-called National Science Agenda Smart & Liveable Cities route meeting and getting updated on the program. And meet some interesting people.

I missed most of O’Reilly Radar on Data & AI. I watched a panel and the opening; did not write down anything so not a good sign :) I am still curious about the keynote of Tim O’Reilly, hope I can watch it somewhere. I did listen in to a webinar of Particle & Microbility with half an ear as we say in Dutch. I liked that they addressed the autonomous last-mile vehicles in relation to new collaborations with technology and predictive knowledge, which is the key of Cities of Things and the research.

And I almost forgot; I published the monthly update on Cities of Things via “the other newsletter”.

What happens this week?

I was invited to join the DRIVE event on mobility during Dutch Design Week in-person yesterday. Which was a nice way to meet people and as you do meet people you only know from the screen in real life finally. In a workshop, we discussed challenges for digital twin datapoints for Eindhoven and I was happy to be able to add the objects as active partners in the discussion, and it was welcomed as a missing angle.

The rest of the week there are more DRIVE sessions you can join online, on health, circularity, food, and safety. Also online, is the series Upclose and Personal from Design United covering some interesting themes. From the same studio in the Effenaar (which is taking the job of being a live-show very seriously). Check it out here. I also visited some other exhibitions and embassies and I liked Manifestations. Did not see everything yet; if you have been to DDW before, it is definitely smaller, but the atmosphere is the same as ever.

Ok, here are some news bites of last week I noticed, mainly on robots and other insights on our relation with initiative-taking-tech.

Continue reading Weeknotes 162; tech taking initiative

Weeknotes 161; learning routines

As ‘predicted’ last week, this newsletter is arriving a day late, due to the obligations on Monday (more below), and a bumpy train ride. Thanks for reading. Let me know if you have any questions or comments!

Typing this in an ICE back from Munich. Monday 11 October was an important moment for Cities of Things Knowledge Hub, the activity I have been setting up the last year and since this summer in a separate foundation. At already beginning of 2020 we were invited to contribute to the renewal of the Creative Embassy Munich-Amsterdam with the establishment of a field lab. We formed the first consortium of interested companies and had two online sessions with both the Dutch and the German interested organizations. We organized a symposium at ThingsCon and MAB20, everything online. Yesterday we were finally able to have a in person event in Munich to sign the letter of intent for the CE and field lab. Referent Clemens Braumgärtner of Munich and Alderman Victor Everhardt of Amsterdam signed the LoT together with representatives of multiple other locations. In a workshop, we discussed the challenges in the Munich context.

The day was very fruitful if only to meet the fellow organizers in person. More reports will follow soon, including an aftermovie. This moment is only the beginning of the field lab forming, starting up projects and collaborations. Let us know if you like to be involved. Keep an eye on the Cities of Thiings website.

And we will not limit it to the Amsterdam creative ecosystem of course.

Preparing for this event including making a presentation and video took a great part of last week. But I had also some time for other projects and follow parts of the Cross Media Cafe 100st edition, Data Transparency in Privacy Space conference by UTente and AMS. Especially the talk of Kars Alfrink on contestability.

Next tot that Lisa kicked off officially her graduation project that I commissioned together with PGGM, research the potential role of predictive knowledge for pension planning of young people.

And I had two good meetings with both Creating010 and Dcode project to organize workshops in the Rotterdam Salon part of this year’s ThingsCon event.

In this week – next to the Munich trip, I will do a walking tour of the smart & liveable city in Rotterdam organized by Waag, and check in with O’Reilly Radar Data & AI on Thursday. I let you know how it was. Tomorrow evening another edition of General Seminar is planned. On Crypto Gaming; a view spot are left at the moment I am typing this. Or you dive into the disruption of urban logistics in this webinar.

Dutch Design Week is also starting this weekend. I will be there on Monday and Wednesday probably next to visiting DRIVE of CLICKNL ao. Have to check what tips, like this one. Also, next week but worth mentioning is the next edition of the workshop on Embodied AI & Ableism.

Some articles from the news of last week. Could only make a quick scan now…

Continue reading Weeknotes 161; learning routines

Weeknotes 160; robots entering our lives

Happy animal day! Is that a worldwide thing? Nevertheless, I do not happen to have any pets to treat especially but I will be more conscious of my vegetarian dinner today :-)This week is a bit busy and overflowing into the Monday writing routine, so I keep this update short and bullets…Last week I…

  • Wrote a proposal Cities of Things
  • Updated on ThingsCon plans (save the date (10 December) mail will follow tomorrow, subscribe here)
  • I joined the lovely General Seminar session of Near Future Laboratory on Synthetic brands
  • Visited a couple of sessions of TNW online
  • Sketched out the model for Knowledge Hub Cities of Things with one of our partners
  • Prepared the presentation for next weeks official launch of field lab Cities of Things AMS MUC
  • Joined the friend and allies kick-off of Mozfest 2022; more news soon.
  • Had the official kick-off of Mohamed’s graduation project

For this week it is nice to share some events that I might visit or at least try partly

I will complete the monthly post on Cities of Things for the newsletter Wednesday at the latest, so be sure to be subscribed to that via Substack.Here are some reads I captured last week, mostly on my own ‘to read’ list, so I share mainly why I selected them.

Continue reading Weeknotes 160; robots entering our lives

Weeknotes 159

End of September entering the last quarter of 2021. Nice to have you all reading the weekly update. To compensate for last week’s late arrival I thought to do an earlier delivery today.

Looking back at last week, next to the usual supervising of students, writing proposals, and working on the field lab, I attended a few presentations. I forgot about NEXT in Hamburg that had a livestream too as part of the new reality of hybrid experiences. I saw a conversation with Francesca Bria on the tech development of Europe compared to US And China. She ended with a catchy statement that I tweeted too: “The dystopia is what we are living now, the preferred future is what we have to build.” There was also a lot of mentioning of the metaverse in other talks what made me add “Hope it is not an escape into the metaverse :)” Not as a joke but with a serious feeling. I believe in the impact of mixing of digital and reality for some time for sure, but the danger is that it is more a marketing term than a concept to reflect on the world.

As I did not plan to view the conference I did not have time to follow other talks with full attention which is a pity and a consequence of tapping in livestreams. From the inaugural talk of Bregje van Eekelen that was at the same day, I like to share one of here premises: “If we are not humans but ecosystems, how does that change design, human-centered design”.

There are some things to explore here.For this week I will try to follow a bit of The Next Web. It will be the first time since their 2nd edition that I will not visit the conference on-premises (not counting last year’s full online edition). There is a hybrid option and both the location as the program do not urge me to spend the registration costs tbh. Still curious enough to watch a couple of talks.

I am curious to experience the General Seminar format from Near Future Laboratory for the first time. Heard good things about it.

Continue reading Weeknotes 159