Weeknotes 114; on future, AI, Amazon. And robots.

Hi all. A couple of weeks’ silence in the weekly updates. I was on vacation as mentioned and last week was the first week back. Right on Monday, we did a session with the team of ThingsCon at NGI Policy Summit to discuss our learnings from 6 years of building a community and organizing events around the critical making of IoT. It was a nice discussion but we found it hard to get into a real discussion with the participants; the Hopin-platform creates a kind of distance between the panelists and the audience I think. A good learning (read also the latest newsletter of Peter Bihr).

Tuesday was dedicated to two graduation ceremonies of students at TU Delft I supervised. Congrats Siddharth and Xueyao! I will update the website of Cities of Things later with some insights.

Also nice to meet the two teams of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences who are going to look into the design of things that predict.

On Thursday Friday I was able to follow a couple of sessions at The Next Web conference, also online this year of course. I liked the talk by Ben Hammersley and Genevieve Bell. Also here Hopin was used, it is a kind of standard tool now. It offers the basics quite well but I am not convinced of the engaging part. It is one of the discussion topics we have with the ThingsCon team in planning our December event. Nice to find all the ideas!

And I picked up the news again. Technews that is, related to the topics I focus on mainly. It is hard not to be distracted by all the dark world news floating around of course…

On the future. AI. Connected. Amazon.

The first five minutes of the future | by Institute For The Future

Always into new tools for future thinking. But can you gamify the future?

“The First Five Minutes of the Future is a new future forecasting game developed by Institute for the Future’s Director of Game Research and Development, Jane McGonigal.”

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Alone together: the past 20 years of remote connections

There are a couple of archetype IoT devices. The nearing-machines are one of the most popular. Nice overview by Alex.

Google says the Pixel’s Soli radar and Motion Sense will return

Lidar, Soli, every company chooses position in the context-extraction game….

The Observer Effect – Daniel Ek

This a huge read (is this already a qualification?) promising interesting insight from the founder of Spotify.

State of AI Report 2020

Are you into slide desks with more than 100 slides full of datapoints and a couple of suggestions on what happens next? This “The State of AI Report” might be just the right thing for you!

Amsterdam and Helsinki launch algorithm registries to bring transparency to public deployments of AI

It is interesting to have municipalities take a lead role in providing a certain transparency of AI. Amsterdam and Helsinki last week launched AI registries to detail how each city uses algorithms to deliver services.


Amazon introduces the Amazon One, a way to pay with your palm when entering stores

In the middle of a pandemic when customers are often wearing plastic gloves to stores alongside their face masks, Amazon’s physical retail team is introducing a new bio-metric device that will allow shoppers to pay at Amazon Go stores using their palm. 

Paypalm… sorry… 

Here’s the Tech Taking Over Your Home

Of course, a lot of tweets and articles about this another proof of Amazon’s tech utopian not sensible thinking on tech in our life. Or is it just a talking piece to overtake attention.

More robots

These Robots Use AI to Learn How to Clean Your House

Why this is interesting? Robots are still often programmed with fixed tasks, or are intelligent in adapting to a situation. Learning to build strategies to define what services to provide are a logical follow-up.

Engineers link brains to computers using 3D printed implants – Latest – News

A further step towards embedded tech bodies.

What is your attitude towards a humanoid robot? Your brain activity can tell us!

So your brain activity is indicating how you respond to an humanoid robot. Combine this with the fact that we will get these connectors implanted in our brain and the first telepathic robot is there. “Researchers at IIT-Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Italy found that people’s bias towards robots, that is, attributing them intentionality or considering them as ‘mindless things’, can be correlated with distinct brain activity patterns.”

Curly the Curling Robot Can Beat the Pros at Their Own Game

The world will never be the same anymore with this AI-powered curling robot.

Apple imagines a foldable iPhone with a ‘self-healing’ display

The hype continues. But would be interesting if materials will get a more dynamic character I think.

It ain’t broken until it is broken

The Fresh Smell of ransomed coffee – Avast Threat Labs

Ransomware in your coffee machine. How much life threatening data is there in your coffee machine?

Don’t Blame Social Media. Blame Capitalism.

I still have to watch The Social Dilemma, wrote a couple of reviews though and are a bit reluctant to watch. But on the other hand, best way to judge is to watch.

This angle in the article sounds plausible to me. Don’t look at the tools but the drivers that define the usage. 

Understanding social resistance to determine the future of Internet of Things (IoT) services: Behaviour & Information Technology: Vol 0, No 0

An interesting premise: use the resistance of users to new technology to predict the future of IoT.

Covid-19 Is Not The ‘Death Of The City’ – It’s The Rise Of The Neighborhood Center

True. See if it is a lasting shift. “Transportation systems are often designed for peak commuters going downtown, which has plummeted since the pandemic. To not only recover but emerge improved, cities must invest in a travel pattern long neglected: the neighborhood trip.”

That was it for this week. Looking forward to the next! Stay healthy!

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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