Weeknotes 116; on technology assistants, ambient reassurance

My planning was a bit messed up, whole of Monday in sessions, meetings, and transit. So a bit delayed.

Dutch Design Week has started. The program is smaller and only online of course, but still, they managed to make me confused about what is happening when and where. I hope that is on purpose. On Monday I visited my first hybrid event, CLICKNL Drive. And I missed another, Upclose & Personal by Design United. Both tips for the rest of the week, every day another theme.

CLICKNL Drive was well produced, as these days events are happening: it is more of a TV-show than an event. I liked how the people in the room and the people at home blended in, also the speakers were mixed online and on location. The topic of the Monday session was mobility. Good discussion in the second part on the real issues to discuss: what is the end goal of mobility solutions: the best for individual travelers or start with aiming for a just society. I feel a lot like the latter.

Next to the DDW events, I might have a look at a conference called Curbivore on a new framing; curb commerce. Wondering if this is a typical US phenomenon.

We also discuss Trust by Design in ThingsCon Miro-session on Thursday. And we announce our annual event program and have opened registration: Good Things Fest, 7-11 December!

Some interesting news items last week on AI, our relation to technology assistants, and ambient reassurance, and there was an Apple event.

Autonomous assistants

Robots Save Us Time — But Do They Make Us Happier?

Spoiled by click-bait titles you would expect that the answer is no. But that is not the case:“In recent research conducted with over 5,000 respondents worldwide, our team found that consumers who owned autonomous products did in fact report greater happiness and less stress than those who did not

”Two interesting caveats, both related to guilty feelings: the autonomous products should not be too human-like, and the autonomous products should not make you look a lazy person.

Song stuck in your head? Just hum to search

This is a sharing magnet news item. The idea is not new but Googles promise to deliver is plausible with their reputation. You might think if this is what is what Google gives us back after years of listening in to us… Or in other words, what does this signal about the capabilities of Google to listen in your life through pockets, conversations in other rooms. Food for conspiracy thinkers…

AI Product Management After Deployment

hat is an interesting new role indeed: The AI Product Manager….

“The AI product manager’s job isn’t over when the product is released. PMs need to remain engaged after deployment.”

Narrow Band Digital Personal Assistants

Nice overview by Ton Zijlstra on difference between AI assistants maturity levels and consequences for aiming for narrow band assistants.

Mobility as a platform

Lime unveils MaaS platform to expand micromobilty access

Makes sense; mobility vehicles as a service providers move into mobility as a service.

Ree – next generation EV platform

Seeing this I have to think about the graduation project of Sen Lin, who designed an open design system based on standard av-platforms (ao)

Living a life with distant connections

Ambient Reassurance

Good framing of a missing link in remote working: “Ambient reassurance is the experience of small, unplanned moments of interaction with colleagues that provide reassurance that you’re on the right track. They provide encouragement and they help us to maintain self-belief in those moments where we are liable to lapse into unproductive self-doubt or imposter syndrome.”

HomePod mini

I am telling nothing new that the main comments on the introduction event of the new iPhones focus on the missing features (as usually last years, consequence of peek mobile phone).

En passant the HomePod speaker is sort of revived with the introduction of the mini, and especially some extra functions to try to make a collective device that is in your home be used as a personalized device with voice and nearness recognition, and adding someone to one in-house communication functions. The intercom is maybe one of the more interesting visions. For those who missed the SciFi series Years and Years: a continuous open communication space with peers could be a plausible future (and bring some ambient reassurance).

Room-Temperature Superconductivity Achieved for the First Time

Promising: “Physicists have reached a long-sought goal. The catch is that their room-temperature superconductor requires crushing pressures to keep from falling apart.”

If you have time left

Hopeful and Powerless? Design in a Crisis

I did not have time yet to go through the whole of the presentation, but I know Stephen Anderson from years of interesting thinking on interaction design so worthwhile to check out soon.

Kim Stanley Robinson on inventing plausible utopias

I have already too many books on the shelf to start and finish, but this one sounds also like super interesting…

“The Ministry for the Future—its sprawling future history, its rigorous picture of institutional change, its structure of feeling, its cascading collisions of big ideas—but what resonates most deeply is that this is a book about and for practical, determined people working to make a messy, complicated world better.”

Have a nice week!

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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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