Weeknotes 118

November has started. An even more exciting Month than usual with the special happening in the US, of course. I’m not going to speculate on the outcomes and aftermaths as there are other channels for that. I can say that I am not expecting a smooth transition, and hopefully, the culmination of dividing forces will not come to a dramatic clash…

That said, let’s have a quick look back at last week. I did not visit many public events that deserve reporting. The digital twin webinar of Digital Society School was interesting; however, technical hick-ups made me miss most of it. I will try to look back later. The program is rather relevant.

I gave a masterclass new interfaces for a course Media Perspectives is organizing, and it was moved to digital space at the last notice, which changed the dynamics, of course, a lot. But with the use of Miro and a quite straightforward workshop we there was good energy and discussions. The workshop’s set-up in three rounds in break-out groups, with the groups building on each-others work, proved an excellent energizer again.

Let me mention ThingsCon preparations again. We are shaping the program more and more, and we are really looking forward to the different activities. We also filled in the Friday program a bit more. Check out the page if you didn’t before, and don’t wait too long register. For the logistics of planning workshops and sending special badges, we set the final day for registration on November 15. Spread the word!

Let’s dive into some of the interesting non-political related news.

Like robots…

Disney robot with human-like gaze is equal parts uncanny and horrifying

Disney robot with human-like gaze is equal parts uncanny and horrifying

Both impressive in lifelike human behavior as creepy as it is shaped now. Disney seems to plan to create some next level horror movies :)

Spot on: Alliance to combine robots and GNSS tech for construction

I should keep a special collection for the proposed applications of Boston Dynamics Spot robot ‘dog’. We used to have dogs as working force before they became part of our families. Is that the future of spot (and its successors)?

Boston Dynamics’ Robots Won’t Take Our Jobs … Yet

Is that the right question? Better: how will these robots influence our jobs…

Spot the robot dog used by NYPD at crime scene

More new uses proposed for Spot. 

The Robot Ships Are Coming … Eventually

Yes and might be easier and quicker than the AVs on the road.

Teaching robots through positive reinforcement

“There likely isn’t a robotics teacher institute in the world actively pursuing robotic learning.

”Might be true, however, I directly have to think about the project by Automata to open a workshop for smart products to learn the basic behaviors.

If a Robot Is Conscious, Is It OK to Turn It Off? The Moral Implications of Building True AIs

“As real artificial intelligence technology advances toward Hollywood’s imagined versions, the question of moral standing grows more important.

”I’m not sure if this is indeed already as near as pretended; I am always a bit skeptical if it is introduced on this website. Still, the question remains very relevant. Also: will there be a phase that the consciousness is not one of the machine but a mirror of your own and that of others interacting.

And related…

The Self-Driving Car Is a Red Herring

The Self-Driving Car Is a Red Herring

An interesting thinking exploration on the role of self-driving autonomous and specifically individual pods in times of Covid. Is this triggering new types of mobility? Is this indeed realistic and preferable compared to other forms of individualised transport like good old bikes. It triggers lots of questions but the shifting impact on our (or better that of the US) mobility system is an consideration.

From beekeepers to ocean mappers, Lobe aims to make it easy for anyone to train machine learning models

Microsoft introduces a new tool for wysiwyg machine learning modelling. Apart from being an interesting tool it show more in general where the focus of the interactions with the new machines lays: the modelling.

Interconnected: Sustainability on the Agenda

“Michael Oghia is one of the leading voices getting sustainability on the agenda of Internet governance and digital rights communities. He encourages us to see the interconnectedness of environmental sustainability, human rights, and climate change—which are all inextricably linked to the Internet”

And some IoT..

Internet of Things is at a crossroads, who can manage the hybrid society?

I like these three trends Rob is sketching. He has a point… 

Arduino makes Internet of Things simple with launch of new Oplà IoT Kit

Arduino makes Internet of Things simple with launch of new Oplà IoT Kit

Arduino is the good old prototyping platform for sensing things and actuators. Now a new version is platformized.

'ESUB tracks' is a smart bicycle helmet with added electronic safety features

‘ESUB tracks’ is a smart bicycle helmet with added electronic safety features

Interesting about this experimental project is not all the functions added to the helmet, but more the way it is build upon a printed photovoltaics wrapping. As Kevin Kelly once predicted: every surface will become a screen. Maybe we should rephrase this to: every surface will become an energy harvesting plant.


Corona Detective - Find out who gave you COVID19

Corona Detective – Find out who gave you COVID19

Tijmen did it again; greating a near real product that functions critical design unlocking conversations: “Are contact tracing apps perfectly anonymous? No. With Corona Detective you can find out who around you gets COVID19.”

A love letter to the Internet of old

A love letter to the Internet of old

🌍 A web-collage of text and images excavated from the buried neighbourhoods of GeoCities.

That completes the news round up. This week I will dedicate my time to a mixture of proposal writing and ThingsCon shaping. I was still in doubt if I want to follow some of the PHTR (Philosophy of Human-Technology Relations) conference organized by UTwente. Registration is closed, so that is an easy decision. Will keep track on Twitter ;-)

Good luck this turning 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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