Weeknotes 120; the automating society

Almost without noticing whole days become zoom-days (aka Whereby, BBB, Teams), slurping time from writing these weeknotes among others…But I don’t complain. I will keep the update itself a bit shorter as I think I saw some interesting articles pass by that I captured in my Instapaper for reviewing for this newsletter.

It was a nice week for building on the ThingsCon annual conference. The program is now really coming together, and I’m happy sessions are getting real shape. See the program page on our website, and especially check the latest edition of a walk and talk session, listen instead of watch the speakers, and emerge the topic of shaping physical audio experiences together with a nice stroll in your own neighborhood… Happy to have experienced podcast maker Sam Warnaars doing the interviews, and we have made a nice list of speakers to invite. We also opened registrations for the workshops on Monday that has a limited capacity, so don’t wait if you are into making!

Speaking of podcasts; we are planning one for ThingsCon too, interviewing the contributors to the RIOT publication. Dries invited me to write a piece with him so we taped a podcast too, published somewhere in the coming months.I also mentioned that I was looking forward to another interesting AiTech Agora lunch presentation, and it was indeed insightful. I did not make notes but luckily the sessions are recorded and accessible for everyone to check via this youtube-channel (although the one of last week is not yet uploaded).

Oh and I did watch the M1 event of Apple, the introduction of their own chip. Was it a milestone or an underwhelming introduction? It was very Apple in how strategic product changes are made. Putting only new chips in an old body stresses the differences, with extended battery life as most significant. And at the same time does not overpromise the shift as a lot of software needs to be changed and changes often are planned gradually. No need to run for the stores now but it is still a disrupting shift. For Intel.

Ok before looking ahead to next week, here is what I captured from the news.

Life in the automated society: How automated decision-making systems became mainstream, and what to do about it
Life in the automated society: How automated decision-making systems became mainstream, and what to do about it
This looks like an interesting report for those interested in the development of man-machine interactions. This is a first level that could be accelerating or stressing developments. “Life in the automated society: How automated decision-making systems became mainstream, and what to do about it”
The smart city—a social city – Estrella Durá Ferrandis and Cristina Helena LagoCities are made by the people, the citizens. That is the belief. But that does not mean that the drivers for development are these too… There is hope though…“For decades urban development has followed the impulses of capital. The right to a home and the right to the city must be won by the citizens.”
Biden expected to spur growth of smart city tech market 
“Under a Biden administration, efforts around smart cities can be expected to accelerate” this researcher claims. Based on his attention for smart infrastructure and healthcare (oops, smart healthcare of course).
Grimes Wants You to Get More Sleep, She Made a Baby A.I. Lullaby
Post-human art…“The artist says her baby, X Æ A-XII, stays up watching “radical art.” So she made him an A.I. lullaby.”
Sensor for smart textiles survives washing machine, cars and hammers
Another step in creating smart textiles that are really usable in day to day life.
Honda’s new Legend will drive itself on busy roads 
“The Japanese government has touted the move as a “world first,” saying that it would make Honda the first carmaker to mass produce and sell the next level of self-driving vehicles.“Next level, that is level 3 on the road to fully autonomous with self agency on a level 5 and the current Tesla system at a level 2.
System brings deep learning to Internet of Things devices
Sounds interesting and a potentional shift: neural deep learning in small devices. Edge AI to the max. Connect this to M1-chip…. just saying….“So Lin developed TinyNAS, a neural architecture search method that creates custom-sized networks.”
Flix | The Flix Programming LanguageSometimes I do not know in what context I captured a link. This looks like an interesting new AI coding language: “Next-generation reliable, safe, concise, and functional-first programming language.”
Fantastical Face Masks
Just for fun. And for catching a situation in time…
Etsy’s Face Mask Honeypot
Speaking of masks, on the list of COVID beneficial companies is Etsy: “Etsy has used surging demand for face masks to accelerate growth for all handmade and vintage goods.” 

The coming week will look a lot like last week. A mix of meeting with students, preparing ThingsCon conference, and also do the third Salon in the series on the Trust Toolkit on Thursday.I might also try to check a session or two from ICSR2020, on social robotics. One of the academic conferences that are easier to attend now in online mode.Enjoy your week!

This newsletter is weekly sent to subscribers via Getrevue.

Published by


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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s