Weeknotes 136; soft robotics

Last week was less packed with events than the week(s) before, so the focus was on meetings with students, planning for the field lab Cities of Things and beyond, and preparing for some workshops in the future.

One of them is the workshop we organize for the Media Architecture Biennale 29th of June (MAB20). As it is practice for academic workshops, we ask participants to submit a short position paper on the topic. We made a website with all of the information: subvercity.org. The subject of the workshop is ‘Subversive Citizen Manual for the More-Than-Human City’, and we will “explore the design space of contestation within the more-than-human city, employing thing-centered-design techniques to envision a set of subversive strategies creating a manual of subversive strategies to disengage or mingle with artificial agents in the smart city”. Check it out!

Speaking of MAB20, one small event I attended last week was the inaugural lecture of Martijn de Waal, who is now officially a professor at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. He repositioned the research group towards Civic Interaction Design (and also one of the organizers of MAB20). As expected, he did a great job in positioning the domain. Civic in a networked society, helping citizens to shape the future of their cities. Where civil society is influenced by networked individualization, the markets become platforms and government changes to liberalization. From dutified citizenship to intrinsic motivation (cooperations), social organizations, urban commons. His central question: How can citizens, institutions, and companies collaboratively shape society to address the needs of citizens & matters of public concern and contribute to societal missions? Definitely recommended to watch the whole lecture if you are into this subject.

For the rest, I missed more than I experienced as things go. I did attend the final session of the CityLAB Berlin smart city symposium. I listened to some sharp moderators of sessions stressing the need for learning cities by the value creation in the city ecosystem and looking to other cities that have been there earlier. The worst outcome for smart cities is a standardized way. And start seeing smart cities as communities first and cities as regional actors. Maybe I can find some time to watch back some of the sessions sometime ;-)

I had a nice discussion session as part of a focus group session in the research on autonomous driving and the perception and societal aspects organized by Maria Luce Lupetti of TU Delft. Curious to hear the conclusions combined with the questionnaire.

Let’s dive into the news captured from last week: soft and helpful robotics, bigger and smaller stories…

Find links on capturing soft robots, robot helpers, humanoids, and the bigger stories via this week’s edition of my weekly newsletter.

This week I do not have a lot on the agenda for public events. I watched the presentation of the NGI Forward session this morning on Explainable AI. Beatrice Fazi was introducing the philosophical concepts of her paper (Beyond human: deep learning, explainability and representation) that I definitely will read later. It is quite hard to summarise I think ;)

At INFO this Wednesday a livecast is organized on the innovation cases of Just Eat Takeaway and GROWx, in Dutch. In the evening of The Hmm will do a tour on alternative platforms. Alternative to a broken internet as they say.

I mentioned earlier we will do a masterclass at IoT Rotterdam next week (9 April). It is already fully booked I think, so in case you did not submit, check the other activities that whole week!

Next Monday will be easter and I am not sure I will be able to compose the newsletter, maybe on Tuesday instead. Enjoy the long weekend!

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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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