Weeknotes 160; robots entering our lives

Happy animal day! Is that a worldwide thing? Nevertheless, I do not happen to have any pets to treat especially but I will be more conscious of my vegetarian dinner today :-)This week is a bit busy and overflowing into the Monday writing routine, so I keep this update short and bullets…Last week I…

  • Wrote a proposal Cities of Things
  • Updated on ThingsCon plans (save the date (10 December) mail will follow tomorrow, subscribe here)
  • I joined the lovely General Seminar session of Near Future Laboratory on Synthetic brands
  • Visited a couple of sessions of TNW online
  • Sketched out the model for Knowledge Hub Cities of Things with one of our partners
  • Prepared the presentation for next weeks official launch of field lab Cities of Things AMS MUC
  • Joined the friend and allies kick-off of Mozfest 2022; more news soon.
  • Had the official kick-off of Mohamed’s graduation project

For this week it is nice to share some events that I might visit or at least try partly

I will complete the monthly post on Cities of Things for the newsletter Wednesday at the latest, so be sure to be subscribed to that via Substack.Here are some reads I captured last week, mostly on my own ‘to read’ list, so I share mainly why I selected them.

Robots entering our lives

Why Amazon built a home robotLots of news on the newly introduced robot for your home as an extension of your Amazon relation. And having even more connections in the end.Also notice how an interaction pattern is developed for human-robot interactions.

The Open Dynamic Robot Initiative’s 3D printed robot dog can now be remote-controlled“The Open Dynamic Robot Initiative (ODRI) has developed an open-source 3D printed robot that can be controlled remotely over Wi-Fi.”Opens up new possibilities.

How Disney Designed a Robotic Spider-ManAnother job category is endangered… “The stunts we love to watch in movies like ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ usually rely on a combination of a green screen, stunt performers, and computer-generated models. Stunts like these can be dangerous, especially when performed live…over and over. At the new Avengers Campus at Disneyland Resorts, radical stunts are being performed every day by a robotic acrobat.”

Honda Motor Co. announces plans for eVTOL, avatar robots and space technologies“Honda Motor Company announced plans to innovate in new business areas like electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL), bipedal robots and space technology. ”Signaling the change in our mobility system in about 10 years.

Ford, Argo AI, Walmart Announce Autonomous Delivery Service“Ford, Argo AI, and Walmart will launch a self-driving delivery vehicle service this year in Miami; Austin, Texas; and Washington, D.C.”Developing autonomous vehicles is not only about the vehicles, you need to think about the services too.

Robots Take Over Italy’s Vineyards as Wineries Struggle With Covid-19 Worker ShortagesAgrirobots are an important space of development especially in times of workforce challenges.“Italian winemakers have increasingly relied on migrant workers for the autumn harvest, but Covid-19 travel restrictions and soaring wage costs are pushing many to turn to machines.”

Robot Nurse “Grace” Will Soon Be Caring for Isolated COVID PatientsNot surprised: “Public acceptance of humanoid robots like Grace will likely vary according to cultural differences. Social robots are already in common use in Japan, and throughout the world, more people are considering their value as companions for lonely seniors. But a recent study found that most people still experience the creeped-out “uncanny valley effect” when robots resemble sentient beings, and questions remain about whether social robots will deepen an overarching loss of human contact as technology evolves.”Also: do we need humanoid robots to have an extra supportive workforce or can we be honest in what the robot is about?

Humans And Robots Go To School Together“A push to automate is changing the way humans and machines work together.” Indeed, and interesting to see how this is approached with a joined learning program.

And robotic vehicles too

Autonomous vehicles now preferred mode among seniors, disabled, according to transit study“Southeast Valley seniors and disabled riders prefer autonomous vehicles, like Waymo, over taxis or rideshare alternatives, according to a Federal Transit Administration report.”

May Mobility Launches Semi-Autonomous Shuttle Service“The free, on-demand service connects the Kerrytown neighborhood, University of Michigan campus and State Street corridor in Ann Arbor, MI.”So the ad-based models are entering autonomous mobility.

Lordstown to Sell Ohio Plant to Foxconn in $280 Million DealA car factory plant is in the US is bought by Foxconn we mainly know as a producer of electronic devices like phones. The battle for cars produced as a platform for services is just beginning.

What is the impact of all this?

Air Pollution, Greenhouse Gas, and Traffic Externality Benefits and Costs of Shifting Private Vehicle Travel to Ridesourcing ServicesI have to dive into this paper, it has a triggering title and introduction on the impact of shared ride services vs privately owned. It delivers potential insights into design choices and rethinks the system more than a horseless carriage strategy.

Tesla opens ‘Full Self-Driving’ beta software to more customersSo you could see this as the self-driving car is doing a ballotage of its driver before offering its services. Interesting new relations of human and tech emerge here.“The score is tabulated using data collected by sensors on the driver’s Tesla, and considers instances of forward collision warnings per 1,000 miles, hard braking, aggressive turning, unsafe following, and forced Autopilot disengagement. ”

Sharing research about the shared value of shared streetsA double-layered “to read” article as Dan is sharing resources in a useful classification of the resources on itself.“Sharing research about the shared value of shared streets. Help build this collection of shared, open research about some of the multiple and diverse forms of value that retrofitting our streets….”

Can climate fiction deliver climate justice?The role of design fictions to influence behavior; “Perhaps that’s just what we need to overcome the sense of despair many of us feel these days. According to Earthseed, humanity’s destiny lies in colonizing other worlds. But its central message of working together to shape a better future can help us learn to live on this one. ”

DeepMind’s AI predicts almost exactly when and where it’s going to rain | MIT Technology ReviewNext up; a coatrack that preselects for you the right coat to wear :)“First protein folding, now weather forecasting: London-based AI firm DeepMind is continuing its run applying deep learning to hard science problems. Working with the Met Office, the UK’s national weather service, DeepMind has developed a deep-learning tool called DGMR that can accurately predict the likelihood of rain in the next 90 minutes—one of weather forecasting’s toughest…”

The emerging patchwork upgrade to the multiplayer webMatt Webb recognizes signals of a development towards a web of multiplayer use of the web. Indeed interesting to connect developments in both collaborative tooling for work and play with multiplayer games. In the aftermath of the lock-down context, we might have been trained more to share online maybe. The tools that stay now will mature further in a hybrid application.

Jan Postma on Twitter: “Private gains, public losses… “See the positives but don’t forget to remain critical too…

With that, I wish you a fruitful week. Next week’s edition might be a day late as I am in Munich on Monday.

These weeknotes are sent weekly via https://www.getrevue.co/profile/iskandr

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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.