Weeknotes 162; tech taking initiative

Welcome to this weekly newsletter that is sent at the beginning of every week looking back and forward a week in both activities and news captured.

Last week?

Let’s keep the update of last week short. After returning from Munich (see last week’s newsletter) I need to spend some serious time writing a proposal which we were invited to join. Still busy this week too.

I joined a walking tour of the so-called National Science Agenda Smart & Liveable Cities route meeting and getting updated on the program. And meet some interesting people.

I missed most of O’Reilly Radar on Data & AI. I watched a panel and the opening; did not write down anything so not a good sign :) I am still curious about the keynote of Tim O’Reilly, hope I can watch it somewhere. I did listen in to a webinar of Particle & Microbility with half an ear as we say in Dutch. I liked that they addressed the autonomous last-mile vehicles in relation to new collaborations with technology and predictive knowledge, which is the key of Cities of Things and the research.

And I almost forgot; I published the monthly update on Cities of Things via “the other newsletter”.

What happens this week?

I was invited to join the DRIVE event on mobility during Dutch Design Week in-person yesterday. Which was a nice way to meet people and as you do meet people you only know from the screen in real life finally. In a workshop, we discussed challenges for digital twin datapoints for Eindhoven and I was happy to be able to add the objects as active partners in the discussion, and it was welcomed as a missing angle.

The rest of the week there are more DRIVE sessions you can join online, on health, circularity, food, and safety. Also online, is the series Upclose and Personal from Design United covering some interesting themes. From the same studio in the Effenaar (which is taking the job of being a live-show very seriously). Check it out here. I also visited some other exhibitions and embassies and I liked Manifestations. Did not see everything yet; if you have been to DDW before, it is definitely smaller, but the atmosphere is the same as ever.

Ok, here are some news bites of last week I noticed, mainly on robots and other insights on our relation with initiative-taking-tech.

A good job for robots found – dealing with our embarrassing problems“In our recent research my colleagues and I found the use of robots, rather than people, as assistants may reduce people’s feelings of embarrassment.”

Nice way to research our emotional relations with robotic devices.

AI fake-face generators can be rewound to reveal the real faces they trained onThis sounds promising at first; with AI you can reengineer the source of an automated generated image.

But it is also extra creepy maybe compared to the generation of neutral faces, now it gets personal…

Robotic fibers can make breath-monitoring garments“A new kind of fiber developed by researchers at MIT and in Sweden can be made into cloth that senses how much it is being stretched or compressed, and then provides immediate tactile feedback in the form of pressure or vibration. Such fabrics, the team suggests, could be used in garments that help train singers or athletes to better control their breathing, or those help patients recovering from disease or surgery to recover their normal breathing patterns.”

Truly Smart Robots Know When To Ask For HelpRobots and humans have similar principles to get more smart or emotional intelligent; be open for questions.

Deep learning helps predict traffic crashes before they happen“A deep learning model predicts high-resolution automobile crash risk maps that describe the expected number of crashes and identify high-risk areas.”

I use the example of driving cars using predicting capabilities in combination with sensors to react (just) quicker than humans when accidents might happen. This model seems to predict without the results of sense.

Neighbour wins privacy row over smart doorbell and cameras“The Amazon devices were found to invade privacy and break data laws in a landmark UK case.”That is a positive development. The lack of interest in the second-order impact on passing people is now hopefully forced into a more sensible approach.

Tesla officially launches its insurance using ‘real-time driving behavior,’ starting in Texas – ElectrekWho had expected this; the collected data is used to make a bespoke insurance product. It is interesting how self-driving will be part of the insurance products in the future, this is a first implementation. Autonomous vehicles have to been analyzed from an economic perspective too.

European pickup depot Delipop launches an urban alternative to instant deliveryIs this the inversed version of rapid-food-delivery providers like Gorillas that become rapidly popular in cities? This version is more catering the 15 min city so people living in cities have a certain reach within that time radius.

For Uber and Lyft, the Rideshare Bubble Bursts “Rideharing companies made a lot of promises. They’re not being kept.”Not sure if all data is correct, but you can see that changing old habits will take a longer time. And the idealistic visions might not be wishful thinking but leverage to sell a revolution. Let’s see if the bubble burst and a more evolutionary development emerges.

Thanks for reaching the end of the newsletter. Enjoy the rest of the week and till next 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.