Weeknotes 189

Hi all! Happy Kingsday. In case you celebrate this tomorrow located in the Netherlands, it is the first full-fletched Kingsday. Last year we had a kind of evening lockdown as I remember well. So I am curious about what it will be like this year. We ‘practiced’ partying last weekend in the first clubbing night in years. Felt strange but soon normal again.

At the time of writing, I am in a conference place in Brabant to discuss some possible future plans and collaborations in a short design sprint. I am part of the preparing team and moderating what results in this somewhat shorter newsletter.

Last week was a short week with easter et al. With a scattered program of activities. With Kars and others, I discussed the current state of responsible tech developments (looking back and forward at Techsolidarity). It was nice to see the 50% presentation of the Technical Informatics students of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. They are developing the wizard-of-oz platform for citythings further with ‘viewing capabilities’. Demie completed the after movie of the hackathon with the same explorations in citythings. Activities are very well connected there now, and will be even more it seems (later more).

Events for this week

I might have missed events, it is also a vacation week for schools here in the Netherlands, so that might explain the low number of events. I know there is an evening by The Hmm in four cities. I like the organization for its intentions, the events can be quite abstract (which is not per se bad imho).

News of last week

Let me give you a quick overview of articles on robotics and intelligent and autonomous technology and the relations with humans. Like every week.

Did Someone Say Co-Bots? How Human-Robot Teamwork Will Upend Manufacturing
ROBOTICS – More cobots-galore: “Known as co-bots (collaborative robots), this new form of robot can slow down or stop completely to prevent humans from getting injured, but they also enable companies to develop new human-robot workflows that automate previously manual methods.”
Collaborative Robots Make A Comeback In 2021
ROBOTICS – Cobots are the robotis of the futur for sure! “After a rocky year in 2021, collaborative robots are making a comeback according to Interact Analysis.”
Google researchers teach robots to learn by watching
ROBOTICS – “A research team at the robotics department at Google has been developing a new way for robots to learn by watching.”
Watch Apple’s Daisy robot take apart an iPhone because it’s cool
SUSTAINABIlITY – Great application for robots and used For Earth Day, Apple is revealing just how it robotically recycles an iPhone…
Artificial intelligence is creating a new colonial world order 
AGENCY – Not something new but good to repeat… “Together, the stories reveal how AI is impoverishing the communities and countries that don’t have a say in its development—the same communities and countries already impoverished by former colonial empires.”
Audi’s Urbansphere: The Autonomous Car Cabin of the Future – IoT World Today
AUTONOMOUS – To be honest I do think this is not the way to go. Why make this so big for a start. We need a smaller footprint…. “With mammoth dimensions, the Urbansphere was designed from the inside out as a third living space for those hours spent in traffic”
Mind-reading technology 
PHYSICAL TWIN – More and more ideas on bringing our digital life to reallife experiences…. “Startup founders want to read your brainwaves – but how will they protect your data from tech giants??
theo jansen’s wind-powered strandbeests evolve into flying creatures
ART – Great iteration for the “Strandbeest”: “in the most recent period, theo jansen has developed the ‘volantum’ (2020-2021), a strandbeest that flies.”
Day 1 notes from picking up a modern VR headset (Interconnected)
UNREAL – I always like the explorations of Matt Webb. Check it out yourself.
Cleaning up Online Bots’ Act – and Speech
INTELLIGENCE – Important development
Beyond Aggregation: Amazon as a Service 
NEW BIZZ – Yes I was also triggered by the term “Amazon as a Service”
South Africa’s private surveillance machine is fueling a digital apartheid 
INTELLIGENCE – As firms have dumped their AI technologies into the country, it’s created a blueprint for how to surveil citizens and serves as a warning to the world.
The Antidote To Digital Disconnectivity – NOEMA
DIGITAL LIFE – “Digital communication in its current form is corrosive to culture and community. But ritual and narrative can repair the damage.”
Towards Management Metamodernism
DIGITAL LIFE – And still not been able to read this article (and the ones of last week): “Defining the fundamental challenge of lorecraft”
Lucas Rizzotto on Twitter: “I brought my childhood imaginary friend back to life using A.I. (#GPT3) and it was one of the scariest and most transformative experiences of my life. A thread 🤖 (1/23)… https://t.co/5k4TJVM4qS”
INTELLIGENCE – This YouTuber made a little documentary in 6 months about how he try to bring a microwave alive using GPT-3 amongst others. As a child it was his imaginary friend and now he learned a lot on AI-dynamics.

Paper for this week

I promise I will dive into more papers in the coming weeks; here is one that is rather nearby as I know the authors well. The article is great on the relationship of communities and blockchain-like systems (the commons)

Three mechanisms are identified in this process: tracking use of and contributions to the commons; managing resources, and negotiating the underlying rule sets and user rights. Our effort is aimed at contributing to the HCI community by introducing a framework of three mechanisms and six design dilemmas that can aid in balancing conflicting values in the design of local platforms for commons-based resource management.

Cila, N., Ferri, G., De Waal, M., Gloerich, I., & Karpinski, T. (2020, April). The blockchain and the commons: dilemmas in the design of local platforms. In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1-14).

Find more in the full paper (PDF).

See you 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.