Weeknotes 190; personal digital space

Hi all! Thanks for reading. Last week I had a short time to dive into events and reads and did a high-level overview. This week it is back to the usual routine.

So last week I discussed LaaS concepts and several forms of AI and ways to move into the next era of digital reality; the era of protocols. It can be the focus I have myself or it is really starting to become more of a thing indeed. It slowly is getting out of the realm of investment strategies and becomes a real structural part of developing new services.

At the same time, I started reading the new book of Bridle (finally), on new ways of being, new types of intelligence. His starting premise is that as we are now decoupling intelligence from humans with AI there should be an opening for other forms of nonhuman intelligence. Just started but already interesting. I watched this interview with James that dived further into it.

I also finally visited the exhibition Private_Eye_Butler_Spy. It is a nice overview of the impact of digital tech.

And new developments in the Twitter saga; Musk is close by taking over. So many things have been said. As argued earlier by Zuboff it would be better to treat it like a public place not owned by one person. Maybe Musk is surprising us with a DAO-like construct, but his past use of the medium to manipulate his own earnings and image does not promise the best. The Convivial Story overview of thoughts is worth reading. A great outcome would be if Twitter is going back to its roots and redesigning the mechanisms towards a tool that facilitates conversations within your own selected communities combined with serendipity, without the algorithmic amplifying mechanisms that favor the negative and dark. Disconnecting the messaging core engine from the client tooling would be a good start. But it will be a hell of a job to design this well in our current times that are so different from social media 15 years ago… It is interesting to see a slight rise of interest in Mastodon. It has problems too though, especially in scaling.

We announced the first session and talks for ThingsCon Summer Edition (9 & 10 June). Very happy to have Justyna talking about her experiences at Teenage Engineering. The OB-4 is a very nice example of the Physical Twin, finding the value in physical touchpoints of our digital (music) consumption. Next to that, I am very curious to hear more about the concrete implementation of citizen science with Telraam. The workshops and sessions are already diverse in both topics and formats. Well, have a look, and expect more soon!


Some nice events this week.

IoT London does an in-person event again, for those who are in that vibrant city tonite.

One of my favorite in-depth sessions is the General Seminars. I attended Metalabels two weeks ago at midnight due to time differences, this Wednesday it is on a more appropriate time for Europe. The topic is Autonomous. I am afraid it will be sold out if you read this.

Waag is hosting a workshop organized by Tomo Kihara on Thursday evening; how will the city look in 2070?

News of last week

With robotics and autonomous companions in all kinds of forms and roles. And how an art piece is telling us more about the redefinition of personal space in a digital era. And so much more. And big questions on intelligence and agency.

maria rybina’s high-neck, smart collar reinforces personal space in public settings
INTERACTION – I don’t expect this as a common view on our streets, but it opens conversations on redefining personal space in the era that our digital private conversations are mingling out in the open…“Made of high-quality material, the collar creates a sound barrier absorbing most of the user’s voice. The integrated electronics make it easy to connect to your phone. Personal conversations can now be held comfortably in public spaces without fear of being heard. But the application of ‘Vol.’ is much broader: the product can be used for private conversations (with a therapist or in a coworking space) to avoid disturbing nearby people. ”
The EU, US, and 32 other countries just announced a ‘Declaration for the Future of the Internet’
FUTURING – “The European Union, United States, and 32 other countries have signed a “Declaration for the Future of the Internet” laying out principles for a safe global network.“A promising initiative so it seems, valuing the open and opposing the ‘splinternet’. 
Everyone Has Opinions, Even AI
AGENCY – “the computer science team of Keith Carlson, Allen Riddell and Dan Rockmore was stuck on a problem. It wasn’t a technical challenge. The computer code they had developed to write product reviews was working beautifully. But they were struggling with a practical question: figuring out how and where it could be used”An interesting part is that the AI is behaving like a human formulating an opinion. An opinion build on contextual data, all the combined opinions of others. It is not intelligent on its own, or is this what intelligence is in the end?
A one-up on motion capture
INTELLIGENCE – Embodied intelligence… “a team of researchers from MIT and IBM has developed a trained neural network pipeline with the ability to infer the state of the environment and the actions happening, the physical characteristics of the object or person of interest (system), and its control parameters.”
Funders Convening on Climate Justice and Digital Rights
CLIMATE – Interesting research project by Michelle Thorne, looking forward to the full research, the opening statements are already spot on. “In April 2022, we convened 30 digital rights funders interested in applying a climate lens to their work.” 
WeRide Launched Fully Autonomous Sanitation Vehicle Fleet In China
AUTONOMOUS – “WeRide, a level 4 autonomous driving technology company, has launched China’s first mass-produced fully driverless sanitation vehicle known as the Robosweeper.”It feels like these sweepers operate in a formation; will feel a bit threatening I guess. Also interesting: the form language that seems to be the indicator for “I am an autonomous vehicle” is in the add-on radars. Like eyes on a stick.
The Ownership Economy 2022
WEB3 – “Our team at Variant has spent the last few months taking stock of the ownership economy — where it stands, where it fails, and where it might be headed next.”Probably not the first and definitely not the last. The overview looks useful and complete.
Apps are too complex so maybe features should be ownable and tradable 
WEB3 – Some great thoughts by Matt on a different model for app stores based on distributed ownership: “Apps would start really simple and then grow in complexity around you as you discover features by meeting others.”
‘Eye-Catching’ Smartphone App Could Make It Easy To Screen for Neurological Disease at Home
INTELLIGENCE – An example of applied intelligence. With potential misuse… “Researchers at the University of California San Diego have developed a smartphone app that could allow people to screen for Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD and other neurological diseases and disorders—by recording closeups of their eye.”
Meta’s newest AI discovers stronger and greener concrete formulas 
CLIMATE – Is this a valuable product or greenwashing? “A team from Meta AI, working with researchers at The University of Illinois, Urban-Champaign, have created an AI that can devise and refine formulas for increasingly high-strength, low-carbon concrete.”
A limit of openness: Controlling data flows 
OPEN – Peter Bihr is exploring the implicit boundaries of the open internet: “Openness has been a founding pillar of the web: open source, open data, free culture all have been driving forces for a thriving internet. Increasingly, we’re seeing the limits and downsides that openness can have.”
Why Jony Ive Left Apple to the ‘Accountants’ – The New York Times
APPLE – “The man who helped give the world candy-colored computers eventually walked out the door. What does that mean for the company’s next big thing?”The author of a new book on the impact of Jonathan Ive is giving some first learning from the more than 200 interviews. Seems a nice read for those interested in Apple’s strategy and more in general product strategies and beyond.
5 Ways in Which Robots are Used In Everyday Lives
ROBOTICS – “With the advancement of technology, robotic application in everyday life is no longer futuristic, it is the truth of the present world.”The 5 examples feel a bit random, but they might be interesting to learn on their own; what is top of mind…
Husky Robot Monitoring Penguins in Antarctica 
ROBOTICS – It is not new: robots are being used to monitor wildlife in their natural habitat. The video of this Husky robot interacting with penguins is quite short and it seems not yet clear if there is an interplay or if the robot is neglected and can be a pure bystander. Maybe more in the future.
Pixy the Snap drone
DRONES – My first thought: this was to be expected, earlier. It is a simplified version of that Chinese drone from some years ago that was built only to follow you around and film you. This one is a lot cheaper. And less intelligent. I can imagine that it could be interesting for TikTok to introduce a drone that becomes a partner in taking a dance and go beyond being an image-capturing tool. We’ll see…
Apple Launches Self Service Repair Store 
APPLE – This was announced before, but happening now. Apple is continuing on the path to becoming a (less) rigid and closed company. Or is that too optimistic?“This morning, Apple announced the opening of its Self Service Repair Store”
Watch: Incredible jumping robot triples world record
ROBOTICS – “A new jumping robot that can soar nearly 100 feet into the air might use the ability to explore the moon for NASA.”Will this be the next technique for SpaceX launching rockets?
20 Books and Articles to Get You Started in Strategic Foresight
FUTURING – You need some real time to read those all. Maybe better hire a futurist? “Regardless of whether you’re just starting out in the field of strategic foresight, or you’re a seasoned practitioner looking for new insights, these are the books we recommend to our clients and colleagues”

Paper for this week

This week a freshly published article looks into a specific concept of interaction as a design strategy for AI and social robots: resonance. The article dives into understanding resonance as a pervasive phenomenon and its role in human interactions. It is an interesting exploration I think. The article develops ten hypotheses and research questions for future (empirical) studies.

The article is also a source for learning about all types of resonance concepts and their role in human interactions. It even unplanned connects to the news with an example of Will Smith for human resonance.

The relation of resonance and getting into a flow state in the human-robot interaction seems to me super interesting.

I did not read the paper front to end yet, browsing through the different hypotheses one came to mind that I wonder if it covered too; is a strategy to use resonance in the interaction of human-robot helping the robot to understand and connect to the human intentions, or vice versa?

Lomas, J. D., Lin, A., Forster, D., Huisman, G., Habekost, J., Beardow, C., … & Cross, E. S. Resonance as a Design Strategy for AI and Social Robots. Frontiers in Neurorobotics , 75 (2022).

Read the article online here

See you next week!

This is a repost of the weekly newsletter.

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.