Weeknotes 197; autonomous

Hi all! Happy summer!

Looking back to last week let’s reflect on The Next Web. It was the first good old edition since pre-covid. Last October was an in-between edition I understood, and I missed that one. The location has changed to Taets in Zaandam; when living on the west side of Amsterdam well reachable by bike; for all others, it was kind of a hassle I heard from different visitors. I need to say that the talks I saw were not too inspiring and sometimes felt like ‘back to the future’. The atmosphere was nevertheless as always and met many familiar faces. So it was a good time to catch up.

Was there anything to conclude about the next web? Not really I think, the usual topics from metaverse to blockchain and some web3. There was less focus on startups, and the stages there were smaller than ever. There was more attention to spirituality and personal growth. Contemplating with someone trying to catch the current and next state I draw the conclusion we are still looking for what is a new state of reality after everything has pivoted into digital default. We are not back again, we maybe are living a hybrid life that feels like the in-between world of Being John Malkovich. Is this also linked to the shift to fluidity in identities? Or am I going too far now?

Despite the lack of direct inspiration was it valuable to be triggered into this kind of thinking. It proves that not always the content is defining the quality, it is in the end what it triggers.

It was nice to see colleague Anandita present on the Digital Twin together with Ard of Growy. It is a nice example of how making sense of connected things is in the digital twinning on multiple levels. Analyzing the twin is a great way of understanding. On the website of INFO you can find more.

Speaking on digital twinning; Monday morning I attended the first part of a conference on eHubs, aka metropolitan mobility conference, the final event of an Interreg research program. I could only see the first session with some politicians from different cities and researchers from different universities addressing some main topics. The connection of data for nudging people into a certain mobility behavior, from monomodal to multimodal, would benefit from a digital twin lens; what if the data and the service layer are the core place for the design of behavior? How will that relate to the physical touchpoints, and the orchestration of different mobility modes? This is something that deserves more elaboration but this newsletter is not the place for that.

Events for the coming week

This morning (Tuesday) the eHubs conference continues. And the Urban Living Lab Summit is starting today too. Later in the afternoon Mobility|Society event is in Delft. On Wednesday Dcode is having a day of keynote and workshops under the theme “Design for entangled interactions”.

I realize that with the end of covid (for how long it will last), all events are primarily in person. For people not living in the Netherlands, that might be a hassle for these events. I will however also signal international events of course. Like the Internet of Things meetups in London (next week). The Hmm is going to Maastricht this Thursday.

That is it for now.

News captures of the week

It seems an intensive week for autonomous cars and other vehicles.

Robotics expert Robin Murphy explains why ‘Star Wars’ robots don’t reflect reality
ROBOTICS – Robin Murphy, the Raytheon professor of computer science and engineering at Texas A&M University, specializes in artificial intelligence for robotics. As a component of her curriculum, she writes “Science Fiction, Science Fact,” a series of provocative, engaging articles that highlight the myriad differences between the robots and droids depicted in popular science fiction films and the best sci-fi TV shows and actual robots and autonomous machines working in the real world.
Trading Solitude for Loneliness 
HUMANS – “We live in a world of pervasive connection but also rising rates of loneliness. How do we make sense of this state of affairs?”
What Most People Don’t Understand About Future Autonomous Cars
AUTONOMOUS – Might not have a lot of surprising new facts but a nice overview of pictures how these autonomous vehicles are visualised now. “Autonomous cars? Like, are they safe? Wouldn’t someone hack the car? Are self-driving cars really legal? We debunk the popular myths surrounding them.”
Self-Driving and Driver-Assist Technology Linked to Hundreds of Car Crashes – The New York Times
AUTONOMOUS – “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released data on 10 months of crashes involving cars with automated components. A few were fatal.”
A.I. robotaxis already running in China could be coming to the U.S. | Fortune
AUTONOMOUS – “Forget driver’s ed. Soon teaching a car to drive will be more effective than teaching a human.”We’ll see…
LaMDA and the Sentient AI Trap 
SENTIENCE – Last week it had just entered the news; with the respons of Google as main point. Some more articles on the topi were published. “Arguments over whether Google’s large language model has a soul distract from the real-world problems that plague artificial intelligence.”
A series of tubes
LOGISTICS – Fine exploration in the tube concept for logistics. “You wait for ages for the return of internet-inspired tube-based physical goods transport systems then two come along at once.”
Introducing the Community Power Compass – Smithery
WEB3 – This tool looks really interesting “Rather than just deciding that all communities of a type are the same, maybe tools like this can give people a better nuanced approach when thinking about whether to join new communities, leave ones they are part of, or just observe them from the outside.”
What AI Can Tell Us About Intelligence
INTELLIGENCE – I like the framing of understanding intelligence through observing AI reasoning. “If there is one constant in the field of artificial intelligence it is exaggeration: there is always breathless hype and scornful naysaying. It is helpful to occasionally take stock of where we stand.”
Hyundai’s autonomous ship is the first to make a transoceanic journey
AUTONOMOUS – Is safety the real driver? Or efficiency? “By making the By making ships autonomous, the maritime industry thinks it could make the seas safer, too, while also making shipping cleaner and more efficient.”
Scientists have figured out how to put living skin on robots – Pique Newsmagazine
REAL – “This robot’s finger looks a lot like yours. Japanese scientists have used human cells to grow self-healing, water-repellent skin on a mechanical body.”
Hyundai Announces Self-Driving Ioniq 5 Robotaxis Will Hit U.S. Streets in 2023
AUTONOMOUS – We are all waiting on the moment that there is a tipping point in self driving. Is it near? “Take a look at the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the robotaxis based on this fully electric crossover SUV from the South Korean automaker.”
Russia is taking over Ukraine’s Internet
WAR – The war is happening on different layers of reality so much is clear.“Traffic from occupied Ukraine subjected to Russia’s censorship, surveillance machine.”
Horizon Robotics releases robot development platform
ROBOTICS – For the tech followers “The Horizon Hobot Platform consists of the company’s Sunrise chip, the TogetherROS operating system, Boxs reference algorithm, robot application examples and supporting development tools.”
Michio Kaku: “Your car will become a robot” 
ROBOCARS – Nothing to add…
With Phone (1), Nothing hopes to succeed where Essential failed | Ars Technica
DEVICES – For the device lovers, the unpack of Phone (1) is near. “Nothing is entering a crowded market dominated by Apple and Samsung.”
The Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) Market size was valued at USD 1.61 billion in 2021 and is predicted to reach USD 22.15 billion by 2030 with a CAGR of 34.3% from 2022-2030.
STATS – For those who are into stats. I am not sure what to do with these kind of numbers. It is expected to grow, for sure… “Market Definition: The Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) Market size was valued at USD 1. 61 billion in 2021 and is predicted to reach USD 22. 15 billion by 2030 with a CAGR of 34.”

Paper for this week

It can be interesting to look at topics from a different cultural context: “Using the theories underpinning Transition Design, this paper reports a case study on the core four processes of Transition Design and prototypes which are place-based and decentralized future visions inspired by Japanese traditional Arts.”

That is the topic of the paper “Speculation of The Purpose of Life in 2050 from Kyoto”

Check it out here

Iwabuchi, M., & Mizuno, D. (2020). Speculation of the Purpose of Life in 2050 from Kyoto: Case Study on Transition Design in Japan

See you in 2 weeks!

As I will be off next week visiting some heritage and culture.

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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.