weeknotes 200; autonomous ethics

Hi all. I continue posting the weekly newsletters for those who are not on holiday yet or are still reading the email from their holiday address :-)

I keep it short for the update part. Maybe good to mark the moment that INFO left the office at the St. Antoniesbreestraat. It was the office where I always worked; I had desks on every floor and built the lab with the numerous students that did projects. The basement was a great place for organizing regular meetups. Not only Behavior Design AMS that had multiple editions per year, and the same for ThingsCon Salons (the first Dutch ThingsCon edition took place in the building), but we also welcomed other organizations such as UX Cocktail Hour, Amsterdam UX, Club of Amsterdam, to name a few. So it feels a bit strange, but looking forward to the new office later this year, construction needs to be finished.

I don’t have any events on the roll for this week; it is a quiet time, low season. So let’s dive into the news of last week. I leave out the Twitter saga here but will share another Dall-E 2 tool as there was a kind of upheaval in attention last week. I can now use not only the Dall-E mini but also the original via Midjourney. Funny enough, they use Discord for the authentication and as an interface to enter search queries. Extra benefit is that you can look into all the queries and results of everyone else… 

On with the rest of the news; on the well-known topics of robotics and autonomous driving and the ethics of technology.

Artificial Creativity? 
INTELLIGENCE – There is a lot happening again around Dall-E 2 and the pictures generated. More and more people are able to use it and the number of pictures shared on social is numerous. What are the quality and the attraction? Is it creative work or just visual interesting? It unlocks questions on what creativity is; “It’s impressive to see AI-generated pictures of an astronaut riding a horse, or a dog riding a bike in Times Square. But where’s the creativity? Is it in the prompt or in the product? It is too easy to dismiss the creativity to the prompt only. It is, however a big part of defining the impact of the images. I mentioned before that there is a certain sign in the visual style. On the other hand, it is just following some rules without really making decisions, creative decisions. I tend to visual craftmanship above artist-like creativity….
AI Art Is Challenging the Boundaries of Curation 
AI ART – “Artists working with programs like DALL-E do more than push a button—selecting outputs and engineering prompts are acts of aesthetic expression.”Another article dives into the question if Dall-E-2 is the tool of a true artist…
A Robot Learns to Imagine Itself | Columbia Engineering
ROBOTICS – The first step to sentient robots? “Columbia Engineers build a robot that learns to understand itself, rather than the world around it”
“Blade Runner” and the lesson Roy Batty’s Replicant rebellion has to teach us SCI
CULTURE – “An examination of Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” 40 years later and how its robots reflect our reality”The value of reflecting on the now through the lens of the past predicting the future.
Hope needs a place to perch | booktwo.org
FUTURING – James Bridle on the agency. Amongst other things.“I don’t care about the future, as I don’t care about predictions. Means not ends, as Huxley endlessly reminds us. We make the future, moment by moment, by our actions in the present, which is where we have agency.”
#187: A Rainbow in Curved Air – by Drew Austin
DIGITAL CULTURE – Time is the new space. The digital annihilation of physical distance means that culture must be organized temporally.
An Archeology for the Future in Space | by Fabien Girardin | Design Fictions | Jul, 2022 | Medium
DESIGN FICTION – “A detailed account of the role of “future archeologists” at the Museum of the Future and how they brought to the present a culture from the future.“ 
Irving Wladawsky-Berger: The Potential Impact of Web3 on the Internet and the Digital Economy
WEB3 – I still think that Web3 is not married with blockchain, there are principles though that benefit from the blocks. “A few weeks ago, the Blockchain Research Institute (BRI) announced that its annual global conference would be renamed Web3 Blockchain World, and that the Enterprise Blockchain Awards would now be called the Web3 & Blockchain Transformation Awards.”
Volkswagen Thinks Autonomous Driving Will Be Sold As A Subscription Service | CarBuzz
AUTONOMOUS – In all future studies on mobility this was of course the dominant scenario. Now there is a concrete market player… “Volkswagen is yet to offer Level 4 autonomous technology, but Hilgenberg noted this idea would allow people to pay for self-driving when they needed it.”
China Completed the First Phase of Intelligent and Connected Vehicles (ICV) | EqualOcean
AUTONOMOUS – China is taking a step towards an autonomous infrastructure. “The development of Intelligent Connected vehicles (ICV) provides the Chinese automotive industry with a strategic opportunity for transformation and upgrading.”
Starship expands delivery service in the UK – The Robot Report
AUTONOMOUS – “Starship Technologies announced that its expanding its delivery service to residents in the UK
Amazon finally admits giving cops Ring doorbell data without user consent | Ars Technica
TRUST – No surprises, still bad news… “Amazon Ring gave police data without user consent 11 times so far in 2022.”
Lime has built its own camera-based sidewalk detection technology – TechCrunch
SCOOTERS – Our vehicles become more and more surveillance apparatus. “Lime shared plans to pilot an in-house built computer vision platform that will leverage cameras to detect when users are riding on the sidewalk.”
Autonomous vehicles startup Nuro winds down operations in Phoenix – TechCrunch
AUTONOMOUS – There is a tendency all over the markets to start creating healthy businesses. With focus. “Autonomous vehicle startup Nuro told employees the Phoenix Depot location would be closed by Oct 1. It will continue to operate its Tempe, AZ facility.”
Saudi Crown Prince’s $500 Billion ’Smart City’ Faces Major Setbacks
OUT THERE – This story was shared as an incredible and intriguing story.“Neom, the Saudi crown prince’s urban mega-project, is supposed to have a ski resort, swim lanes for commuters, and “smart” everything. It’s going great—for the consultants.”

Paper for this week

“In this editorial we explore how the concept of the city region has evolved and what questions this raises for the role of urban futures, including visioning and foresight.”

Dixon, T. J., Karuri-Sebina, G., Ravetz, J., & Tewdwr-Jones, M. (2022). Re-imagining the future: city-region foresight and visioning in an era of fragmented governance. Regional Studies, 1-8.

Find more via this link.

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.