Weeknotes 206; prompt galore

Hi all! I’m back from my vacation, so it is high time to send out the newsletter again. I still need to catch up with all the emails, so this edition might be a bit shorter, but good to get into the rhythm again.

The big news was all about the Ethereum merge to proof of stakeTikTok is copying BeReal. And, of course, Figma was bought by Adobe. For 20 billion…

Also getting even hotter: prompt engineering (or designing, authoring, different terms for the same): it is the favorite narrative with future thinkers, including myself :) More than a frame to deal with the uncertainty the new AI tooling is unlocking, and more than a new fancy new job, it unlocks new aesthetics as James Bridle mentioned years ago, it defines new relations we have with technology. A bit of hype is ok for now. So check the Promptbase and keep your eye on the meetup for Prompt Engineers. And better, follow (the discord-communities of) smart thinkers such as oio studio and Near Future Laboratory.

Events to check for this week:

I did not have the time to catch up with all sources. Expect a bit less robots for that reason. Nevertheless, I found some quick findings in the core sources of my news consumption. Happy to see that two of them are also covered in its highly valued newsletter of Patrick :-) Recommended it before.

And thanks, Peet, for the shout-out in the podcast!

these AI-generated abstracted dwellings are composed of modernist organic forms
AIRCHITECTURE – I noticed before; AI has its own aesthetics. Also, if you use it for generating buildings. “mathias juul frost’s AI-generated series presents abstracted, undulating dwellings composed of sculptural organic forms.”www.designboom.com  •  Share
He used AI art from Midjourney to win a fine-arts prize. Did he cheat? 
AIRT – “When Jason Allen submitted his “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial” into the Colorado State Fair’s fine arts competition last week, the sumptuous print was an immediate hit. It also marked a new milestone in the growth of artificial intelligence.”www.washingtonpost.com  •  Share
Artists begin selling AI-generated artwork on stock photography websites
THE ART OF THE PROMPT – Even more.. “Using software that creates art on demand, some artists attempt to cash in on AI-generated content.”arstechnica.com  •  Share
Partner / Tool / Canvas: UI for AI Image Generators 
PROMPT GALORE – One of the most inspiring things from the prompt engineering etc. How ill it be influence the design of our tools?“”Howl’s Moving Castle, with Solar Panels” – using Stable Diffusion / DreamStudio LIte Like a lot of folks, I’ve been messing about with the various AI image generators as they open up. While at Google I got to play with language model work quite a bit, and we worked on a series of projects looking…”petafloptimism.com  •  Share
Rethinking Intelligence In A More-Than-Human World 
MORE THAN HUMAN – This is questioning animal intelligence mainly. Find more explorations on other intelligence in the latest book of Bridle “Ways of Being”.“We need to expand our definition of intelligence to include non-human forms of cognition.”www.noemamag.com  •  Share
Of God and Machines – The Atlantic
INTELLIGENCE – “The future of artificial intelligence is neither utopian nor dystopian—it’s something much more interesting.”www.theatlantic.com  •  Share
The Problem with Intelligence
INTELLIGENCE – No time to read yet so I cannot promise this add new insights to the question “Why are we talking about AGI when we can’t define “intelligence” adequately?”www.oreilly.com  •  Share
New AI assistant can browse, search, and use web apps like a human
META – Not the metaverse, but the meta as meta concept: “Adept’s ACT-1 has learned how to automate complex UI tasks in web apps using an AI model.”Are we creating tools to impersonate humans or will humans adapt to the tools in the end?arstechnica.com  •  Share
Twitter pranksters derail GPT-3 bot with newly discovered “prompt injection” hack
PROMPT GALORE – The prompt injection hack… “By telling AI bot to ignore its previous instructions, vulnerabilities emerge.”arstechnica.com  •  Share
nicolasnova on Twitter: “Stubborn droid” 
NEW PRIVILEGES – Unexpected consequences…twitter.com  •  Share
Robotic surgery is a game changer for minimally invasive surgery
ROBOTS FOR LIFE – Literally… “More and more surgeons are using robotic surgical systems. Here’s why.”www.freethink.com  •  Share
mothcities – More-than-Human Data Interactions in the Smart City
CITYTHINGS – This is something to keep an eye on, some interesting people organizing events and more on more-than-human data interactions that are not robots or autonomous things.mothcities.uk  •  Share
The AI Unbundling
INTELLIGENCE – Ben Thompson made the bundling-unbundling concept famous, and did a good job linking it to the now and future.stratechery.com  •  Share
I hope libraries are snapshotting today’s awkwardly sourced AIs 
BACK TO THE FUTURE – I remember how we discussed the archiving of websites that were dissolving in the redesigns, in the beginning of the internet. And with that history was disappearing. The same quests is happening now with the early days of AI generated content… “How does a library save a snapshot of the current DALL-E, the current GPT-3, the current Stable Diffusion? Complete, usable, and frozen.”interconnected.org  •  Share
The Follower – Dries Depoorter
SURVEILLANCE – Great art project or maybe better, research project. Or awareness… “Dries Depoorter creates artworks about surveillance, privacy, social media and machine learning.”driesdepoorter.be  •  Share
Two recent interviews on designing for technology and the city 
URBAN – On the list to watch later: “Two recent interviews on designing for technology and the city.”medium.com  •  Share
Can ‘the Merge’ Save Crypto? 
FORKING – “Many fans think it will. But it might end up creating some new problems.”www.nytimes.com  •  Share
FACT SHEET:  White House Releases First-Ever Comprehensive Framework for Responsible Development of Digital Assets – The White House
CRYPTO – Some think this can be the end of crypto rallies… “Following the President’s Executive Order, New Reports Outline Recommendations to Protect Consumers, Investors, Businesses, Financial Stability, National”www.whitehouse.gov  •  Share
Why More and More Cities Are Entering the Metaverse 
THE VERSE – “Seoul Enters the Metaverse Seoul has announced the opening of its own metaverse. Starting in 2023, residents of the South Korean capital will be able to access public services”popupcity.net  •  Share
Electric Vehicles Could Rescue the US Power Grid
GRID – This concept is not new, is prototyped for years. Promising to have it on the agenda “By 2035, the batteries in California’s zero-emission cars could power every home in the state for three days.”www.wired.com  •  Share

A positive research outcome: Sustainable behavior makes people happy. Probably even more in the current context?

In a published meta-analysis by Stephanie Johnson Zawadzki, Thijs Bouman and Linda Steg, 78 previously conducted studies on sustainable behavior and subjective well-being were analyzed in order to better understand the relationship between the two. The researchers looked at different types of behaviour, such as purchasing behaviour, food choice, energy use, and waste separation. The meta-analysis shows a consistent positive relationship between the different types of sustainable behavior and well-being.”

Zawadzki, SJ, Steg, L., & Bouman, T. (2020). Meta-analytic evidence for a robust and positive association between individuals’ pro-environmental behaviors and their subjective wellbeing. Environmental Research Letters, 15, 123007. (link)

Have a great week!

This is a repost of the newsletter


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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.