Weeknotes 210; hyperautomation

Hi all. Happy new week! What about last the last one? There was something with Meta for sure. A PR show for the VR activities and a new headset. It got a lot of attention. My impression is that it might have the potential for specific cases but is still an immature product to use comfortably.

I paid a short visit to the Society 5.0 festival. In a nice session on “A short history of the architectures of trust” Edwin Gardner made a nice overview of different era’s from 1450 till the further future. From the Spoken World to the Printed World to the Activated World. And of course the framings of Web1, 2, and 3. He defined the public sphere as an architecture of trust and how we should build trust in the electric age. Find more in his blog/newsletter.

On Friday, I attended Design 4 AI and was able to visit two talks live and a very nice workshop on prompt engineering with Dreamstudio, build on Stable Diffusion. Both talks focused on the role of AI in relation to human activities. Elisabeth Churchill, director of UX at Google, discussed how we are designing the illusion of intelligence and should design the right collaboration and assistance. She promoted a kind of trickle-up design, design for the smallest possible change that can impact on a high level.

Matt Jones introduced metaphors of optometrists, ritual use of machines, centaurs, Octopi, and Rubber ducks to discuss a different form of AI: personal AI, which is humble and owned by you.

I hope the talks will be published online.

For this and the following week, these might be interesting events:

And an overview of the news and articles of last week:

I Turned My Home Into a Fortress of Surveillance
UNDERSTANDING – Ian Bogost did an experiment, building a fully surveilled house. His learnings are reflective as expected… “Surveillance is normally understood as monitoring, and that’s where the trouble starts. But another use is possible too: just looking. Looking can devolve into a dangerous exercise of asymmetrical power, but it can also produce communion.”
What Is Hyperautomation? 
HYPER – Good debunking of a buzz word by putting into context. “Hyperautomation may or may not be the biggest technology trend of 2022. That game of buzzword bingo is unimportant. But “automating all the things”–that’s sure to be on every senior manager’s mind. As you head in this direction, here are some things to keep in mind: (…)”Humans in the loop and decision intelligence are some of the important concepts here.
☞ Generation Ships and Monarch Butterflies
REFRESH – “Whether we are thinking about butterfly migration or generation ships, these multigenerational projects have something to teach us.”
‘Killer Robots’ Are Already Here. They Just Don’t Look Like You Think 
WARBOTS – More and more attention for automated weapon systems now in the war in Ukraine war. High tech both with low tech drones. Makes lot of sense that war robots are not humanoids or alike…
Microsoft takes AI image generation mainstream, strolling into ethics minefield 
GENERATIVE – This visual AI tools is accelerating week after week. This week: “Microsoft sidesteps AI-powered art debate, embraces image generation as a tool for creatives.”
Zie mijn pijn
AIART – One of the better examples of using Dall-E tools (Midjourney in this case). It uses the abilities of imagining hard to describe emotions of people suffering mental pain. It makes it possible to discuss hard to imagine feelings. In Dutch.
“Battery Genome Project” creators want shared data, better EVs
SEQUENCING – Knowledge is power. Our wellbeing in life is connected to battery life so this should feel like an importnat project. “The Battery Data Genome will collect information from every part of the battery life cycle, including basic data like how batteries respond to different types of charging and discharging, and additional variables like the effects of temperature, driving speed, and differences in the materials within the batteries.”
Habits, attitudes, and expectations of regular users of partial driving automation systems
AUTONOMOUS – Users of partial automation level 2 self-driving not all have the full understanding what the shared responsibilities are… “Multifaceted, proactive user-centric safeguards are needed to shape proper behavior and understanding about drivers’ roles and responsibilities while using partial driving automation.”
Algorithms Enable Robots to Avoid Obstacles and Run in the Wild 
ROBODOG – These robot creatures are not super fluent in walking indeed, but it is no surprise improvements are made quickly… It is also a potential benefit to have legs instead of wheels in off-road situations. “The system gives the robot more versatility due to its combination of the robot’s sense of sight with proprioception, which is another sensing modality that involves the robot’s sense of movement, direction, speed, location and touch.”
Meta Meets Microsoft 
META – Ben Thompson was part of the PR organized by Meta to introduce a new headset and reconfirm their strategy for VR. His conclusion is that there is a real difference in experience that might be a useful one for certain situations (meetings), but the quality of the devices and software still lacks to leverage this fully.
Apple’s AR/VR headset will scan your iris when you put it on 
META LIFE – “Apple’s headset will also scan users’ legs for inclusion in virtual space.” Meta just introduced a pro version of the Oculus last week, including face scanning for representing face expressions. Apparently a road Apple is driving too.
Fake Joe Rogan interviews fake Steve Jobs in an AI-powered podcast 
FAIKE – I did not investigate, but I have the feeling that Joe Rogan is not a match for Jobs… You can say that it is an interesting thought that we will have AI that can express opinions that were not expressed real. It is all in the eye of the beholder that is more than ever relevant.As a side thought, how does an impertinent dialogue partner influence the quality of the AI speech…“Voice synthesis PR stunt calls upon the dead to help sell an AI product.”
State of AI Report 2022
STATS – This report might also been framed as the “stats of AI”. So if you are into numbers… “The State of AI Report seeks to trigger informed conversation about the state of AI and its implication for the future.”
Animal populations experience average decline of almost 70% since 1970, report reveals 
NATURE – Next to climate change, biodiversity is a huge deal… “Huge scale of human-driven loss of species demands urgent action, say world’s leading scientists.”
Urgency and Agency in Technology Policy: A Conversation with Ifeoma Ozoma
AGENCY – System-level leverage, tech accountability, agency as the antithesis of fear… “What is the good that I can do at scale? And how can I use where I’m at and what I know to positively influence things within my reach?”
Student research: making city logistics more sustainable 
LOGISTICS – “The transition towards sustainable city logistics is far from a given and is jeopardized by substantial barriers. To overcome these barriers and foster sustainable logistics innovations and policy integration, sharing experiences and advancing collective knowledge are essential.”
Google is serious about its giant video chat booths, starts real-world testing | Ars Technica
REAL NOT REAL – This feels already retro… Which can mean that it makes sense… “The giant 3D video chat system is getting trialed at WeWork, Salesforce, and more.”
Stanford researchers create robotic boot that helps people walk
EXOLIFE – In the series boosted humans: “Engineers at Stanford University have created a boot-like robotic exoskeleton that can increase walking speed and reduce walking effort.”
Marking and Unmarking 
CHANGE – Interesting thoughts by James Bridle, just as the beginning or deeper explorations. “I’m going to be writing a lot about the lionfish, I think, and I’m trying to figure out how to talk about them in relation to how we talk about ‘native’ and ‘invasive’ species, climate, and other kinds of change”
anime-inspired robot maids entertain & serve customers in a japanese cafe
ROBOT CULTURE – My first feeling is that these look a bit creepy. And not sure what to make of it. Is it a representation of a culture that is not right? Or is it a mirror to let us think about how we treat robots? “the robot maids can hold the hands of the customers, detect their faces, and crouch if their shoulders are touched.”

Paper for the week

I think I did not mention this paper before; it connects very well to the topics addressed in the newsletter: Meaningful human control: actionable properties for AI system development

How can humans remain in control of artificial intelligence (AI)-based systems designed to perform tasks autonomously? Such systems are increasingly ubiquitous, creating benefits – but also undesirable situations where moral responsibility for their actions cannot be properly attributed to any particular person or group. (…)

In this paper, we address the gap between philosophical theory and engineering practice by identifying, through an iterative process of abductive thinking, four actionable properties for AI-based systems under meaningful human control, which we discuss making use of two applications scenarios: automated vehicles and AI-based hiring.

Cavalcante Siebert, L., Lupetti, M.L., Aizenberg, E. et al. Meaningful human control: actionable properties for AI system development. AI Ethics (2022).

Link to paper.

See y’all 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.