Weeknotes 211; intergalactic generative ai

Hi! What about last week? Been busy developing the new tooling and beyond. Takes all the time and attention. I visited 15 years of IxDA, though, which was a nice rendezvous of UX friends. And I watched another nice talk by James Bridle on crabs, and a small documentary on autonomous hardware I missed earlier.

For this week’s presence at DDW we composed a webpage on the new WijkBot Kit that is part of the Rotterdam project on Cities of Things. Check it out, and also visit the exhibition if you are in Eindhoven this week.

Yesterday I also attended the session on MUC AMS collaboration and had a short visit to the Klokgebouw. Next to the exhibition with WijkBot, there was the DesignUnited one on a more-than-human design called Transitions.

I might pay a short visit to DRIVE this Friday if there is time, became a yearly tradition. If I have time on the weekend, I will do another day and will check out Manifestations and Retro Future in the newly opened Evoluon.

Other events this week: demonstration of Responsible Sensing Lab at Marineterrein this Thursday afternoon. The Metaverse cha-cha-cha dance party by The Hmm and Affect Lab Thursday evening, and AI for Good #2 next Monday evening.

On with the news captured last week. Generative AI is getting hotter than hot… But also robotic garments and tokenomics. And DDW impressions.

A Coming-Out Party for Generative A.I., Silicon Valley’s New Craze 
GENERATIVE AI – Word: “In Silicon Valley, crypto and the metaverse are out. Generative A.I. is in.”www.nytimes.com  •  Share
using AI, rameez iqbal envisions an intergalactic fashion campaign
PROMPT ART – Following the Midjourney Discord every day impressive pieces of aimages are made. It gets extra special if known artists start to prompt the AIs… “the collection by rameez iqbal depicts our extraterrestrial neighbors as stylish hybrids, boasting luxury-finished skin textures.”www.designboom.com  •  Share
Why the Future of Open Source AI is So Much Bigger Than Stable Diffusion 1.5 and Why It Matters to You
GENERATIVE AI – Interesting things happening with Stability AI holding back new releases to prevent to overreacting (in their view) of regulators: “So when Stability AI says we have to slow down just a little it’s because if we don’t deal with very reasonable feedback from society and our own communities then there is a chance open source AI simply won’t exist and nobody will be able to release powerful models.”danieljeffries.substack.com  •  Share
New AI tool colorizes black-and-white photos automatically 
TOOLS – In the series AI for tooling: “Automatically add color to old photos, then refine the colors with a written caption.”arstechnica.com  •  Share
What We Learned Auditing Sophisticated AI for Bias 
ETHICS – New opportunities comes with new responsibilities.“If you’re using AI at scale for commercial purposes, consumers have a reasonable expectation that AI systems will protect their privacy and engage in fair business practices.”www.oreilly.com  •  Share
Do This AI Robot’s Self-Portraits Count as Art? 
GENERATIVE AI – Why not? What is art is of course topic for dispute always… “Pop culture is full of creative people asking what artificial intelligence means for humanity.”nerdist.com  •  Share
Box081: Have a look around my brain 
AI SPECTRUM – Tobias does some interesting mapping in this article.blog.tobiasrevell.com  •  Share
Tokens, Not Subscriptions, For Heated Seats In Your New Car
TOKENOMICS – Tokens are hot, even instead of other principles. “[writer] can imagine a vigorous secondary market in tokenised subscriptions: if you get fed up with your New York Times subscription, sell it on eBay. If you never use the heated seats in your Beamer, sell them to a mate down the pub.www.forbes.com  •  Share
Clearpath Robotics launches outdoor autonomy software
ROBOTICS – “Clearpath Robotics launched an autonomous navigation software platform called OutdoorNav. The technology provides GPS-based navigation for Clearpath’s outdoor mobile platforms and third-party vehicles.”www.therobotreport.com  •  Share
ying gao’s new pulsating robotic garments simulate the effects of virtual clothing
FASHION STATEMENT – We see that in fashion there is a wave of young designers that fully explore the impact of digital and AI for fashion. VR or new creations using robotics, like these: “ying gao returns with new robotic garments, this time looking to the world of NFT and the metaverse for inspiration.”www.designboom.com  •  Share
Thinking about design pathfinding, which is a bit inside-baseball but forgive me 
DESIGN – Indeed, it feels like design pathfinding is just another name for current practice. But I feel for this reasoning: “Now that’s something that those of us who have been involved in design and invention would nod at impatiently, like, obviously, forever, so what’s handy is that there is a name for it. Not a neutral or inward-looking name like “design research” but a name that foregrounds the wider function and frames design as a journey.”Side thought as it was framed by someone from Meta; what is the relation of object-based pathfinding and virtual objects?interconnected.org  •  Share
Microsoft Full Circle 
REALITY v2 – Microsoft is developing, broadening the scope so it looks. stratechery.com  •  Share
Taipei urbanism 
CITIES – I was triggered by the role of scooters (mopeds) in the city. One of the papers on Things Centered Design and specifically the method of Interview with Things written by Chang, was focusing on these scooters.
The dark side of a super app like WeChat
X APP – True of course: “When one app gives you everything, losing it becomes unbearable.” On the other hand; it is already the case for losing your phone now.
How Lex Happened – Divinations
AI TOOL – Lex.page I mentioned earlier, a new AI tool for writing, much more interesting than the ones that write copy for instance. The introduction was a success: 25,000 users in 24 hours. 

Paper for the week

Last weeks some of the initiatives on robot-based last-mile delivery were paused. The question is if this is a temporary dip caused by inflated expectations or structural development. In this paper, the effects are tested on freight efficiency and travel: “Study of Road Autonomous Delivery Robots and Their Potential Effects on Freight Efficiency and Travel”

In 2020 the findings were “The results show that RADRs can provide substantial cost savings in many scenarios, but in all cases at the expense of substantially higher vehicle miles per customer served. Unlike sidewalk autonomous delivery robots (SADRs), it is possible the RADRs will contribute significantly to additional vehicle miles per customer served.”

Jennings, D., & Figliozzi, M. (2020). Study of road autonomous delivery robots and their potential effects on freight efficiency and travel. Transportation Research Record2674(9), 1019-1029

(link to PDF)

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.