Weeknotes 212; system of the world

Hi all! Welcome back to another weekly update looking back at some of the interesting news bit (imho), interesting events, and more that captured my attention.

We had an official handover last week of Twitter to a new ‘Chief Twit’ Elon Musk. I’m a happy user of the platform since the first moment I start using it in early 2017. I was never the manic sharer or chatter, but I have met numerous interesting people; it is still a great inspiring channel for interesting articles and opinions, and I like to capture the inspiring talks or new insights from less inspiring ones. I created my own lens with a list of people I like to follow and hardly use the algorithmic suggested stream. 

Why all this on Twitter? There was some unrest, of course, after Elon Musk had made his definite move. Will it stay the open and interesting space? Will the clickbait-driven negative space return? Hard to predict at this moment. Some interesting takes are shared below.

I am not trusting Elon for a balanced, safe space for everyone. The only hope I have is that he might understand that the value is not the clickbait opinion market space but the creative community that unlocks new interactions, new ideas, and more connections. Hope that is hard to believe, of course. The best outcome would be a more intelligent platform or better, open protocols again with a smarter business model.

AI for Good

Enough for now. I just returned from the 2nd edition of AI for Good, as I announced last week. Organized by one of the subscribers of this newsletter (check out his own “Super Vision”), Laurens Vreekamp. I know his focus on AI in journalism and beyond, but did not know what to expect from this evening. The speaker line-up was very interesting. Dasha Simons from IBM and David Graus from Randstad bringing AI ethics into practice in a corporate environment, and Oumaima Hajri from a research background. I am not doing a detailed report but more general reflections. The theme of AI for good was more translated into AI not doing badly. Time was too short to dive into the depth of balancing between client interest and AI impact in a consultancy firm like IBM or stimulating a different work dividing system stimulated by just AI for a recruiting firm. They both showed, however, how the first steps are taken to bring more awareness in teams and organizations. Oumaima did a great job of stressing the bias dilemmas driven by power structures.

The evening opened more questions to address the next editions (which is nice). Especially how to relate to initiating AI systems that gain importance in the processes of organizations. Current tooling can help us to make the tensions clear, as the poet of Aaron Mirck made through prompting Copy.ai with the minutes of the talks. It can already deliver fun and sometimes unexpected insights, but still rather biased.

As I wrote down as thoughts while listening to Dasha Simons; we are all convinced of the importance of explainability, transparency, and even interpretability, all focused on making the system responsible and, with them, the makers of the system. But what about the responsibility of the users? Are they also part of the equation, should they be responsible too? As the AI (or what term we use) is continuous learning and shaping, the prompts we give are more than a means to retrieve the best results; it is also part of the upbringing of the AI. We are, as users, also responsible for good AI as the producers are.

Events to visit

Ok, this was a lengthy introduction. It was fresh top of my mind. The meetup is back as an evening habit. Let’s see what else you could visit this or next week:

News of last week

Next to Twitter news, the usual mix of robotics, autonomous tech, things, etc.

The end of the system of the world 
WORLD – Promising read: “a largely but not completely bifurcated global system of production and trade, with two technologically advanced high-output blocs competing head to head — seems like the most likely replacement for the Chimerica system that dominated the global economy over the past two decades.”noahpinion.substack.com  •  Share
U.K. Watchdog Issues First of Its Kind Warning Against ‘Immature’ Emotional Analysis Tech
PRIVACY – The watchdog’s deputy commissioner warned the tech wasn’t backed by science and that any benefits were outweighed by the risks.gizmodo.com  •  Share
AI is plundering the imagination and replacing it with a slot machine 
PROMPTING – I do not subscribe to this opinion per se “Plugging prompts into AI models hijacks human curiosity and robs them of a process meant to spur creativity.”thebulletin.org  •  Share
Exit Flagger 
MEDIATED – “a short essay how using the internet is becoming more like watching TV, with TikTok as the main vector of that transition.” And on Twitter…. kneelingbus.substack.com  •  Share
Google Cloud gets into web3 act with managed blockchain node service
WEB3 – A step towards mainstream…. “Google Cloud got into the web3 act today when it announced a fully managed blockchain node service to handle node creation and management.”techcrunch.com  •  Share
AI IN PRACTICE – To be suspected… “Shutterstock powers innovation excellence by expanding OpenAI partnership focused on delivering the most advanced creative tools in the industry and supports its contributor base with launch of fund aimed at ensuring artists are rewarded for contributions to AI datasets”www.shutterstock.com  •  Share
Vehicles of Extraction
MOBILITY – A look at the history and current supply chains of electric vehicles reveals why we must reject seeing them as climate change solutions.magazine.scienceforthepeople.org  •  Share
Ford, VW-backed Argo AI is shutting down
AUTONOMOUS – Peek self driving? Flawing promises? Just regrouping? Argo AI, an autonomous vehicle startup that burst on the scene in 2017 stacked with a $1 billion investment from Ford, is shutting down.techcrunch.com  •  Share
The Android-ification of Cars 
AUTONOMOUS – Not only the supply chain but also the product-service ecosystem. “The shift to EVs is disrupting the auto supply chain. To name just one example, Foxconn, the company that epitomizes the model which separates electronics design and manufacture is now aggressively promoting its ability to replicate that model for cars.”digitstodollars.com  •  Share
Wearable Soft Robot Helps People Scared of Injections
ROBOTICS – sweet! “A team of researchers from the University of Tsukuba in Japan has developed a hand-held soft robot that can help patients who are scared of certain medical procedures, such as injections. The new development is one more step towards creating robots as tech companions just like smartphones. ”www.unite.ai  •  Share
Alien-like synthetic tentacles
ROBOTICS – Animistic in the physical sense… “Innovators from Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have created rubbery pneumatic tentacles that can entangle objects and pick them up”superinnovators.com  •  Share
The Push to Scale Plant-Based Plastics
CLIMATE – “FabricNano says it has found an affordable way to swap petrochemicals for plants and proteins.”www.wired.com  •  Share
Pebble, the OG smartwatch that may never die, updated to work with Pixel 7 
SMART – Nostalgic… I have one laying around. “Deep inside Google, a signed update makes the smartwatch 64-bit-Android ready.”arstechnica.com  •  Share
Twitter’s problems: a roundup 
TWEEPS – Some unsolicited thoughts for the new ownershipnoahpinion.substack.com  •  Share
By Buying Twitter, Elon Musk Has Created His Own Hilarious Nightmare
TWEEPS – “Musk will likely ruin Twitter for one specific user: himself.”theintercept.com  •  Share
Welcome to hell, Elon 
TWEEPS – The most shared vision on Twitter “Elon Musk now owns Twitter — and a huge number of impossible political problems around speech, content moderation, and trying to make money.”www.theverge.com  •  Share

Paper for the week

This time a paper on tokens. Tokens make the world go round: socialist tokens as an alternative to money

The paper argues that non-circulating tokens should be used as an alternative to money in a socialist economy. These tokens would be used to distribute consumer products out of socialised production to individual consumers. 

Dapprich, J.P. Tokens make the world go round: socialist tokens as an alternative to money. Rev Evol Polit Econ (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43253-022-00091-6


See you next week!

Published by


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.