Weeknotes 224; enabling fantasies

morphing fantasies of Weizenbaum warnings”, via MidJourney


Today I do a short update and keep it to the captured news of the week. Last week it was mostly crunch time at Structural. I attended a meetup of IxDA London on AI for creative work, discussing the potential for creativity and having a new type of user research. Like this Figma add-on.

We also had a nice design session with the think tank of Afrikaanderwijk for the Cities of Things Lab 010 project. We are now starting to design together a ‘robot’ for the neighbourhood as part of the co-design.

Lorna and I are shaping a ThingsCon Salon in Eindhoven as part of the STRP program on Listening Things. More information soon, save the date: 14 April 19-21:30 at AI Innovation Lab, High Tech Campus, Eindhoven.

Speaking of events. These are some happening the coming week:

The noticed news items from last week:

The generative AI revolution has begun—how did we get here?

A new class of incredibly powerful AI models has made recent breakthroughs possible.

HISTORY – In case you need some context on the current rapid developments in generative AI.

GENERATIVE MUSIC – All forms of art will have their AI co-pilots… For inspiration. Or if you can translate music into prompts…


AI POWER – Is it an interesting test in possibilities or a smart marketing move? “postponing our court case and sticking to consumer rights” after receiving threats from “State Bar prosecutors” about the potential legality of the stunt.”

WRITING – iA was my go-to writing tool a couple of years ago (now it is mainly Ulysses for serious writing). What do they think about the changes in writing? “Soon, you won’t need to write much anymore. Artificial Intelligence will do it for you. With all the free time we will have, we could try to rethink how we learn, work, and how we communicate.”

HELPFUL AI – Or is this a bit silly? Is it a learning experience or doing dedication to an AI butler?

CONNECTIONS MATTER – Overview of Matter-enabled devices.

GENERATIVE AI – Many smart people are exploring the role of generative AI in different contexts. That is valuable.

ROBOTICS – Just like in the movies…


CO-PILOTING – This week another interesting exploration by Matt (you might want to subscribe to his newsletter in case you did not do yet). A short description of his experimenting with Github Copilot; “What happened what that it helped me frame my problem. I was able to rapidly explore the edges of my knowledge, and figure out how to structure my questions and what I need to learn. My learning requirement is not obviated obviously… 

CONVERSATIONAL PROGRAMMING – “In summary, get yourself ready for a world of conversational programming. We’re not quite there yet but we should be there soon. When it arrives, embrace it and thank me later.”

NEW IDENTITIES – The author uses a review for exploration of SSI: “This paper isn’t going to help anyone in the ways it should. I’ll explain in overarching terms what I think has happened here and then illuminate a selection of the draft paper’s significant shortcomings.”

AUTONOMOUS – Still not flawless…

NOT CONNECTED – Is it surprising that people are not connecting their appliances to the internet? 

ROBOTICS – That Japan has a place in their culture of objects and is more adaptive for robotics is no news. The article seems to give a nice overview.

AI IN ALL – There are many examples every week with new AI enhancements of existing tools. Here is another one for Figma.

ART – Embodied time… 

“Computers enable fantasies” – On the continued relevance of Weizenbaum’s warnings

https://www.quantamagazine.org/nasty-geometry-breaks-decades-old-tiling-conjecture-20221215/ Intriguing images…

And to close, an interesting paper on the Future of Mobility: Winners and losers and new options in the public space

The paper explains the known shifts from owning to sharing and different forms of working environment. The public angle makes it a potential interesting read. It has a focus on Germany.

Ultimately, however, it is up to the political players to decide who will prevail in the future of mobility and under what conditions products and business models can be developed. The privilege of the private car to use public space is coming to an end. In many cities, city tolls are being considered and scarce space is being redistributed. In the future, whoever has access to scarce public space will do the business in the transportation market. In this sense, politics at the local level is gaining in importance. It determines the rules for new mobility services. These have great significance for the enforcement of good work.”

Canzler, W., & Knie, A. (2023). The future of mobility: Winners and losers and new options in the public space (No. SP III 2023-601). WZB Discussion Paper.


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.