Weeknotes 180; cell-powered mathematical collaborators

Hi all. Another week passed by. A windy one over here. Everything stayed put but there was some rescheduling of meetings last Friday. Instead of meeting a new team of students from Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences for a project related to the CityLab 010 project was online; we catch up soon! Also, another team of students did start in the minor Responsible AI from Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences will dive into interactions with vocal things in our cities.

The projects nicely tab in both cities of things like the notion we need to inverse the digital twin into physical values. This is what we are looking at for ThingsCon this year (scheduled for 9 & 10 June) too as I mentioned last week too. We will send out more details later this week in our newsletter.

Next to updates on the MUC AMS field lab project we had the official kick-off with the partners in the above-mentioned Cities of Things Lab010 field lab. We were guests at Gemaal op Zuid in Afrikaanderwijk, one of the locations to dive into Cities of Things co-design. We had a very good session aligning all plans and intentions.

I visited a session on Radicle Civics for a Flourishing Society which delivers some interesting points on structures, social contracts, and trojan horses. You can watch the whole session on YouTube. The reflections were very interesting, and the introduction by Indy Johar was very rich. Framing Things as Citizens is of course always a win 🙂

Also last week AMS-institute organized a scientific conference-themed Reinventing the City. I joined a couple of sessions over the course of the days in between other meetings (as you do, the pro and cons at the same time of online conferences…). I don’t know if the sessions will be shared. Would be nice, if only to be able to watch some of the other parallel sessions. 

Continue reading Weeknotes 180; cell-powered mathematical collaborators

Weeknotes 179; touching robot creatures

Welcome to another week! Covid measures are loosening up in several places. Here in the Netherlands, we see that people go more and more outside again, the number of people getting infected is still quite huge and definitions have been shifted what mild corona means; I am still lucky not to have been ill (knock-on-wood…).

Meetups and events are also bouncing back a bit towards in-person gatherings. Still, a lot of online events to join all over the world, see below.


In other news, I mentioned the Mozfest session last week that is planned for 11 March. I still need to find out how I can add Maria Luce to the facilitators/speakers. I am very happy she will be doing an introduction on human-robot interactions in a critical design context.

Last week I missed the publishing interview in a Dutch newspaper, it is the local edition of AD for the city of Utrecht and I was asked to reflect on the future of mobility and public transport in the city of Utrecht. It can be read in Dutch on the website.

Viktor thanks for inviting me to the design f®iction workshop session about urban tech and food futures. A little impression of a first preparing session for the workshop beginning of March. Having new uses of food waste to create more circular food does raise the question of how to remove the framing of waste but take the afterlife of freshness as part of the chain. And is real fresh food more vulnerable to becoming waste than fabricated nutritions? 

Furthermore, we had made some nice progress with Munich Amsterdam field lab plans and sessions, and Demie officially started her graduation project linked to the field lab CityLab010.

Continue reading Weeknotes 179; touching robot creatures

Weeknotes 178; new skins

Welcome to this week. Last week was a bit different due to unexpected and sad family matters. And I skipped some activities. I keep the newsletter a bit shorter this week.

I did manage to complete a new update of Cities of Things newsletter. I touched upon the roles of relations and the aspects of agency in complex interactions ruled by AI. It feels like it deserves more fleshing out sometime, will do that for sure.

It is nice we can do a session at Mozfest on 11 March discussing Cities of Things on a neighborhood level, hopefully having a broad audience to get insights from other cultures around the world.

We also discussed more in-depth the first plans for the ThingsCon summer edition; we are feeling a lot with the theme and format. Expect more details later this month. You can write down a date: 9 & 10 June.

Upcoming this week

This week will be the mix of MUC-AMS and Lab010 field lab projects, student supervising, and shaping new initiatives hopefully.

On the event calendar, I saw Interaction popping up, again this year with an online edition, which makes the ticket price a bit more approachable. In about 3 weeks.

The General Seminar sessions I mentioned before. NFL planned 3 in this month. I will join the Solarpunk one next week. The NFT one (23rd February) seems to have a few spots open. Speculative Futures Amsterdam is relaunching next week too. Also next week: Reinventing the City.

News from last week

Some great articles were captured from the Ethical Futures Lab newsletter. You can find them below but I like to give them a shout-out separately.

Continue reading Weeknotes 178; new skins

Weeknotes 177; meta clouds

Welcome in February! The first month has passed rapidly. Time to look back to the developments with a Cities of Things Lens, Friday the Cities of Things Reflections 22-01 will drop in your mailbox (if you are subscribed of course (for free)).

Personal updates

Here we look back at last week. After a week with relative a lot of meetings in-person, last week was a mix with online again. Slowly it becomes the new normal that was predicted, although the common trends seem more moving towards the old normal. The first drinks on location were a nice experience; although the inside space was quickly full and we got rather cold after a couple of drinks. But well, it is still rather precarious.

The winter seminar on Tuesday on sharing bikes, with the ‘inventor’ of the OV-fiets, the famously shared bike scheme of the Dutch Railway was nicely warm out of the home. Ronald Haverman did a good job sharing some aspects of the future of shared mobility. How the Chinese supplier Mobike was more an investment product (3 billion worldwide), how the city scale is not the important factor for success, but the neighborhood density is. How it will be hard to get the business model of Mobility as a Service healthy as you are always adding an extra service provider that needs to be paid. The bikes need to be as standard as possible with a flexible service architecture. And as the last statement, I wrote down: if you want to sell a sharing bike scheme as a sustainable solution you need to avoid electrified bikes and scooters. All the logistics of charging bring only extra rides then less.

To keep it with micromobility, I still need to watch the presentations of Micromobility online event.

There was a nice session of Advier on Gen Z and Gen Y differences mainly by Herman Konings. For instance, the financial services approach: Gen Z differs from Millennials (Y). Gen Z is more about planning financial futures than Millennials and more interested in the personal side of banking (again); face-2-face contact.

Continue reading Weeknotes 177; meta clouds

Weeknotes 176; dive in urban design

Welcome back. In this weekly update again an overview of articles I think are interesting reads. Potentially. And some looking back and ahead to events and other happenings. Closing with a paper.

Updates from last week

Last week I was happy to meet with a lot of partners in the MUC AMS project and tune the expectations and plans. We aim for a session in March in Amsterdam and May in Munich, if all is going well of course. Drop me a line if you are not on the mailing lists but like to be involved in the field lab activities in any form. Or just are curious.

I had some other meetings learning about interesting initiatives and was interviewed on the future of urban mobility for a local newspaper.

The session on Web3 by Sensemakers was very nice. It also confirmed the notion that web3 is still being shaped and is leaning heavenly on the financial side of being ‘owner’. A different type of ownership mixing stake and co-shaping is still something to explore. I took the moment to secure iskandr.eth and discover again the high amounts of gas fee you still need for every mutation on web3.

In the sessions on cooperations versus collectives building the city on Monday some of these topics were well addressed too. And some of the problems that emerged as we only see citizens as clients, even by municipalities.

Plans for this week

Not too many events happening this week, at least not on my calendar. London IoT is online again this evening (Tuesday). I will try to check out the winter webinar on bike-sharing. If you are into LoraWAN tech TTN organizes a small event this Friday.

Apply for the Low Carbon Institute summer virtual residency if you are into this topic and have time for a deep dive. I did visit some sessions and saw some of the outcomes that were very nice.

Check out the new book of James Bridle. Ways of Being, beyond human intelligence. Not yet there, but great to look forward to.

Continue reading Weeknotes 176; dive in urban design

Weeknotes 175; web3 critiques

Welcome to the new week! Now 2022 has started for real. Still, some prediction blogs are dropping but most have been published and we can start monitoring the expectations for web3 and other big stories. And we can say that Wordle has officially become hype overnight with a media frenzy about monetizing on other ideas. Nothing new but it was very quick.

These are not the typical topics I like to focus on in this newsletter though. I try to keep the focus on the phygital (I don’t know about this term), intelligence, post-human societies, and robotics.

Continue reading Weeknotes 175; web3 critiques

Weeknotes 168; some fundamentals

Thanks for subscribing, welcome to the newsletter of 29 November, edition 168 already! Sometimes I wonder about the first one. The first one in this series was on 15 June 2015 I see. Just with links. “Tech is disappearing” is the opening. And links are already about AI and ethics and devices.

The first time I made a monthly trend report as an internal document at INFO was in 2001 (26 January to be precise) I just found out. Forgot about that. These days everything was about making websites. The trends looked already further; the themes I defined were “Services via Internet”, “Peer-to-peer”, “Smart products”, “Information overload”, “Mobile Internet”, “Security and Governance”, and “Personalized”. The growth towards broadband Internet was still a thing. To quote my own writing from 2 decades ago about smart products (Deepl translated from Dutch):

The cleverness is not in a screen on your refrigerator for browsing, but rather in a hot air/microwave oven that can quickly or perfectly bake a meal according to personal needs. Albert Heijn can put the perfect settings for the oven online in addition to the special turbo chef meals. And if it is now linked to the Internet, you can, with linking your profile and the meal code, cook in a really relaxed way if you don’t feel like bringing up your culinary skills. The development of other devices that use the Internet is reinforced by the saturated market of personal computers in the US.”

Ok. Back to our times. Still wondering about the future of smart products or connected products. ThingsCon started in 2014 and end of next week 10 December the 8th edition of the conference organized by the Dutch team will take place. Just like last year only in an online format and rather compact, but I think still a nice thing to join. Check the program here.

This week you can check the yearly NGI Policy Summit; theme “Redistribute the internet”. Last year we did a little interactive session with the ThingsCon team and this year it is spread over three days with some promising sessions. Check the program here.

Other events this week worth mentioning: The Hmm; I still haven’t been able to visit an event from start to finish, maybe this week. I am always curious and confused at the same time by their communication tbh. It is parallel though with General Seminar.

Last I missed the evening events myself; the promise of being able to watch later makes it too easy to skip… And too busy with other activities (ThingsConCities of Things field labs, a research project with Waag, discussing new proposals and corporations).

Let’s dive into the news of last week… (via Revue)

Weeknotes 167; new relations

Welcome to the new week! Thanks for subscribing and reading. A short look back to last week and look ahead to what to expect and do this week.

To start with the latter. We are on the verge of a new covid-lockdown in the Netherlands, so online conferences and events are becoming the default again. We also had to decide this for ThingsCon (10 December) last week; the in-person workshops and audience is hard to organize now and might be even harder beginning of December. We cannot take that risk, so we decided to focus on a short online program and hope for a full conference in spring. Be sure to join us for the online program, I expect it will be great though! Don’t forget to register!

This week you can join also Iterations, a conference on creative coding if you are into that. Also another AiTech Agora on Wednesday on aligning human norms and AI. In Pakhuis De Zwijger you can join Tegenlicht Live (in Dutch) on sun-powered cars. Tuesday London IOT can be followed live too.

So far for the coming week. Last week I had to miss most of the workshop DEI4EAI I mentioned last week. It was good to talk one on one with a lot of potential German partners for the Munich Amsterdam field lab initiative.

I also published a monthly update of the Cities of Things Newsletter on embodied reality with (or thru) citythings.

What else was interesting to read last week? The right to repair reached Apple with all the second agendas a principle good thing. And some interesting thoughts and reads on the relation with tech and the consequences for interactions and the making (Via Revue).

Weeknotes 166; web3 or metaverse?

Hi all. Welcome to this weekly update. The update on weekly activities can be short as I was off a couple of days last week. I did visit Eindhoven for Glow which was a nice experience. Less crowded or at least less mass experience without a fixed route. I never had to show my QR-code that many times before. The quality of the works differed as always, some were quite nice, others mwah. Let me share one: Drop of Light by Gijs van Bon. He combined lasers and falling water beams in perfect harmony to create flying diamonds. The nice part next to the stunning visual effects was that it was operated live in a nice co-performance of technology and human.

COP26 was a big thing last week of course. And not for nothing, the importance is clear. The results were weak according to a lot. Signals of change might be there, but is it enough on time? Are we still making a world that caters to human life (scroll to the end for a possible answer)?

And then we had the new covid-measures announced. I was happy to be at Glow on time. We will announce soon what measures will have an impact on ThingsCon Boutique of Salons, but we will change plans as we cannot count on the ending of these measures on the 4th of December. Keep an eye on the newsletter of the website this week!

What else to do this week? I saw some nice tweets pass by from IAM Weekend in Barcelona. I might check out their online program that runs thru Thursday. I think I mentioned the DEI4EAI workshop last week I think. On Thursday ICAI is organizing AI & Mobility in NL and an online lunch session.

Ok, let’s dive into the news of last week (via Revue).

Weeknotes 165; hot robot collabs

Thanks for subscribing! Let me share with you another short update and interesting news bits of last week.

First: we just opened the registration for ThingsCon 2021 officially today (I announced last week already). With all the changes in Covid-19 rulings it is not easy to organize an in-person event and it is still not sure what the latest rulings will be. So it will be flexible; I hope we can do the in-person workshops like we planned them, otherwise we change to fully online…

Check the latest on the program and registration at our website.

Next to finalising this last week was a week with planning activities, discussing field lab project, student meetings, etc. I did not attend any events or watched products announcements like the week before. I did visit the freshly opened Depot museum though. Officially not primarily a museum of course, but a art depot made public. You could think about scenarios where this will be part of a kind of metaverse experience too but I can say you will miss a lot of experience of the building. 

This week I will be a couple of days off but will check out Glow in Eindhoven. It is a kind of tradition to do this although it is getting busier and busier. Last year it was cancelled of course so curious to see the turn out this year…

Checking some agendas I see you can attend a session on the digi-mens at De Zwijger in Amsterdam, linked to Tegenlicht tv doc last evening. I need to rewatch that. It seems to focus on the possibilities to create a human face representation to interface with robots or VR-avatars. I am not so sure about this approach; let the robots be robots :)

On Thursday IAM Weekend will start both in-person in Barcelona as online.If you are into proposing workshops, know that the MozFest deadline is extended to this weekend. Mozfest will take place in Amsterdam and online next year in March. Key theme is trustworthy AI, very relevant.

Ok, let’s dive into some interesting news articles of last week (via Revue).