What happened last week? It was quiet with the graduation students, one is finalizing for graduation this week, another is planning for a green-light this week, two others are have these moment is end of September. I will update the DDL Cities of Things website soon as a project finishes.
Last thing to mention is the Robophilosophy conference organized by Aarhus University. Interesting to see how they solved the online conference experience. A mixture of live presentations and discussions, and pre-recorded talks. The talks were – as usual with academic conferences – linked to the accepted papers in the program. The discussion sessions tried to combine papers in themes like Design, Moral Robots, Ethics, etc. These sessions were very formatted with strict time-limits for the speakers. That was good to prevent long winding answers, but on the other hand, it did prevent a real discussion to happen IMHO.
I did not have time to follow all sessions. I liked the session of Aimee Van Wynsberghe, John Danaher, Selma Sabanovic. The latter stressed how robots are a means for humans to communicate, and you can in that sense use robots for building communities. Aimee introduced the notion of reciprocity in the interaction with robots, as mean to create social systems. Design for reciprocity should be part of design for HRI (Human-Robot Interactions). I was wondering how this relates to the notion of co-performance that Kuijer and Giaccardi described. I think there is an interesting different approach to look into: with co-performance there is a mutual goal.
Danaher did a good final presentation as he dived into the question how social robots change our values. I don’t have the answer yet. Danaher sketched the roles of robots in relation to agency: from tools (negative agency) to supervised (low agency), interdependent (high agency) and reflective (moral agency). I might need to chew a bit more on this.
In the news I share here I have always some robotics topics, every week new instances of robot companions are introduced so it seems, gradually but surely taking a place in our lives…
Temperature is dropping, and we are slowly getting out of vacation times. There was not a lot last week to right about so I keep it short. I missed the new format of Pivot podcast I’m following for tome time. The Pivot Schooled edition are five longer edition with some high-profile guests. It costs 30 dollars for all five; this week Uber CEO will going have a discussion with the founder of gig-workers collective. I am curious how it will be.
Also this week a new academic conference on Robot philosophy. This fits very well the topics of this newsletter so I will have a look at a couple of sessions for sure. It is also an slightly different setup from the DIS online conference I ‘attended’ earlier: all presentations are recorded, but there are live discussion sessions you can attend. It is too bad I did not have an excuse to go to Aarhus, the organising university, but it is on the other hand a lot cheaper (registration is 10 euro).
We are also very busy planning some events for ThingsCon. Of course our annual event that will happen in December in an online format. More on that beginning of September I expect as we open also call for participation. Next week Thursday we will have a smaller gathering in the form of a workshop we organize together with IoT Eindhoven on ‘Building Trustable and Responsible Technology Business’. Check more information and RSVP at the meetup page.
Together with the Smart Cities team of The Hague we are organizing a Salon end of September (24, 15-17h) on responsible onboarding public digital ecosystems. All on their living lab Scheveningen. Read more at the meetup-page. As soon as there are more details, I will share these of course here too.
Let’s dive into the news of last week. Futuring and robots are the main drivers of the news here. And some track & trace at the moment that the COVID-app is introduced in the app stores here in the Netherlands. I expect some articles next week on that. I have installed the app but disabled the functioning for now, as I am still not totally convinced I need to support the initiative. More on that next week, on with the robots etc.
Vacation version of this newsletter. It is not me that is on vacation, but the rest of the world is for sure. I think last and this week is peak vacation, next week things are starting up and preparing for the new year.
However, the news was intense with the Beirut explosion that was almost felt like a live experience. Combining all the footage will make it into a frightening AR experience (not too soon I hope, or better never).
Also: Reels is there. TikTok competitor on Instagram. The battle begins now for real (no pun intended): experience vs status. You now see that the ‘professional’ Tiktok-makers refer to Instagram-accounts to make money out of their videos. But the experience of a Tiktok stream is some much more appealing as Reels is now. Read this great essay on TikTok cultural tricks.
Finally, to follow-up last weeks announcement of my visit to Boymans Drive-Thru museum at Ahoy. The super short review: it is a fun experience. And the experience is more about the setting than the art. Partly because it misses background information on the pieces itself. It is interesting how it changes your relation with the art if you are trapped in a cocoon…
I did not capture as much news items as usually, which is fine. Still some nice and interesting reads….
Nothing will remain hidden…. Especially when you focus on poo-tracking apparently. We learned before that our sewage system is an early indicator for COVID cases, here some other use… “An orbiter saw signs of almost a dozen previously uncounted colonies in Antarctica, boosting known numbers for a threatened species. The discoveries were made by spotting the distinctive red-brown guano patches the birds leave on the ice.”
Is it a hack or a form of citizen participation you could debate: “by reverse engineering apps intended for cyclists, security researchers found they could cause delays in at least 10 cities from anywhere in the world.”
Let me share this here too. I think it is interesting indeed to think about the role of audio as AR and especially in combination with edge-computing on devices like the AirPod. The next generation might very well be extended with a GPS and accelerometer and intelligent behavior to switch between personal (noice cancelled), social (transparency) and AR-mode.
I shared the society-centered design before as it came out, in this post they explain what design choices were made for a compelling manifesto. Useful in case you might up to creating a manifesto some time.
Not directly related to intelligent systems, IoT or robotics or life automation, to name a few of the common themes in this newsletter. But it is looking very nice and it is about possilble futures for cities, so I think it fits: “A building of Bangkok’s Thammasat University is now home to Asia’s largest rooftop farm.”
Nice to share the Tis.tv newsletter for one time. Often nicely curated videos combining new and known in a theme. This one is about the new tools for making online meeting more exciting. The version of this week is on delivery robots, but those you all have seen in this newsletter before of course :-)
Last week I attended as planned the online seminar of Stacey on IoT with some nice panels with the theme Everything is Connected. The panels had good line-ups and it did a nice mixture of business in IoT with a touch on responsible implementations. I think it made clear how defining the services are for the IoT and both the design as the orchestration in partnerships brings challenges and opportunities. Due to the time difference, I could not experience roundtable discussions but luckily the video can be watched online.
I had to think about the book of Thinking in Services of Majid Iqbal of last year that also makes very clear how new types of things are not physical objects but services. Thinging in services.
On Thursday, I watched the NGI Forward session on ‘Dialogues on Digital Identity’ (watch replay) discussing what identities mean in times of fluid assemblages. This connects to that notion of services too. How do you know that the one that is onboarding your service is genuine? How to trust? With AI in the mix, it makes no sense to create ethical frameworks to regulate technology but focus on the processes. An important part of the conversation was on the question of centralized vs decentralized identity management. The UX of trust is super important.
We are looking into this topic too for the next ThingsCon event, a workshop on the Code of Trust on the 2nd of September. I will share the details next week. This week summer has really kicked in and there are no (online) events on my calendar. However, I look forward to visiting the temporary exposition of the Boymans Ahoy Drive-thru museum that only can be visited driving in electric cars. I will let you know how it was (or follow me on Instagram and you will see some pictures/stories for sure :-) )
Maybe a bit off-topic, rather analog however the cars are electric. But not autonomous. Maybe an idea for car-makers for the future. Robot news is there of course as all weeks.
For some years I send out newsletters via Getrevue. I started doing this weekly this year again. This week I start by sharing this newsletter also via my blog. One of the reasons is a possible revival of the RSS reader for reading and having this as blogposts here makes it possible for you to subscribe to this in your favorite reader. I hope this fulfills a need, and if not, it is a nice way to archive :-)
As a quick update of activities: as announced I participated in a DIS workshop on Expressive/Sensitive interactions with robotic objects. The workshop was well prepared and showed again the value of breakout rooms and a strict Miro template. Aspects of agency, contextual interactions, illusions of life where discussed. The value of these kinds of workshops is not in a specific outcome but finding common grounds with different researchers to kick-off more specific partnerships for the future. Looking forward to the follow-up!
Furthermore, this week is about catching up with graduation projects in the Cities of Things Delft Design Lab and developing the next step for the research. And we are discussing ThingsCon activities that are planned for August, September, and our annual event in December.
On with the news. Enough to share I think. Hiding robots, challenging COVID-tracking, and spatial interfaces. Some eye-candy and the 48 rules of Powerpoint.