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 174; robotics as consumer electronics

Hi all! If you are just returning from a holiday break, welcome back! As announced last week, the publishing moment for this newsletter will be Tuesday at 7 am from now on as I am pretty sure I will be able to make that every week. The contents of this newsletter, including a new item at the end: paper of the week

  • Updates from last week
  • Plans for this week
  • Noticed news from last week
  • Paper of the week

Updates from last week

Slow and quiet week to start in the new year. I noticed a lot of people are in vacation mode still. I used the week to look a bit ahead to the year, writing a first draft manifesto for Cities of Things and a plan for quarterly events. More on that soon I hope. I also visited the Amsterdam Light Festival and I think it was even busier than in times without lockdowns. Or it seems so. It is a reprise edition so most of the pieces I had seen before, but still a good occasion for a 7 km walk through the city. Magere Brug and Darth Fisher are the highlights for me I think.

We completed also the after movie of ThingsCon 2021 which gives a good impression of the very nice event. We start planning our next event soon and maybe set a date. You can subscribe to our newsletter to keep updated specifically.

Plans for this week

More meetings this week. Some in-person even planned. The field lab projects of Cities of Things are progressing.

As mentioned last week, I plan to attend parts of Micromobility World 2022 as it is an online event again, taking place here in the evening due to time zones. Friday TU Delft will have its yearly Dies Natalis. This year a lot of buzz was initiated by some old alumni for the wrong reasons (imho). Not going into the details, if you find it interesting you can read this overview.

To plan for next week: Sensemakers on Web3.

Noticed news of last week

Let’s make a selection of CES-related news, I add a few introductions that go beyond the gadget phase. Even without some big players’ live present, there was quite some news. Some I shared already last week as it was announced before.

Continue reading Weeknotes 174; robotics as consumer electronics

2022; groundhog iterations into the new year

Traditions. Looking ahead into the new year. It is a fine tradition I think. Not to pretend to be able to make predictions all right, it is not a competition, but set your mind in another mode.
Last year I did more than ever forecasts on developments in mobility and energy, autonomous systems, and mailboxes, all furthermore in the future, like 2030, 2040, or 2050 even. Doing these is always arbitrary too. You try to spot bigger developments and weak signals as the innovations for the next 20 years started today, and the future is a continuum, meaning that a future state is a framing of a moment on a future time.

It is also said before: some of the consequences of turning society into a virus defense mode is like a speeding up of longer predicted changes like e-commerce, homework, video calling replacing normal call, and more. But other developments were frustrated; the mobility hubs with social communicating are setback with everyone working from home.

So what to say about 2021 2022? Let me first set a frame; I am focusing on our relationship with intelligent and autonomous operating technology. The Cities of Things Lab that we have been building and will continue to bring into practice with a field lab is the context of the explorations. Nevertheless, I like to keep a broad spectrum to watch, as everything is connected, and the weak signals can be found in all kinds of changes.

Continue reading 2022; groundhog iterations into the new year

Weeknotes 173; a new year

Happy new year! Thanks for being a reader this year again. I hope I will be able to serve you inspiration and useful links again this year via this newsletter (thanks Stacey for the nice words on Twitter!). I am always thinking about the format of this newsletter. Balancing between a personal update on my activities and the impressions of the news. I think the latter is the most important for you readers, but some context is nice too I reckon, as it is a personal newsletter after all :-) 

Personal updates

Sharing my calendar of events and reporting on the ones I visited will remain an important part. Adding personal reflections to the articles and reasoning why it is interesting to share is something I think is important.

These updates remain also a source for my Monthly reflections on the Cities of Things that I post in a separate newsletter (thanks Peet for the nice words on Linkedin!). One of my work-related new year’s resolutions is to establish a manifesto(-like) document for the Cities of Things (collection of objects make intelligence, relations over nodes, sharing goals, value power of non-human contributions, to name some top-of-mind). Will feed back into this newsletter too.

So let’s dive into the new year together, and as a slight change of formatting: let me use some headings for different parts (adding ‘personal updates’ now).

Continue reading Weeknotes 173; a new year

Weeknotes 172; predictive systems

Happy holiday break! At least, that is it for me. So this week I skip a full newsletter but I share the articles I captured during the week roughly. Normally I use my Sunday evening and Monday to go through the newsletters and RSS feeds of last week, but I respect my holidays… I finished a planned-to-be-Monthly update though for Cities of Things. It feels it can use some more work but I share it as a moment of refecting; the Web3-ownership model deserves fleshing out more; we had some first thought exchange at General Seminar of last week on stewardship vs ownership vs responsibility. I might update the post later ;-)

For now let me wish you a great year-ending although we are still in a lockdown here, so no big parties and no fireworks… See you in 2022!

10 – predictive systems shaping an ownership economy
“In this reflective blog I like to dive into one of the fundamental concepts of Cities of Things that is touched upon in several posts but deserve a specific fleshing out I think; the active and initiating role of the bottom-up based network of objects that builds a Cities of Things, what makes a Cities of Things stand out other smart city concepts.”
The Web3 Renaissance: A Golden Age for Content – by Li Jin
Good overview of the shift Web3 is all about, and a starting point for reflection.
‘Starting to freak us out’: Robot’s realistic response stuns engineers – NZ Herald
“Engineers behind a new Ameca robot have admitted its realism was ‘freaky’” It is by design I would say…
Mobileye Launches Pilot For Autonomous, On-Demand Car Service In Paris
“Riders will be able to use the service through Moovit, the Israeli smart transit data company Intel bought last year.”

Back with full edition next week!