Weeknotes 189

Hi all! Happy Kingsday. In case you celebrate this tomorrow located in the Netherlands, it is the first full-fletched Kingsday. Last year we had a kind of evening lockdown as I remember well. So I am curious about what it will be like this year. We ‘practiced’ partying last weekend in the first clubbing night in years. Felt strange but soon normal again.

At the time of writing, I am in a conference place in Brabant to discuss some possible future plans and collaborations in a short design sprint. I am part of the preparing team and moderating what results in this somewhat shorter newsletter.

Last week was a short week with easter et al. With a scattered program of activities. With Kars and others, I discussed the current state of responsible tech developments (looking back and forward at Techsolidarity). It was nice to see the 50% presentation of the Technical Informatics students of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. They are developing the wizard-of-oz platform for citythings further with ‘viewing capabilities’. Demie completed the after movie of the hackathon with the same explorations in citythings. Activities are very well connected there now, and will be even more it seems (later more).

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Weeknotes 188; little signals and home robotics

Hello all. I hope you had a pleasant Easter time. Here we had an extra day off on Monday dedicated to Easter brunches and enjoying a warm spring day. Biking around Amsterdam Noord, to experience the new developments of Buiksloterham and around, that I can see from home on the other side of the river IJ. It is changing fast. It left a bit less time than usual to go through the captured news items…

Last week was quite a regular mix of planning and updating on the field labs, and sitting with students to check their progress. Like the technical informatics student team (University from Applied Sciences Amsterdam) working on a project to dive into interactions with vocal things based on applied AI. Work on the organizing for ThingsCon too.

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Weeknotes 187; computing plants

Hello all. Thanks for reading. We are looking back on another impactful week, especially with all the global developments. One of the important things is not to normalize the war. Just because of the horrible consequences every day, but also because it is impacting our current and future lives. In the monthly update newsletter, I wrote for Cities of Things I relate the developments to the direct consequences for the balance of agency between humans and tech.

The presentation by James Bridle at Strp Festival was a very relevant project in this context. It was great as ever. The artifacts in the gallery were a bit hard to grasp without the presentation so I was lucky to be able to experience that. Bridle’s latest project Serverfarm is very inspiring.

In a smaller context, the hackathon that we organized within the program of CityLab010 project together with Creating010 (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences) touched upon the social design role of autonomous objects in the city. Check the post here.

Other activities last week were the graduation ceremony of Lisa Stevens who designed (and researched) a tool for youngsters to be more aware of their pensions in the future, building upon the notion of predictive knowledge. Congrats also here to Lisa for finishing the project.

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Weeknotes 186; robot as best friend

Hi all! Another week with terrible images of a war that feels only to ramp up… Images that will be hard to unsee, I’m afraid. I also found this video on “How Kyiv lives under the Russian siege” impressive, not with graphic images but with the sneaking-up impact.

Switching back to daily life here as you do. Relations of human and nonhumans in presenting on integrated systems for the Avans students on Monday. And shaping the ThingsCon Summer Edition on the physical twin, visiting the new location, sending out a newsletter, and opening the early bird ticket sales.

Continuing organizing the hackathon for this Friday during IoT Rotterdam, preparing for a fun experience that will teach about people’s interactions and smart urban-things (register to join here). Looking back at the MUCAMS session and planning for the session at MCBW in Munich.

Looking into the further future by visiting the Superflux exhibition, see below.

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Weeknotes 185; quantum and (retiring) robotics

Hi all! Welcome to edition 185 of this installment of the weeknotes, for some time now published every Tuesday morning early. 

Last week I had a short week as I took two days off for a round trip in the Dutch hills in Limburg. Just after we had a workshop organized as part of the field lab Cities of Things MUC-AMS(Munich Amsterdam). The field lab is in the planning stage in the sense that we are developing a vision and concept for a bottom-up intelligence-driven platform for neighborhoods to manage local logistics and buffer storage.

We had a really nice session where we presented the vision to stakeholders and partners in both Amsterdam and Munich and discussed the key characteristics to start this as a pilot later this year. What are the right questions to address? How to design for the people by the people of a neighborhood? Who to involve to start building the pilot.

Central in the session was a visualization of the vision; the Collect|Connect Community Hub, positioned in two Amsterdam neighborhoods. We went home with some concrete possible next steps and contacts to realize the plans. Next up will be a further iteration and a workshop on 16 May in Munich to connect to the local stakeholders even more. I keep you posted!

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Weeknotes 184; new infrastructures

Dear readers. Welcome to another weeknotes with capture of interesting (imho) news bits and a short update of activities and events. And I end with a paper of the week.

Updates of last week

I followed SXSW from a distance this year, after the online edition of 2021. From the people that were there, and the articles I read, this edition was definitely much quieter and the whole global tension played a role too. The event has new owners but it seemed not to have had an impact. My FOMO was nog so huge but I might still consider picking up the un-even-year cycle again.

I did not attend an event last week as expected in the weeknotes of last week, as there was not that much on the agenda, or at least on mine. I did attend a graduation presentation at TU Delft Industrial Design of Jael Lorenzo Sprinkhuizen. It was not a student I was supervising, but in the beginning, we had a chat if it would fit. It turned out to be a very nice project, he received a very good grade, not for nothing. His topic was “Living with Micro Mobility in 2030” as a speculative design that aims to sketch the role of micromobility in the future city and the relations with citizens, leading to three design criteria for the designers of micromobility objects like Springtime, the company. The most interesting part was his explorations on what an object can trigger as soon as it has not had a dedicated owner, it is a community object. The interaction people could have with the vehicles did more for defining the shared space than having an ultra-functional mobility solution. And that was very interesting. You can find his report here: PDF.

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Weeknotes 183; commoning AI

Hi all. You sometimes think that the moment has passed, and you missed the impact. I felt like one of the few that did not catch covid. But it seems there is a final round now, so many people did catch it last week as I heard. And I am one. Luckily that I don’t really feel sick. A light fever, one day chilly, and less energy. And a bit of a cold that can touch my voice. Especially last Friday, just at moment we had the Mozfest workshop… I think it did not really impact the flow and we had a lovely and intimate session.

In the middle of the week, I participated in a session at Amsterdam UAS and had dinner with the group, all on food commoning supported by AI systems, organized by Viktor. The workshop was super rich and triggered some good thoughts on AI systems in relation to commons, distribution, and communities which has a lot of relevance for the field lab projects that focus on Cities of Things neighborhood services. I will keep you updated as soon as there is a publication or report.

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Weeknotes 182; contesting autonomy

Hello. Two weeks in the world crisis. I keep continuing exploring the new and future and diving into human-tech relations. In my monthly newsletter on Cities of Things, I explored some of the aspects of agency in an AI world that can be a dangerous iteration on the information war that this Putin war is. At least in the first phase.

Updates of last week

Next to the usual work with graduation students and planning of new projects, it was nice to meet with a new group of students that will explore the intelligent interactions with street objects for the Applied AI minor of Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

We had an inspirational visit to a possible location for this year’s ThingsCon Summer edition. As it is not 100% confirmed I will share details next week probably. And the newsletter end of the month will share more on the program. You can subscribe!

I saw the presentation of Kars on Contestable AI and the role of these approaches in the design and understanding of AI systems. Very useful; find more information on the website.

I was invited to share some thoughts on trends with a group of students from the MILE program.

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Weeknotes 181; human-intellitech co-performance

This is a repost from the weekly newsletter on Revue.

Hi all. This was a crazy week. Still is. As I schedule this post end of Monday evening or so it might happen a lot when you read this on Tuesday. How important is everything? It is a feeling you probably all have. On the other hand; stopping everything is also not helpful, terminating normal life from a distance does not feel right too. There is of course also always discussion about how genuine these responses are, posting a flag or something on social media. I do not like to judge. If it helps to express something that is not possible in another form, then it is fine I think.

Should I say anything or remove this? I leave it for now. And I think I keep on living here, proceeding with my normal activities, and at the same time keep aware, donate something more, be open to real needs. And hope for the best…

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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. 

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