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!

Continue reading Weeknotes 185; quantum and (retiring) robotics

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…

Continue reading Weeknotes 181; human-intellitech co-performance

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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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.

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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.

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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