reflections update

April reflections and update

Following the method of last Month, I again asked the AI-intern (ChatGPT-4) to reflect on the different weekly thoughts at Target is New, through the lense of the Cities of Things Manifesto. I continued the conversation a bit with my own feelings about last Month, as an important moment with two long-expected AI-enhanced devices finding their way to customers and reviewers. Humane and Rabbit make different choices in the way they interact with the environment and with the user. The technology and execution are both rather flaky and more of an alpha version, but it gives some views into a future for wearable technology as an extension of our current phone practice.

Here is the conversation, I end with some ‘human’ reflections 🙂

Image hallucinated by Midjourned based on autonomous behaving objects.

GPT: “I’ve accessed the Cities of Things Manifesto, which outlines key principles for understanding and designing cities integrated with intelligent systems and things. These principles emphasize the importance of relationships and interactions between humans and non-human entities, the role of predictive knowledge in these interactions, and the design focus on co-performance and societal impact. You can view the full manifesto here.

Now, let’s move on to finding the sources from the four posts you mentioned. I’ll open and retrieve the relevant information from those links.

The first post, “Weeknotes 283 – more or less human through AI?”, reflects on human and AI interactions, focusing on dependence on algorithms, particularly in social media, and the metaphorical implications of this interaction in daily life. The reflection includes references to talks and videos, which discuss human responsibility in an AI-driven world, co-performance with technology, and perspectives on designing relationships with AI. This ties into the Cities of Things manifesto by emphasizing the interplay and co-dependence between humans and intelligent systems. You can read the full post here.

I will now retrieve information from the next post.

The second post, “Weeknotes 284 – LMM devices; magic or magicians?”, explores the evolving landscape of AI-enabled devices and their integration into daily life. The discussion includes thoughts on new product categories like multimodal physical spatial AI devices, the effectiveness of AI in decision-making, and reflects on past technological innovations like Google Glass. It links back to the Cities of Things manifesto by examining the potential of these technologies to shape human interactions and the environment. You can explore the full details here.

Now, I’ll retrieve information from the next post.

The third post, “Weeknotes 285 – subtle robotic interventions for intense neighborhood communities”, discusses the use of robotic interventions to enhance community engagement in neighborhoods. It highlights student projects that focus on creating robots that foster community interaction rather than simply performing tasks. These projects align with the Cities of Things manifesto by emphasizing robots as partners in societal functions rather than mere tools. You can access the complete article here.

Let’s proceed to the final post.

The fourth post, “Weeknotes 286 – blurring as a service of tangible AI”, delves into the application of AI in society, highlighting its societal impact, the balance between innovation and public good, and the evolution of user interfaces to become more adaptive and generative. These themes resonate with the Cities of Things manifesto by focusing on the integration of AI into daily life and its implications for social structures and individual agency. For an in-depth look, you can read the full article here.

These four posts collectively explore different facets of the interaction between humans and AI, reflecting on how these technologies can reshape societal structures, which is central to the principles outlined in the Cities of Things manifesto.

Me: “An important topic and development last month was the product introductions and first uses by tech journalists of AI-enabled devices like Humane, Rabbit r1, and the new AI-enhanced version of Meta glasses. Looking at the ideas of Cities of Things on living together with intelligent objects as part of our city life, this a crucial step towards embodied artificial intelligence. With the four articles in the back of our mind, can you elaborate of potential impact for the Cities of Things, as defined through the manifesto?

What would be follow-up questions to keep track of when looking at these AI-enabled devices and the proposed action-based large language models?

GPT: The introduction of AI-enabled devices like Humane, Rabbit r1, and the new AI-enhanced Meta glasses marks a significant step toward the integration of intelligent objects into daily life, in line with the Cities of Things manifesto. These devices embody artificial intelligence in ways that can reshape city life by fostering more interactive, responsive environments. According to the manifesto’s principles, such technologies could enhance the co-performance between humans and machines, creating new forms of collaboration and mutual support in urban settings. They could also contribute to predictive interactions where the environment anticipates human needs and behaviors, potentially improving efficiency and personalization of city services. This could lead to a richer, more connected urban experience, but also raises important questions about privacy, agency, and the balance of power between humans and intelligent systems.

When monitoring the development and integration of AI-enabled devices and action-based large language models, consider the following questions to keep track of their impact in accordance with the Cities of Things manifesto:

1. How are these devices enhancing human capabilities and daily interactions? Examine whether these technologies are extending human senses, cognition, and actions in beneficial ways.

2. What measures are in place to ensure privacy and security? Given the increased data these devices collect, it’s crucial to assess how privacy is maintained and what safeguards are against data breaches.

3. How is agency distributed between humans and these intelligent systems? Explore whether these devices support human decision-making or if they could potentially lead to over-reliance and reduced human autonomy.

4. What is the societal impact of these technologies? Consider how they are shaping social norms, urban development, and whether they’re leading to greater inclusivity or divisiveness.

5. Are there ethical considerations and regulations evolving as these technologies are implemented? Track how ethical issues are being addressed as these devices become more integrated into daily life.

These questions can help assess whether the integration of such technologies is aligned with the vision of a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship between humans and intelligent systems as advocated by the Cities of Things.

To add some human reflections

I had to think about that old post I wrote in 2017 in response to the first introduction of the AirPods. Back then, I was thinking about literally new interactions with the tech we use. This would be an interesting exercise to do again with the new AI-enhanced touchpoints…

Looking back, the long-term impact is significant, as often, the short-term changes are not happening that fast. I think that the envisioned change in the use of our phones and the form factor did not play out, but how we treat technology as fully defining our daily lives happened even more intensely. In that sense the questions GPT synthesized are the right ones. How our relation with our direct environment changes under the influence of a new AI filter that is part of our touchpoints. How will it change the city in our perception?

The first results from the students of the ITD project hint partly at this. Curious to find out what the final interpretations will be. And we all are curious about what will happen with the new iOS in June; will it unlock new types of devices and uses?

Updates from Cities of Things projects

  • I gave a short presentation, Pecha Kucha style, for the IPO education day.
  • The student projects (HR, TU Delft) are still running. I wrote an update on the ITD project before.
  • Different sessions on the RAAK research projects.
  • The program Iskander is co-quartermaster for, AI-based and design-driven proactive services for fighting poverty and debt, is not directly related to Cities of Things; however, the relationship between humans and intelligent systems is an important component.
  • As reflected on in the week-updates, Iskander visited conferences, meetups, and workshops (NL AIC, AMS Rethinking the City, Launching new KEMs, Smart & Social Fest, STRP Festival, Digital Right House lecture, CoECI sessie Ontwerpende Aanpak, ID Wallets, Charging the Commons update)