reflections update

March reflections and updates

Every week, I post a newsletter via Target_is_New signaling notions from the news and elaborate on one topic triggered by a news item or event I visited. As my frame of view is the City of Things beliefs, it makes a lot of sense to create a monthly post here looking back and combining these thoughts. And it would be nice if I could use the generative tooling.

I was thinking of creating a draft that can work as a primer.

(1) I write a weekly reflection on the news. I like to use these thoughts to reflect on the past month and do that through the lens of the beliefs of Cities of Things in this manifesto.

Find the sources in these five posts: Weeknotes 278279280281, and 282.

This first prompt resulted in more of a summary per post than a merge. It ended with an attempt, but I thought it could need a different point of departure:

(2) Can you use the last part—reflecting through the lens of the Cities of Things Manifesto—as the point of departure for a post that uses the weeknotes to build up the argument?

The result here did not work out for me. It remains too much of a combined summary to explore the overarching elements.

“These reflections, viewed through the manifesto’s lens, underscore the importance of designing for relational ecosystems where technology not only serves but collaborates with humans, fostering a future where the integration of intelligent objects enriches the urban experience, steering us towards inclusive, sustainable, and vibrant communities.”

Sure. To illustrate, this is what it created as an image*:

The image above illustrates a bustling future city street, vividly bringing to life the symbiotic relationship between humans and intelligent objects as envisioned in the Cities of Things Manifesto. It showcases a vibrant ecosystem where technology and community converge, highlighting the seamless integration and mutual enhancement of urban living through collaborative innovations.

So, I return to my own writing.

I can say that I agree with the summary of the summaries: “Reflecting on these summaries through the lens of the Cities of Things Manifesto, it’s clear that each of these reflections contributes to understanding the changing relationships between humans and intelligent objects. From self-organizing cars that enhance communal living to clothing and creative tools augmented by AI, these narratives explore the manifesto’s vision of collaborative ecosystems where humans and technology co-create the urban experience. The discussions surrounding AI’s role in creativity, community services, and the balance between human agency and machine assistance align with the manifesto’s advocacy for the thoughtful integration of intelligent objects into societal structures. This synthesis not only adheres to the manifesto’s principles but also opens up avenues for questioning and reimagining our future coexistence with intelligent technologies.”

I am afraid I can repeat this easily each month, so the individual posts are more valuable. Looking back to last month, I thought it very valuable to dive deeper into the relationship between Cities of Things and designing common-based communities. Car sharing is a great case as it combines functionality with social factors. Shared ownership models can be strong drivers.

The more service strategies are combined with the deeper roles the intelligent-enhanced services play, I explored in the look into writing tools. This is less directly connected to the Cities of Things scale. In the post on exoskeletons, I wanted to know about the relation of the individual to systems like cities can be. The essence of the question of the source of ideas, who is the initiator and responsible for performance that are symbioses of human and machine, is that the machine did not really get to that point. In the post on the third route that bridges a dichotomy of human vs AI agency futures, I tried to explore this a bit hasty, maybe too hasty for the machine to grasp. It is a firm belief that I think we are not only creating artificial intelligence as a mirror of our intelligence, but will adapt and change our intelligence-based operation to achieve better outcomes using these new ‘tools’.

This is a valuable exercise; I will start working this month on updating the website and other channels of Cities of Things, something that has been stalled through other work (like the Hoodbot project). I will use this as a reference for diving into the manifesto for sure, so in the end, it proves its value.

Update Cities of Things projects

To close, here is a short update on running Cities of Things projects in March.

  • We officially closed the project of Cities of Things LAB010 at the opening event on 10 January at Gemaal. For the CityLab010 program, we delivered the project closing in March.
  • One outcome is a follow-up project with the working title City Robotica initiated by one of the Think Tank members. The aim is to create a board game and a Wijkbot simulation robot for elementary and high schools. This is a work in progress, and we sat together to sketch out the product ecosystem. Next up is finding the right kick-start funding.
  • A team of IPO students is busy working on the next iteration of the WijkbotKit suitable for workshops. The results are promising.
  • Tim has started his graduation project at VONK, starting resurrecting a Pepper robot with ChatGPT capabilities. Later he might connect it to a Wijkbot too.
  • Four teams of ITD (Interactive Technology Design) of TU Delft are working on a project to dive into neighborhood navigators, using Wijkbot to explore future citizenship as we delegate citizen tasks to our proxy neighborhood bots.
  • Lisa is doing her graduation project on the hub as orchestrating neighbor.
  • We worked on a research article on applied research with the Wijkbot, to published in book by NADR.
  • We had update meetings on the RAAK research projects we are involved in: Duurzame Buurthubs, Charging the Commons, Human values for Smarter Cities.
  • Last but not least, we had a board meeting including our new board member Marcel Schreuder. Marcel has already been involved for some time in the project CCCH, the Collect Connect Community Hub, and he is one of the founders of Springtime. Welcome!