About Target_is_New

Weekly updates on human-tech interactions in robotics, ai, autonomous vehicles, cities, and beyond.

I am the founder of Target_is_New, founder of Cities of Things knowledge hub, and organizer at ThingsCon. Before I was the research director at digital agency INFO and the design director at Structuralwould

Find more about it below and via iskandersmit.nl

Weekly newsletter

By signing up, you'll get access to the full archive of everything that's been published before and everything that's still to come. I send out a new newsletter weekly, most commonly Tuesday morning.

Archive editions 1-219 on my blog

This website starts in 2023, but that is not the start of this newsletter. I moved to Ghost from Revue as the latter was shut down on 18 January 2023. I archived all former editions on my personal blog targetisnew.com.

Who is writing?

Let me introduce myself for new subs or to refresh memories. I have been writing this newsletter for some years now, and have been able to keep the weekly rhythm. The main part is the notions of news, always capped to the last week. I would like to add some reflections, if possible, from my perspective. I am interested in the relations between humans and technology and especially new intelligences and robotics, in the frame of responsible tech. That is also related to some of the initiatives I co-organised over the last decade as a volunteer; ThingsCon, which is still running, and Techsolidarity. And also Behavior Design AMS was for me to deal with the impact of how tech can influence the choices we make.

My start working in tech was also highly related to this kind of questions, running innovation projects at the Dutch Consumer organisation Consumentenbond (the first website in 1996 and digital products). After that, I was more than two decades working in design, strategy and innovation roles at the oldest Dutch Internet Agency INFO. In the last 10 years running the innovation department performing research projects together with several universities in the Netherlands.

From that relation, I was invited to become a visiting professor at the uni where I got my own education; Delft University of Technology faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. Together with prof Elisa Giaccardi, we set up the Cities of Things research program and Delft Design Lab, where I performed personally research into Predictive Relations. After 5 years, I created together with Jann de Waal of INFO, the foundation Cities of Things to open it up to more collaborations and contracted research activities. The foundation is now actively running a field lab in Rotterdam in partnership with Creating010 of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (see wijkbot.nl). We are also still exploring a new field lab on Collect|Connect Community Hub in partnership with a couple of creative agencies, mainly Springtime. I do these activities one day a week.

In 2022, I started to work at Structural, a startup founded by Majid Iqbal early 2022, based on a design approach to describe service infrastructures as promise architectures. We help design Beautiful Contracts to support agreement ecosystems and protocols. Our mission: Make it less risky for enterprises to make bold and decisive moves in their markets through contracts that pay off better than expected in terms of profit and public good.

I focus on Design and new technologies; we were building a platform that will create a co-performance of human analysts and AI.

End of summer 2023 Structural went into hibernation waiting for the next round of funding. I decided to get back to the activities I did before Structural, doing future research studies and experiments, as an independent professional under the name of Target_is_New. Find more on the services I can deliver via the website. And I am still continuing the work on Cities of Things and ThingsCon.

All that I post here are my personal observations and reflections, but influenced, of course by all the above :)