Weeknotes 237; robot-embodied generative intelligence

embodied generative intelligence using large language model in a conversation with a household appliance - Midjourney

Hi all!

As with every week, first, a quick look back at the week. Here in the Netherlands, Kings Day was there, and I celebrated it for the first time in 25 years or so in Rotterdam (or better said, not in Amsterdam). That had a special reason. Partly as the king visited the city I live in most of my time. Not that I am a specific supporter of the monarchy, but we were curious to see what was happening in town. Next to that, and evenly important, as mentioned last week, the project of Cities of Things on the Rotterdam field lab has a focus on the neighbourhood Afrikaanderwijk, and that is where the king’s family started the tour. So in the different sessions, the think tank of neighbourhood citizens created a test case for the Wijkbot to connect to the King’s Day activities, collecting waste by moving around. Not at the moment of the king's parade, which was security-wise not a good idea, but after during the party in the park. The experiment worked well; the party was not that busy, but the people that were there did respond well. And we learned a bit about interacting with the bystanders and communicating the functions.

I promised last week to keep track of CHI, but I did not manage yet, except for seeing tweets from researcher friends. It looked like a very inspiring edition. Next to the one I mentioned last week, I watched one short video presentation on the Halting problem of self-driving cars, tipped via the insightful newsletter of Martijn de Waal. And also one on Machine consciousness perceptions, and earlier Maria Luce on Steering Stories, “problematize popular narratives of driving automation”

For the rest just worked hard with the startup, and it was very nice to be invited for another 2-hour Legendary Cocktail Party of Monique. She has been testing this special format and discussed a version at SXSW I think. I like the format a lot, interesting guests and a mix of drinks and art and good conversations. I hope to be able to join some more in the future!


Speaking of events. Here are some that caught my eye for the coming week.

  • Into society-driven research through design? In this event three researchers share their experiences. In Eindhoven 3 May.
  • Also, on Wednesday, the first of the new series of General Seminar is starting. Another example of a small group format. The topic is the Future of Fashion this time; check https://www.generalseminar.com/ for exact times.
  • For XR interested: Realities in Transition in Rotterdam, 4 May https://v2.nl/events/test_lab-realities-in-transition. An art night on 5 May with a presentation of results. And v2 is going all in on XR; on Thursday, there is an online event on More than human XR.

Notions of News

The news from last week with the usual mix of human-tech relations, and a lot of generative and other AI.

The homepage seems to return as a trusted beacon in times of fake news. Nevertheless, the algorithmic news service Artifact is launching an AI summary tool. Typeform is adding AI to its feature set too.

Other short Gen AI news; ChatGPT is introducing a kind of incognito mode. Stability AI introduces a special model for text-to-image that also create good texts in the image.

Gary Marcus on the battle towards AGI between east and west (China and US/Europe). He proposes a strategy to use regulatory actions to create a trusted truthful AI.

How China might crush the West in the race to AGI if we don’t up our regulatory game
Regulation doesn’t always stifle innovation

Are LLMs creating a cheap and uncontrollable internet? “Thought has never been so cheap. Creative expression has never been so accessible. Also spam, phishing, harassment mobs, and mass influence ops have never been so cheap, so accessible.”

Signing content might help.

LLMs break the internet. Signing everything fixes it.
The dead internet theory wasn’t wrong, just early. Here’s what to do next.

Is Apple on par with AI? Doubtful. They might introduce an AI-powered health coach, in line with their focus of the last years.

Apple is reportedly developing an AI-powered health coaching service
Apple is developing an AI-powered health coaching service codenamed Quartz, according to a new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.

Can we indeed read minds?

Scientists Use GPT AI to Passively Read People’s Thoughts in Breakthrough
An AI model similar to ChatGPT was combined with fMRI readings to non-invasively decode continuous language from subjects, a new study reports.

Some powerful ideas in the hackathon demo-unpacking. Lares is an iteration in the quest of Matt for an operating system for physical space. Using tools decreases the risk of hallucination and gives the AI access to accurate, up-to-date data; The future is ActGPT not ChatGPT. A robot is the embodiment of the generative intelligence. LLM need a working memory.

Unpacking Lares: our 2 minute pitch for an AI-powered slightly-smart home
Posted on Wednesday 26 Apr 2023. 1,847 words, 10 links. By Matt Webb.

Who is profiting from AI assist and co-pilots? Inexperienced workers. No real surprise, but supported by research:

Inexperienced workers get the biggest boost from AI, Stanford/MIT study finds
MIT and Stanford researchers have completed the first real-world assessment of chatbot AI in the workplace

Meta wants to introduce AI agents for billions of people. Bring the intelligence to the front…

Mark Zuckerberg says Meta wants to “introduce AI agents to billions of people”
Get ready for ChatGPT competition in Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp.

The use of pattern recognition and deep insights to define the success of a series is now extended with production. Will that be connected?

‘Avengers’ Director Predicts AI-Generated Movies Within Two Years - Decrypt
‘Avengers: Endgame’ director Joe Russo sat down with the CCO of Epic Games to talk artificial intelligence in the entertainment industry.

“Imagine a world in which each student receives a personalized education – just as if they had access to a one-to-one relationship with a highly skilled tutor.” It might be good, but it might also create an isolated learning experience?

Personalised learning: Edtech’s long-standing aspiration
LLMs and generative AI could change education for good

This makes total sense and was basically always one of the cornerstones of Twitter; real-time. At the beginning of Twitter I remember we framed it more as real-time media than social media. Where did it go wrong? So bringing this home with becoming the real-time search engine would be smart. Need some redesign for sure.

Twitter’s Killer App: Real-Time Search
Anyone can search the past, but only Twitter can unearth the present

The quest for a new Twitter is still focusing on the social media aspects mainly; now hot is BlueSky, protocol-based decentralised.

What is Bluesky, and why is everyone on Twitter talking about it?
The invite-only, decentralized new social network, explained.

“A new knowledge transfer technology unlocked radical new modes of human thought.” Evolving minds.

Evolving Minds
Anaximander, AI, and the Co-Evolution of Technology and Minds

Is this a silent growth of autonomous driving?

Cruise robotaxis are now operating everywhere, all at once in San Francisco (for employees)
Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt said the company’s fleet of robotaxis are now operating 24 hours a day throughout San Francisco.

Again an endnote on our climate crisis…

An ominous heating event is unfolding in the oceans
Average sea surface temperatures have soared to record highs—and stayed there.

Anab Jain is addressing the topic of design strategies; ancillary design “We need to foreground how we’re a part of a larger ecology rather than the masters of our surroundings.”

The operational conditions of ancillary design require us to reopen our imaginations to a design practice that is akin to mycelial growth.

Radical Design For A World In Crisis | NOEMA
There are no neat solutions to the intertwined climatic, economic and political crises of our time. What will move us all forward together is a radical reimagining of how to design the future.

Paper for the week

Some new papers entered my longlist last week. Let’s take out this one on “New neighbourhood, old habits? Delivery preferences of residents in new development areas and their assessment of alternative parcel logistics concepts: a case study of Berlin” (long titles are not a problem with academic research)

“This research conducted a case study in the western outskirts of Berlin, examining two newly built neighbourhoods and one existing residential area. Results from three survey waves of residents show that conventional doorstep delivery is preferred by 80% of the respondents. Nonetheless, there is a high willingness to use alternative delivery options, and respondents see benefits in climate-friendly delivery methods.”

It feels almost like marketing research: “This research also examines the willingness to pay for alternative parcel logistics concepts, which seems too low at the moment (at around €1 per shipment) to compensate for the additional costs of an operational change.

Gruber, J., Heldt, B. & Seidel, S. New neighbourhood, old habits? Delivery preferences of residents in new development areas and their assessment of alternative parcel logistics concepts: a case study of Berlin. J. shipp. trd. 8, 7 (2023).


Have a great week!

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