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Conferences – ..
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Category: Conferences

Conferences, Design, people, Theory

Understanding Perception

October 10, 2015

Lazy Chief, a Studio in London, translated the studies of neuroscientist Beau Lotto into motion design.

The 4-minute short film explains the way that evolution has shaped the way we perceive the world.

One important statement for visual designers, is that our brains don’t differentiate between imagined stimuli and real stimuli. Professor Lotto explains:

[W]hat’s remarkable is that when we imagine something, it activates the same part of our brain as if we’re actually seeing it. So imagined perception is the same as a real perception.

This has tremendous impact for thinking about the narratives that a culture tells itself.

Augmented Reality, Conferences, Design, Persuasive Technologies, playstudies, Tools, Transmedia Storytelling

The Leviathan Project

January 10, 2014

On January 6th 2012, at the Intel Pre-Conference Keynote at CES in Las Vegas – for the first time in public – Intel and USC World Building Media Lab unveiled the Leviathan – a giant Whale that swims above an audience of 5000, all reaching out to touch the creature flying overhead.

From the presentation:

We bring you an experiment in storytelling that shatters the membrane between audience and content. The Leviathan Project creates an immersive world in which audiences can engage, explore and physically experience virtual environments and fantastic characters.

We are playtesting a future where the design of a world precedes the telling of a story, and the richly detailed world becomes a container for countless narratives.

What Is 5D?

5D Institute is a cutting edge USC non-profit Organized Research Unit dedicated to the dissemination, education, and appreciation of the future of narrative media through World Building.

World Building designates a narrative practice in which the design of a world precedes the telling of a story; the richly detailed world becomes a container for narrative, producing stories that emerge logically and organically from its well-designed core.

World Building is founded on three beliefs, namely that storytelling is the most powerful system for the advancement of human capability due to its ability to allow the human imagination to precede the realization of thought; that all stories emerge logically and intuitively from the worlds that create them; and that new technologies powerfully enable us to sculpt the imagination into existence.

5D Institute is the world’s leading World Building collective. Our network of preeminent World Builders transcends borders and boundaries in film, animation, fashion, gaming, theatre, television, music, architecture, science, interactive media and more.

Through the newly cemented partnership with USC School of Cinematic Arts, 5D Institute is evolving into an unmatched connector between the next generation of young and undiscovered creators traversing the bleeding edge of innovation and companies who want to be at the frontlines of the new media landscape.

Since Oct 2008, we have come together at 5D’s distributed events to engage in a disruptive interrogation of our fractured disciplines, to create best practices and a new shared language across narrative media.

‘The neural sparking between left brain and right brain is at the core of 5D – we are moving into a landscape where art and science, design and engineering are inseparable. At their intersection lies the new creative laboratory for the future of our narrative practices.’

– Alex McDowell, 5D Institute Director

For more information:  5dinstitute.org/

Ambient Intelligence, Conferences, Design, Internet of Things, playstudies, Theory

Gamification World Asia Pacific 2012 Singapore

October 12, 2012

Gamification World Asia Pacific 2012 summit is the ONLY event in Asia Pacific dedicated to exploring how gamification will transform your organization’s marketing and branding strategies, customer and employee engagement campaigns and enterprise performances, supported by case studies. Taking place in Singapore 28th – 29th November 2012.

Download the brochure

Ambient Intelligence, Conferences, Design, HCI, Internet of Things, people, Persuasive Technologies, playstudies, Theory, Videos

NESTA’s – Digital you event

September 8, 2012

Catch up on all the insights from our NESTA’s Digital You-Event which looked at telepresence and the psychology of electronic communications. This event explored how robotics and new collaboration tools can emulate being there in person, and how we can make better use of email and video conferencing without ‘information overload’

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/24513233]
Ambient Intelligence, Conferences, Design, HCI, Persuasive Technologies

Designs to help people live well with dementia

April 26, 2012

The UK Design Council, in partnership with the UK Department of Health, ran a national competition to find teams of designers and experts who could develop new ideas to help improve the lives of those affected by dementia, reports Dexigner.

Guided by in-depth research and working with those affected by dementia, the five teams developed the innovative concepts for products and services.

A fragrance-release system designed to stimulate appetite, specially-trained “guide dogs for the mind,” and an intelligent wristband that supports people with dementia to stay active safely, are just some of the design prototypes to help people live well with dementia unveiled by UK Care Services Minister Paul Burstow at the Design Council.

The Design Council, in partnership with the Department of Health, ran a national competition to find teams of designers and experts who could develop new ideas to help improve the lives of those affected by dementia. Guided by in-depth research and working with those affected by dementia, the five teams developed the innovative concepts for products and services. The resulting prototypes will be further tested and developed with commercial partners with the aim of making some or all of them available on a large scale as soon as possible.

“A consequence of an aging population is a threefold increase in dementia over the past twenty years,” said David Kester, Chief Executive of the Design Council. “That means there are many millions of people who need new products and services designed to meet their changing needs. This project demonstrates that if you put the people who are living with dementia, including carers, at the centre of the design process, you end up with rapid and inspiring innovation. It’s just what we need right now – both for our local communities and for UK enterprise.”

Read article

More: “The capital of the forgetful” is a revealing BBC report by Louis Theroux on what living with dementia actually means.

Conferences, Design, HCI, Media Art, Videos

Gene hunting device

March 2, 2012

The premise of Raphael Kim‘s project at Design Interactions‘ work in progress show –which closed a couple of days ago at the Royal College of Art– contained all the ingredients to intrigue me: The falling cost and increase in speed of DNA sequencing has given rise to two extreme scientific worlds: giant pharmaceutical companies who trawl the Arctic Ocean in search of potent genes that would profit them in a lucrative cancer market; and DIY biologists who try to beat the system.

The designer imagined a gene hunting device that biohackers (who usually cannot afford to ‘trawl’ the oceans) would create to collect gene samples present in the air.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/36388272]

The device would rely on rotifers, tiny animals capable of absorbing environmental DNA, that have been genetically programmed to start glowing as soon as a target gene is spotted in their environment. The rotifers sit inside a chamber attached to the gene hunting device, and wait for the targets to come near. This kind of “LED switch” can be obtained by fusing a commercially-available fluorescent gene with a part of rotifer’s own DNA (see image on the left).

A motor spins at high speed to draw the air onto the sampler while the outer mesh of the device protects the delicate samplers and filters out large, unwanted particles.

In-line with biohacking philosophy, these actions can be done, in theory, using an open-source data and hardware available to the public. Ever since the complete DNA sequence of human has been made public, genetic maps of other organisms have been published gradually, including those of rotifers, on free online database such as GenBank. Many other pieces of biohacking equipment can either be made at home or can be purchased on ebay.

Via Regine at we make money not art.

Ambient Intelligence, Books, Conferences, Internet of Things, Persuasive Technologies, Smart Objects, Theory

The technology-enabled city is an untapped source of sustainable growth

December 5, 2011
Arup, The Climate Group, Accenture and Horizon, University of Nottingham
published and interesting report:

The technology-enabled city is an untapped source of sustainable growth.

“Written in partnership with The Climate Group, Accenture and Horizon, University of Nottingham, this report investigates how technology can be used in cities to meet the growing challenges of expanding urbanisation.

The technology-enabled city is an untapped source of sustainable growth and represents a powerful approach for tackling unprecedented environmental and economic challenges.

By unlocking technology, infrastructure and public data, cities can open up new value chains, spawning innovative applications and information products that make sustainable modes of city living and working possible.

While smart initiatives are underway in urban centres around the world, most cities have yet to realise the enormous potential value from fully-integrated, strategically-designed smart city development programmes.

Now is the time for government and business leaders to recognise the value created by smart city thinking.”

Ambient Intelligence, Conferences, Design, HCI, Internet of Things, Smart Objects, Theory, Videos

Designing for an Internet of Things

November 25, 2011


NESTA organised an event on Tuesday 22 November in London, that looked at the challenges of designing for an Internet of Things.The speakers: pioneers Usman Haque, founder of Pachube, and Matt Jones, formerly at the BBC, Dopplr and Nokia, and now a principal at design agency BERG.

Part 1: Usman Haque (17:20)
Part 2: Matt Jones (18:58)
Part 3: Q&A (26:49)

Conferences, Persuasive Technologies, playstudies, Theory, Videos

Gaming for the better good

November 7, 2011
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22pw_sO3O9g#t=1m43s] Discussion at the 2011 GSB Entrepreneurship Conference:

We spend over three billion hours a week playing online games. Games are engaging; they provide us with a sense of satisfaction and a chance to be part of something bigger than ourselves. What would happen if we applied these same dynamics to real world challenges? Learn how game thinking can be used to engage and empower participants to solve large-scale business, social, and educational challenges.

Ambient Intelligence, Conferences, Design, HCI, Internet of Things, Persuasive Technologies, Smart Objects, Theory

Lift France Conference

June 23, 2011

Lift France 11 is a three-day conference about current and emerging use of digital technologies and their effects on innovation, societal and economic transformation. Under the slogan “Be Radical!”, Lift France will focus on disruption: when (high- or low-) tech contributes to redefining a market’s terms of reference, a whole industry, a share of social life, etc. Participants come to better understand the challenges and opportunities presented by digital technologies, to meet the people who drive these innovations, and to share their own insights.


Conference program

The conference program allows you to discover new and emerging technologies, see real life examples of implementations in different contexts, and expand your horizons by exploring ideas from other fields and backgrounds.

Wednesday July 6, 2011

13:00 First time participants welcome
14:00 Workshops
18:30 Welcome party & drinks

Thursday July 7, 2011

09:00 Welcome
09:30 Workshops
12:30 Lunch
14:00 Keynote: Saskia Sassen
14:30 URBAN – Who needs to become “smart” in tomorrow’s cities?
16:00 CARE – Disruptive innovation in healthcare and well-being
17:30 10 disruptive pitches, 6 mn each
19:30 Gala evening & networking

Friday July 8, 2011

09:00 Workshops + Learning session
11:30 Keynote: Geoff Mulgan, The Young Foundation
12:00 WORK/LEARN – Transforming the way we work, innovate… and learn
14:00 SLOW – Can we use technology to take back control over how we, and our organizations, manage time?
15:45 OPEN – What happens when barriers to innovation become drastically lower?
17:00 Lift France’s wrapup and takeaways
17:30 Closing of the conference: Roger Malina, Philippe Lemoine
20:00 Closing party

See the full program.

Via: lift

Ambient Intelligence, Conferences, Design, HCI, Tools

Transform 2011

June 20, 2011

Mayo Clinic Transform 2011

The leading health conference where design matters.

Mayo Clinic — the world’s largest and first integrated nonprofit medical practice — is pleased to once again host our Transform symposium on September 11-13, 2011 in Rochester, Minn

This premier multidisciplinary event focuses on innovations and designing solutions to transform the experience and delivery of health care. We expect the audience of approximately 1,000 attendees from around the world to participate in person — thousands more will engage online. There will be ample opportunities for networking and collaborations, numerous surprises, and incredible talks from world renowned experts in their field.

The audience will be a dynamic mix of innovators, leadership and decision makers from health care organizations, information technology, Web 2.0, policy makers, designers, and entrepreneurs across many fields that touch health care; and thought-provoking spaces that are not — but perhaps should be — part of the conversation.

Ambient Intelligence, Conferences, Design, HCI, Internet of Things, Theory, Videos

Natural user interfaces are all about alignment

June 19, 2011
August de los Reyes, design director of Artefact Group (formerly of Microsoft Surface), was one of the speakers at MIX11, a Microsoft organised gathering of developers, designers, UX experts and business professionals “creating the most innovative and profitable consumer sites on the web”. In his excellent talk August wowed the audience with his talk on 21st Century Design and how the future thinking of design is changing. He advocates that natural user interfaces are all about alignment (rather than usability), and argues that we rethink the design process and focus on motivation, needs, positive emotion, learnability, adaptability, and revolutionary changes. This is in contrast to a [more conventional] user-centric design which puts faith in the users (who often don’t know what, why, and how they like something), and incremental design evolution.Watch video

(via designstores and  UX Strategy)

Conferences, Design, Internet of Things, Media Art, playstudies, Theory

This is playful 2011

June 6, 2011

Playful is a one-day event all about games and play — in all their manifestations, throughout the contemporary media landscape. It’s a conference for architects, artists, designers, developers, geeks, gurus, gamers, tinkerers, thinkerers, bloggers, joggers, and philosophers.

A conference about play, games & innovation – 21 Oct, 2011 – Conway Hall, London


Ambient Intelligence, Books, Conferences, Internet of Things

The Future of Identity in the Information Society – Challenges and Opportunities

The Future of Identity in the Information Society - Challenges and Opportunities

On the book:

Digitising personal information is changing our ways of identifying persons and managing relations. What used to be a ‘natural’ identity, is now as virtual as a user account at a web portal, an email address, or a mobile phone number. It is subject to diverse forms of identity management in business, administration, and among citizens. Core question and source of conflict is who owns how much identity information of whom and who needs to place trust into which identity information to allow access to resources. This book presents multidisciplinary answers from research, government, and industry. Research from states with different cultures on the identification of citizens and ID cards is combined towards analysis of HighTechIDs and Virtual Identities, considering privacy, mobility, profiling, forensics, and identity related crime.

The FIDIS Summit Book is   available from Springer.

‘FIDIS has put Europe on the global map as a place for high quality identity management research.’ –Viviane Reding, Commissioner, Responsible for Information Society and Media (EU)

Contents: Introduction; Identity of Identity; Virtual Persons and Identities; High-Tech ID and Emerging Technologies; Mobility and Identity; Approaching Interoperability for Identity Management Systems; Profiling and AmI; Identity-Related Crime and Forensics; Privacy and Identity; Open Challenges – Towards the (Not So Distant) Future of Identity; Appendix A. List of Deliverables; Appendix B. Contributors; Appendix C. FIDIS Consortium; Appendix D. Proposal for a Common Identity Framework: A User-Centric Identity Metasystem; Glossary

Conferences, Design, HCI, Internet of Things


June 3, 2011

Here is a recap Laurent Haug wrote on his blog following the Robolift Conference in Lyon, containing most of the key ideas that have been presented during the conference’s three days of presentations and discussions. A interesting selection, including videos:

Robolift was a superb conference. Nicolas did an amazing job of assembling a diverse and passionate group of  who discussed the current challenges, hopes and promises of robotics. For three full days, robots have taken the center stage and all those sessions ended up forming a coherent picture made of several key ideas and questions surrounding what will be major market in the future. Here is a quick recap of the key points that were made:

We can create emotional connections to robots
I’m human. Sometimes there are things that I believe against all logic. For me robots had to be objects we were keeping a certain distance with. Several speakers showed how that is not true: the Paro robot was one of the most striking example. Used with Alzheimer patients, this robotic seal creates authentic relationships with the people using it (see video, choose “PARO for patients in Italy”). Beyond these special usages, several talks showed how we engage with robots, whether it is kids helping a Roomba clean their bathroom’s floor, or people giving bots nicknames and treating them as members of the family.

As Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino pointed during her Q&A session, “Robots are objects, and we spend our life creating emotional attachment to objects. You feel sad when you break a vase your grandma offered you. It is the same with robots, we mourn them when they break down.” Robots are just regular objects, my intuitions and culture was creating an intriguing distance with that notion, but one can indeed be emotionally attached to them.

Robots really don’t have to look like robots

To make a long story short: movements and attitudes mean more than shape. That was clear after seeing tenth of videos, like those presented by Fumiya Iida. His robots mimic the movements of animals, and it is striking how this is enough to make you relate to and engage with the robot. You completely forget the fact it is a piece of metal you are watching, and start making a lot of parallels with creatures made of flesh and blood. You engage more than when looking at those humanoid robots that always fail at recreating the human touch effectively.

Robots can do amazing things, and stupid things

We saw a ball throwing robot, and a robot helping alzheimer patients. We saw Aibo learning to recognize objects with more or less success, and robots fighting in Afghanistan. The universal laws of innovation apply to robotics: technology is neutral. You can not say they are either smart or stupid. They are what people do with them, with all the diversity that represents.

Robots make us more social, and they make us less social

Another area where robots are just like other technologies (= neutral). Cynthia Breazeal talked about how a robot could allow a grandma to read a story to her grandchildren, and therefore expand our social capacities, allowing interactions that used to be more complicated, less fun, or otherwise impossible.

But robots could also be interpreted in a negative way. We saw kids playing with their roomba, and not with other kids. So expect many people to say “robots make us lonelier, we will stop interacting with humans”. As usual the truth is in a balanced view: sometimes the robot will allow us to expand our social horizon, sometimes they will make us choose to communicate with a machine rather than with other humans physically close to us.

There are a lot of open questions with ethics and legal

Robotics is like the internet in 1995. A space for hackers and pioneers, starting to be recognized by businesses, with a couple of success stories under its belt. The problem (or is it the opportunity…?) is that the field is way too young to be legislated by governments that barely know this is happening. So it is up to those pioneers to self regulate. And now is a time of big questions. Do we want robots to kill? Drones are being used by politicians because they offer a “dream” equation: fight with no risk of human casualties, at least on the drone’s army side. The problem according to Noel Sharkey: the “buffer” created between the fighter and the field, materialized by a 2 second delay between a command and it’s concretization on the field.

The army is apparently recruiting the video games generation with ads like “you were a good fighter on your PS3? Come and join us, we have a job for you!” Civilized war has several principles, like applying a proportional response to a specific threat. Judgment capabilities that robots are not yet able to reach (will they ever be?), yet we have them fight our wars, more and more every day. Another question: who is responsible if your Google car crushes adog  on a pedestrian passage? Are you responsible because you signed a 500 pages user agreement approval you never read, or are the programmers responsible? Tons of open questions here, probably a few decades of legal debate and landmark cases before we have answers.

Cultures approach robots differently

One of the quote of the conference came from Fujiko Suda who answered my question on “why robots are coming from Asian countries like Japan or Korea?” by saying that Japanese “are not afraid to play god as they already have 8 millions of them”. There is an intriguing idea here, that our culture shapes how we perceive robots. Apparently in the West, we all consider that there is a superior being above us, the only entity allowed to create life-like creatures. Robots are, at least in our imagination, going to one day equal men in their appearance and intelligence. Maybe surpass us, and get out of control?

All this conditions our vision, and makes us more nervous than Japanese who see god in many aspects of their daily life. When they build a machine, they don’t cross as many lines as we do, hence their early adoption of these technology. It is not the only factor (an aging population in need of care is another one) but it is an important one.

Robots have something to do with god

As mentionned in my previous post, god came up quite a few times, and it seems there is definitely a relation between robots and religion. Dominique Sciamma claimed that “robots will finish the work Nietzche started, and kill god”. Maybe inventing and creating something as sophisticated and intelligent as humans will make Christians reconsider the genius of god? If a man can do it.


Robolift conference recap

Books, Conferences, HCI, Internet of Things, Theory

The Habitar Essays

Via: 7.5th Floor – text by Fabien Girardin

“Urban Software: The Long View” by Molly Wright Steenson

First, we wanted an historical account of the concept of urban intelligence that resonate in many of the contemporary discourses. Right at that time Molly Wright Steenson had contributed to the Microsoft Social Computing Symposium with an “introduction of computing to urbanism and urban planning”. Molly kindly agreed to synopsize her talk and investigation in that domaine. In “Urban Software: The Long View”, she describes the emergence of active forms of intelligence from the distribution of information and commands for interaction (starting with the development of intercity railroad and electrical telegraph) and new procedures (software with the information and feedback flows they generate):

The concept of urban intelligence overlaid upon a city is much older than one might think. It originates in the 1830s in the symbiotic development of intercity railroad and electrical telegraph. The railroad made it possible to quickly deliver both passengers and written communication over long distances; the telegraph, whose wires followed rail lines, facilitated nearly instantaneous long-distance communication. The result was no less than the distribution of intelligence. In 1850, science writer Dionysius Lardner wrote, “The Electric Telegraph for the transmission of intelligence, in the most literal sense of the term, annihilates both space and time.” The telegraph, in Lardner’s view, rendered moot concepts of geography, distance, duration, and tempo. It altered all of the possibilities for connectivity and shifted society’s expectation for information. The diffusion of knowledge over space and time—the “transmission of intelligence” to which he refers—would cause “the increase of civilisation by intellectual means.” The new mobility provided by communication was tantamount to the growth of intelligent society. Telegraphy, in his view, was a system for distributing culture.”

This perspective of a world constructed of information and feedback flows naturally seeped into architecture and the design of cities, leaving computer scientists and architects wondering about “Life in a Computerised Environment”, with concerns on the the particular lack of adaptability of computerized systems that are poor at handling sudden changes in context in environments and concerns in ways of dealing with physical reality:

Software exists to make sense of information in the world—including organic information. This cybernetic perspective, of a world constructed of information and feedback flows, does not stop with machines and people: it seeps into architecture and the design of cities. “By and large, these alterations have been internal, in the form of new procedures and ways of dealing with physical reality, rather than purely visual responses,” writes Burnham. It’s not just that which is read that concerns Burnham, but how the procedures and the societal changes instigated by information affect the day-to-day reality of physical inhabitation. It is the possibility of intelligence—of information being taken into account by urban systems and thus changing the interaction of a city’s residents.

Some of the the intelligent systems exhibited at HABITAR annihilate conventions produce a radical shift in the notions of time and space, leaving Molly wondering on the combination of people behaviors and cities mediated by software:

Intelligent systems, in short, annihilate convention. They introduce a radical shift, whether in time and space, as with the telegraph, or in procedures and information—software and data—that Burnham described. If we magnify Ted Nelson’s statement, “Our bodies are hardware, our behavior software,” how do our bodies meld with our cities, mediated by software? And just what might our cities learn from us?

HABITAR Catalogue

“Building a Useful City of Bits” by Bryan Boyer

The building of cities and the bringing of technology to life should have led to a natural convergence in the architects/designers and technologists practices. However, to the exception of some pioneer works the cross-disciplinary combination of deep expertise in technology and spatial design remains highly uncommon. Being an active actor in both worlds, Bryan Boyer has been vocal about the antagonism of practices. We invited him the explain the promises of cross-disciplinary work to help “Building a Useful City of Bits”.

Even with large body of work in the community of technologists to dissolve information with a vast quantity of output media and the banality of digital production equipment in architecture schools and ateliers, we are still left wondering “What urban informatics is actually instrumental in solving?”

Efforts to combine these two fields have yielded modest results: technology happens to exist in the city, such as the digital screens now dotting many central business districts, and buildings happen to have some technology glued on to them, here and there an LCD facade. The more that practitioners on both sides of this divide actively engage, understand, and recombine each others’ working modalities—rather than just the output formats—the better the outcome will be. The attention-grabbing aspect of cross-disciplinary collaboration may be its outward expression or formatting, but the transformative potential is in finding hybrid working models.

Cross-disciplinary works becomes key to finally demonstrate that urban informatics is a worthwhile endeavor at an urban scale. Bryan has been active in setting up projects involving the expertise in technology, architecture, interaction, space and finance:

The C_Life team, bringing together expertise from the fields of architecture, urban design, finance, construction, real estate, technology, and informatics, recently signed a contract to build the Low2No block, which has a projected completion date in late 2013. With a serious investment demonstrating a mission-driven commitment to support informatics as part of a large scale development project, Low2No is one answer to the question of financing. With a little luck, in three years time the key question of, “What are informatics instrumental in solving,” will have a sketch of an answer.

HABITAR Catalogue

“Notes on the Design of Participatory Systems – For the City or For the Planet” by Usman Haque

Other practitioners at the frontier of architecture/design and technologies have explored other forms of cooperation with the involvement of the many actors of the city. Usman Haque has been active in building participatory systems (see his Lift France talk on Chaning Things). He agreed on illustrating the paradoxical structures of collaboration and the ways that the paradoxes can be harnessed. He particularly highlighted 10 key elements in the design of participatory systems (here overly summarized):

  1. Dilemmas: you cannot rely on the end goal being incentive enough to encourage individuals to participate and cooperate on achieving the end goal.
  2. Incentives: a participatory system needs to have intermediary, short term incentives from which participants can gain tangible benefits
  3. Increments: incremental participation results in incremental gains; they cannot depend on an “all or nothing” situation.
  4. Trust and evidence: trust largely comes from evidence; and self-constructed evidence is the best of all because it does not require second-hand knowledge.
  5. Tools for evidence: determining indicators for success is crucial
  6. Opting out: the choice of “opt out” must not be made into a value judgement by thos who “opt in”.
  7. Granularity: in any participatory system there will be those with different skillsets, different responsibilities, different desires, different commitment levels and different time-availability.
  8. Coupling: rather than trying to develop solutions to individual problems, construct means for incremental incentivised actions in two seemingly unrelated domains to benefit each other.
  9. Complexity: it it’s that complex, it means it’s beyond professional capabilities of any single individual: it *demands* cooperation. […] a designer is there to ensure that that goal is *not fixed* but can be overridden by participants.
  10. Public spectacle: if a public spectacle is engaging, it encourages people to observer, ask questions, occasionally even participate.

“The Gifted City: A Design Concept” by Anne Galloway

Technologist, architects and designers envision special or even superior kind of cities, gifted in their abilities. But also gifted because they are being given as gifts. It is this theme of the gifted city that Anne Galloway presented last year at Lift in Geneva. Unfortunately, there is no video archive of her talk, so we thought that HABITAR provided an extra opportunity to capture her thoughts on the relations between the designers and consumers/users of sentient and reactive environments.

The gifted city instantaneously connects us to others near and far, places us where we need or want to be, maps our activities in real-time and captures information for our later action. The gifted city promises that we can become gifted individuals.

These new products and services can also be seen as gifted objects or abilities, in the sense that they have been given as gifts.

The ideal gift does not establish a relation of obligation but instead, as it happens in our everyday lift, opens up imminent relations between subjects, expanding these relations to other forms of exchange and becoming. But there are also gifts the we do not want, need or understand, of course raising complex implications in the design of gifted cities with its services and objects:

The gifted city I have conjured is an extraordinary city given to us by well-intentioned designers. But my conceit raises more questions than it provides answers and I wonder what kind of gifts and gift-relations we are creating. What happens to the cities and people that do not receive our gifts? Are our gift-relations free from obligation, or do we expect something in return? Do we design with ourselves in mind, or others? Do we design for abstract users and scenarios, or for concrete people, situations and affects? Do we give gifts that expand possibilities and open up space for new relations, or do we reinforce existing affiliations? Can our gifts only be used in particular ways, or can people use them as they wish?

We know that gifts and gift-giving involve complex, and sometimes even fraught, values and activities. But they also involve fundamentally caring relations, and with each gift we create we too are given something: the opportunity to create a richer, more meaningful gift. So what kind of city would you like to give and what kind of city would you like to receive?

“Snapshots From a Fictional Asynchronous City” by Nicolas Nova

Nicolas Nova further questions the content of these gifted cities and their emphasis on instantaneity and real-time as a limiting metaphor, a thought he started to frame in the pamphlet A synchronicity: Design Fictions for Asynchronous Urban Computing he wrote in company of Julian Bleecker. In “Snapshots From a Fictional Asynchronous City”, further exemplifies his critique of the obsession on the present and the ephemeral:

Moreover, the focus on instantaneity in this Urban Informatics projects often leads to a relative absence of consideration towards other temporal dimensions. Designing meaningful and original new media experiences may considerably benefit from a more complex understanding of time.

From his critique, he describes project that go beyond the conventional assumptions about digital experience of space. For instance the Slow Messenger, developed at the Near Future Laboratory in company of Julian Bleecker, that provokes on the spirit of a affinity from pre-digital correspondence. Similarly, Jotyou is a communication system that enable people to send message in a potential future without knowing when a message can be read, only where. These projects show the opportunities in pushing the envelope of the “real-time meme”.

What these various projects show is simply that there are intriguing ways to go beyond the “real-time meme” that pervades current instantiations in Urban Informatics. In order to create such orthogonal perspectives, one should consider how to foster new modes of experience and occupancy of space. In that spirit, it can be pertinent to create connections between unexpected events and rethink the intricate relationship between time and space. Rather than taking people as the receptacle of instantaneous solicitation from mobile devices and interactive architectures, there might be ways of engaging them into new forms of encounters or exploration In other words, what are the opportunities for re-imagining the databased city that have not been directly designed-into these systems?

Sure, the explorations mentioned here may seem weird and futile at first glance. But down the road, one should see them as props to contemplate issues bigger than the objects themselves, and to help us imagine near future worlds that wait to be uncovered.

“Flowing, Dwelling, Thinking” by José Pérez de Lama

Finally, we wanted to terminate the set of essays taking some more altitude linking ubiquitous networks with architectural theoreticians. José Pérez de Lama kindly played the theorist role inspiring from Martin Heidegger’s classic 1951 text Building, Dwelling, Thinking which introduced the concept of “dwelling” into the real of architectural debate (”the objective of building is to dwell”). Heidegger assumes that there is an unavoidable connection between dwelling and staying, to which José suggest to augment with “flowing”:

But today we know that our being on the earth is just as linked to remaining as it is to what we could call “flowing”, borrowing in part from Manuel Castells. There is a whole new spectrum of dwelling, fundamental to our experience of being in the world, that is linked to movement, communication, the new dynamic image and information ecologies.
[…] It is certainly true that in 2010, ubiquitous networks, proliferating information and the growing numbers of artifacts that extend our physical and mental capacities, mean that this new way of dwelling that we could refer to as “flowing”, “floating”, or both, has become a defining and distinguishing condition of our being in the world today.

And José requesting to critically consider these new forms of dwelling governed by ubiquitous computing and hyper-connectivity.

Tow what extent do they contribute in stimulating production and generating an egalitarian redistribution of the wealth of networks? To what point do they favor a social organization of a critical nature?

Why does Fabien Girardin blog this: He wanted these essays contribute to the dialogue between the practices in technology, interaction and spatial design that are timidly converging. They highlight some of the reasons why the discourses on urban informatics are not fully convincing (yet), acting as a balance with the many proposals presented at the exhibition. Finally it was an opportunity to gather voices and thoughts contribute to the large – but not exhaustive – body of works (publications, exhibitions, urban demos/probes, …) produced by Adam Greenfield, Dan Hill, Stephen Graham, Marcus Foth, Kazys Varnelis, Mark Shepard, Carlo Ratti, and many others inspiring theorists and practitioners. Fabien Girardin admits thought he would have loved to add voices from Asia and Africa.

Via: 7.5th Floor – text by Fabien Girardin

Ambient Intelligence, Books, Conferences, Design, Internet of Things, playstudies, Smart Objects, Theory

Situated Technologies Pamphlets 5

June 1, 2011

From the Architectural League NY:

A synchronicity:
Design Fictions for Asynchronous Urban Computing

Julian Bleecker and Nicolas Nova

The Situated Technologies Pamphlets series, published by the Architectural League, explores the implications of ubiquitous computing for architecture and urbanism. How are our experience of the city and the choices we make in it affected by mobile communications, pervasive media, ambient informatics and other “situated” technologies? How will the ability to design increasingly responsive environments alter the way architects conceive of space? What do architects need to know about urban computing and what do technologists need to know about cities?

In the last five years, the urban computing field has featured an impressive emphasis on the so-called “real-time, database-enabled city” with its synchronized Internet of Things.   In Situated Technologies Pamphlets 5,  Julian Bleecker and Nicholas Nova argue to invert this common perspective and speculate on the existence of an “asynchronous city.” Through a discussion of objects that blog, they forecast situated technologies based on weak signals that show the importance of time on human practices. They imagine the emergence of truly social technologies that through thoughtful provocation can invert and disrupt common perspective.

Situated Technologies Pamphlets will be published in nine issues over three years and will be edited by a rotating list of leading researchers and practitioners from architecture, art, philosophy of technology, comparative media studies, performance studies, and engineering.

Series Editors
Omar Khan, Trebor Scholz, Mark Shepard

For more information, go to www.situatedtechnologies.net.

Ambient Intelligence, Books, Conferences, Design, Internet of Things, Smart Objects, Theory

Sentient City: Ubiquitous Computing, Architecture, and the Future of Urban Space

April 19, 2011

Edited by Mark Shepard
Published by The Architectural League and MIT Press
6.7 x 9.5
232 pages
ISBN 978-0-262-51586-3

Case studies by David Benjamin, Soo-in Yang, and Natalie Jeremijenko; Haque Design + Research; SENSEable City Lab; David Jimison and JooYoun Paek; and Anthony Townsend, Antonina Simeti, Dana Spiegel, Laura Forlano, and Tony Bacigalupo

Essays by Martijn de Waal, Keller Easterling, Matthew Fuller, Anne Galloway, Dan Hill, Omar Khan, Saskia Sassen, Trebor Scholz, Hadas Steiner, Kazys Varnelis, and Mimi Zeiger

Now available on Amazon.com or directly from MIT Press.

Our cities are “smart” and getting smarter, as information processing capability is embedded throughout the urban environment.  Sentient City explores the experience of living in a city that uses networked digital technologies to remember, correlate, and anticipate.  Five teams of architects, artists, and technologists imagine a variety of future interactions that take place as computing leaves the desktop and spills out onto the sidewalks, streets, and public spaces of the city.  Less invested in predicting future trends in urban technology, these case studies and accompanying collection of essays focus more on debating just what kind of future cities we might want.

Ambient Intelligence, Books, Conferences, Internet of Things, Persuasive Technologies, Theory

Persuasive 2010 Proceedings

January 15, 2011

This book constitutes the proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Persuasive Technology, PERSUASIVE 2010, held in Copenhagen Denmark in June 2010. The 25 papers presented were carefully reviewed and selected from 80 submissions. In addition three keynote papers are included in this volume. The topics covered are emotions and user experience, ambient persuasive systems, persuasive design, persuasion profiles, designing for health, psychology of persuasion, embodied and conversational agents, economic incentives, and future directions for persuasive technology.

Book at  Amazon.

Ambient Intelligence, Conferences, Design, HCI, Smart Objects, Theory

HRI 2011

December 5, 2010

HRI 2011 is the 6th Annual Conference for basic and applied human-robot interaction research. Scientists from across the world submit their best work and attend HRI to hear the latest theories, data, and videos from the world’s best HRI researchers. Each year, the HRI conference highlights a particular area. The theme of HRI 2011 is Real World HRI. This theme is intended to highlight HRI in which basic scientific research is further tested in real world settings or applied to questions that arise in real world settings. One central aspect of this type of research, in contrast to other realms of applied research, is that it is theoretically driven and feeds back to our theoretical understandings. As such, real world research fortifies our understanding of people, robots, and interaction between the two.

HRI is a single-track, highly selective annual international conference that seeks to showcase the very best interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research in human-robot interaction with roots in social psychology, cognitive science, HCI, human factors, artificial intelligence, robotics, organizational behavior, anthropology and many more, and we invite broad participation.

The 2011 HRI Conference will take place at EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland on March 6-9, 2011.


Ambient Intelligence, Books, Conferences, Design, Internet of Things, Smart Objects, Theory

Situated Technologies Pamphlets 7

November 1, 2010

From the Architectural League NY:

From Mobile Playgrounds to Sweatshop City
Trebor Scholz and Laura Y. Li

The Situated Technologies Pamphlets series explores the implications of ubiquitous computing for architecture and urbanism. How is our experience of the city and the choices we make in it affected by mobile communications, pervasive media, ambient informatics, and other “situated” technologies? How will the ability to design increasingly responsive environments

alter the way architects conceive of space? What do architects need to know about urban computing, and
what do technologists need to know about cities? Situated Technologies
Pamphlets will be published in nine issues and will be edited by a
rotating list of leading researchers and practitioners from architecture,
art, philosophy of technology, comparative media study, performance studies, and engineering.

In Situated Technologies Pamphlets 7, Trebor Scholz and Laura Y. Liu reflect on the relationship between labor and technology in urban space where communication, attention, and physical movement generate financial value for a small number of private stakeholders. Online and off, Internet users are increasingly wielded as a resource for economic amelioration, for private capture, and the channels of communication are becoming increasingly inscrutable. Liu and Scholz ask: How does the intertwining of labor and play complicate our understanding of exploitation?

Series Editors
Omar Khan, Trebor Scholz, Mark Shepard

For more information, go to www.situatedtechnologies.net.

Ambient Intelligence, Books, Conferences, Design, Internet of Things, Theory

Situated Technologies Pamphlets 3

June 1, 2010

From the Architectural League NY:

Situated Advocacy
A special double issue featuring the essays
Community Wireless Networks as Situated Advocacy, by Laura Forlano and Dharma Dailey
Suspicious Images, Latent Interfaces, by Benjamin Bratton and Natalie Jeremijenko

The Situated Technologies Pamphlets series, published by the Architectural League, explores the implications of ubiquitous computing for architecture and urbanism. How are our experience of the city and the choices we make in it affected by mobile communications, pervasive media, ambient informatics and other “situated” technologies? How will the ability to design increasingly responsive environments alter the way architects conceive of space? What do architects need to know about urban computing and what do technologists need to know about cities?The third volume in the series considers the topic of advocacy. Advocacy is the act of arguing on behalf of a particular cause, idea or person, and addresses issues including self-advocacy, environmental protection, the rights of women, youth and minorities, social justice, the re-structured digital divide and political reform.

Situated Technologies Pamphlets 3: Situated Advocacy asks how situated technologies have been—or might be—mobilized toward changing and/or influencing social or political policies, practices, and beliefs. What new forms of advocacy are enabled by contemporary location-based or context-aware media and information systems? How might they lend tactical support to the process of managing information flows and disseminating strategic knowledge that influences individual behavior or opinion, corporate conduct or public policy and law?

Situated Technologies Pamphlets will be published in nine issues over three years and will be edited by a rotating list of leading researchers and practitioners from architecture, art, philosophy of technology, comparative media studies, performance studies, and engineering.

Series Editors
Omar Khan, Trebor Scholz, Mark Shepard

For more information, go to www.situatedtechnologies.net.

Ambient Intelligence, Conferences, Internet of Things, Smart Objects, Theory

Spime Talk

April 28, 2010

In this video, Bruce Sterling talks about his spime theory — things, in the Internet of things, tracked through their life cycles. Sterling introduced the concept five years ago. Looking back, what assumptions were incorrect? What did he overlook?

One area Sterling says he underestimated was the robustness of fabbing technology. As we begin to create our own printable products, one day with electronics embedded inside, how will they interact with each other? It’s fascinating stuff.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/10256403]
Ambient Intelligence, Conferences, Design, HCI, Internet of Things, Media Art, playstudies, Smart Objects, Theory, Videos

LIFT09 France videos online

October 9, 2009
The first LIFT France conference on Video.

Lift founder Laurent Haug and Lift France chair Daniel Kaplan will explain the theme and organization of the conference.

Initial and necessary challenge: “Technology & Society: Know your History!”
Is technology liberating us or enslaving us? Hardly a new question, says Dominique Pestre… He will thus challenge us to raise our level of thinking and, in searching for an answer, to embrace dissensus and complexity: How can we welcome techno-skeptics in order to produce more sustainable technologies? Can we really believe that green techs will allow us to avoid drastic (and collective) choices on how we live? How can the interaction between markets, democracy, usage, science, code, become more productive?
Keynote: Dominique Pestre, historian of Science, EHESS, Paris

Changing Things (1) – The Internet of Things is not what you think it is!
If the “Internet of things” was just about adding chips, antennas and interactivity to the things we own, it would be no big deal. Discover a wholly different perspective: Open, unfinished objects which can be transformed and reprogrammed by their users; Objects that document their own components, history, lifecycle; Sensitive and noisy objects that capture, process, mix and publish information. Discover an Internet of Things which intends to transform the industrial world as deeply as the current Internet transformed the world of communication and media.
Keynote: Bruce Sterling, writer, author of Shaping Things
They do it for real: Usman Haque (haque :: design + research / Pachube) and Timo Arnall(Elastic Space)

Video: Timo Arnall: “Making Things Visible” [22:13] A designer and researcher at Oslo School of Architecture, Timo Arnall offers here his perspective about networked objects and ubiquitous computing. His presentation, and the intriguing design examples he takes, highlights two phenomena. On the one hand, he describes how sensors and RFIDs can enable to “make things visible” as the title of his presentation expresses. On the other hand, he shows the importance of going beyond screen-based interactions.

Changing Things (2) – Fab Labs, towards decentralized design and production of material products
Existing or unheard-of things, designed, modified, exchanged and manufactured by individuals or entrepreneurs anywhere in the world; Local workshops equipped with 3D printers and digital machine-tools, able to produce (almost) anything out of its 3D model; P2P object-sharing networks… Are “Fab Labs” heralding a new age of industrial production?
Keynote: Mike Kuniavsky, designer, ThingM
They do it for real: Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino (Tinker.it) and Michael Shiloh (OpenMoko / MakingThings)

Changing Innovation (1)- The end of IT
Today, corporate information systems are innovation’s worst enemies. They set organizations and processes in stone. They restrict the enterprise’s horizons and its networks. They distort its view of the world. But ferments of change emerge. Meet those who breathe new air into current organizations, those who design tomorrow’s Innovation Systems.
Keynote: Marc Giget (Cnam)

They do it for real: Euan Semple (Social computing for the business world) and Martin Duval (Bluenove)

Changing Innovation (2) – Innovating with the non-innovators
Innovating used to be a job in itself. It has become a decentralized procès which includes, in no particular order, researchers, entrepreneurs, designers, artists, activists, and users who reinvent the products they were supposed to consume. Why is that important? What does it really change? And where will it stop? WILL it stop somewhere?
Keynote: Catherine Fieschi, Counterpoint/British Council
They do it for real: Marcos Garcia (Madrid’s Medialab-Prado) and Douglas Repetto, artist and founder of Dorkbot

Takeaways: Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet’s thoughts from Lift
NKM“, 35, is Minister of State to the Prime Minister, with responsibility for Forward Planning and Development of the Digital Economy. Known as an activist for sustainable development, she was minister in charge of Ecology between 2007 and 2009.

Video: Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet’s takeaways (FR) [43:52]

Changing the Planet (1)- Sustainable development, the Way of Desire
What if global warming and the exhaustion of natural resources were in fact, initially, design problems? How do we move from bad, unsustainable design to a design – of goods, services, systems – that is sensitive and sustainable, durable and beautiful, sensible and profitable? Could we build sustainable growth on desire as well as reason, on creativity as well as regulation? Short answer: Yes!
Keynote: Dennis Pamlin, WWF, author of “Sustainability @ the Speed of Light”
They do it for real: John Thackara (Doors of Perception) and Elizabeth Goodman (designer, confectious.net)

Video: Dennis Pamlin: Changing the Planet [23:50] Dennis Pamlin, who is Global Policy Advisor for the WWF, introduces the ecological challenges we face and contrast them with most of the technological progresses. His talk delineates a set of filters to understand how to judge innovation on conjunction with the long-term consequences they might have on the planet.

Video: John Thackara: Changing the Planet [23:14] John Thackara, who is director of Doors of Perception, gives a provocative talk about the role of design in finding solutions to the ecological crisis. After inviting us to avoid terms such as “future” or “sustainable” as they maintain a certain distance to the problem we face, he shows a rich set of projects he participated in. He makes the important point that the resources to be put in place already exist and that they might not necessitates complex technological developments.

Changing the Planet (2) – Co-producing and sharing environmental consciousness
Planetary climate change is too large a challenge for each individual. It can quickly become abstract, technical, remote. How can we reconnect individual aspirations, personal and daily choices, to global challenges? How can we all become part of environmental measurement, evaluate and compare the impact of our own activities, become parts of our collective environmental consciousness?
Keynote: Gunter Pauli, ZERI (Zero Emissions Research & Initiatives)

They do it for real: Frank Kresin (Waag Society) and François Jegou (SDS-Solutioning / Sustainable Everyday)

Video: Gunter Pauli: Changing the Planet [55:14] Gunter Pauli, who founded and directs ZERI, the “Zero Emissions Research Initiative” of the United Nations University in Tokyo, spoke about redesigning manufacturing processes into non-polluting clusters of industries.

Conditional Future
“The best way to predict the future, is to invent it”, said Alan Kay (and Buckminster Fuller). That is only true if as many of us as possible are given the opportunity to discuss, build, experiment and reflect upon their present and their future. Three speakers describe the conditions required to make that possible.
Rob van Kranenburg (Fontys Ambient Intelligence, Council) and Jean-Michel Cornu (Fing)

Via: puttings things first