By Iskander Smit

Target_is_New - Issue #183





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Target_is_New - Issue #183
By Iskander Smit • Issue #183 • View online
Hi all. You sometimes think that the moment has passed, and you missed the impact. I felt like one of the few that did not catch covid. But it seems there is a final round now, so many people did catch it last week as I heard. And I am one. Luckily that I don’t really feel sick. A light fever, one day chilly, and less energy. And a bit of a cold that can touch my voice. Especially last Friday, just at moment we had the Mozfest workshop… I think it did not really impact the flow and we had a lovely and intimate session.
In the middle of the week, I participated in a session at Amsterdam UAS and had dinner with the group, all on food commoning supported by AI systems, organized by Viktor. The workshop was super rich and triggered some good thoughts on AI systems in relation to commons, distribution, and communities which has a lot of relevance for the field lab projects that focus on Cities of Things neighborhood services. I will keep you updated as soon as there is a publication or report. 

one of the activities impersonating the AI and actors
one of the activities impersonating the AI and actors
Some online sessions I checked: a Dezeen panel on metaverse and architecture with some great reflections by Liam Young. You might even only check his 5 min introduction starting at 7:40. Behind the scenes of the metaverse, the render sweatshops. Real people that exist on the other side. “No technology has ever really been a solution to anything, it really just exaggerates the conditions that exist”.
Oh and what about the Apple event of last week…?
Upcoming for the week
I did cancel some appointments of course, as part of the covid rulings. I missed last week’s opening of the Arcam exhibition I mentioned earlier. And Superflux at Droog is also still on my list. For the rest, I have not on the calendar. Let me know if I miss something…
You can of course follow SXSW from a distance as I do. I am curious if I will feel the urge next year to go again. Erwin Blom has set up a collective blog for Dutch participants to share their experiences, so check it out if you can read Dutch.
News of last week
Astonishingly Hyperconnected: Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss
SMASH Lab Uses Wearables To Train New Privacy
The rise of robot dogs
Predicting the past with Ithaca | DeepMind
Superflux debuts ‘The Library’ at Dubai’s Museum of the Future
Zaha Hadid Architects building Metaverse city Liberland
PFP NFTs are hot. Fashion is starting to dress them
Michael Milford on Twitter
Paper of the week
This rather long paper might not be the most accessible to read, as it is diving into foundational issues as the title promises:
Herrmann-Pillath, C. (2017). Foundational Issues of ‘Technosphere Science’–the case for a new scientific discipline. Available at SSRN 3034099
“This paper submits the case for establishing ‘technosphere science’ as an independent scientific discipline that draws on results of many other disciplines, reaching from physics to the humanities, with economics as a major contributing discipline.”
So it introduces the concept of technosphere in response to the Anthropocene we live in now. “This concept provides the foundation for a central ontological notion of technosphere science, distributed agency or ‘agencement’, following Actor-Network-Theory. Agency is no longer seen as a property exclusive to humans, but as emerging from networks of entities, including humans, artefacts and living systems.”
I am not fully convinced by the term technosphere, but it makes sense in the author’s frame:
“(…) the technosphere is the sphere of technology, in which humans play a role, but not necessarily the central role”
Relations are key here again: “In any case, in the technosphere artefacts and human action, mediated by human sense-making and interpretive creativity, are deeply enmeshed with each other.”
Ok, one more: “The question is what kinds of artefacts factually operate as autonomous agents, and which are just components of them. A city might be an autonomous agent, whereas as hammer is not. But once we include humans, the hammer plus a human can be regarded as an autonomous agent: The hammer is a part of the human extended phenotype.”
That was only the beginning of the article. If you are into the relation of humans and nonhuman actors and the relations they have, this might be an inspirational paper to read. To build upon or oppose ;)
Find the PDF here.
See you next week!
Did you enjoy this issue?
Iskander Smit

I am working @Infonl as a research director, and chair Cities of Things, blogger Target_is_New, co-organizing @ThingsCon.
Visiting researcher at TU Delft Industrial Design Engineering.

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