Wheelie Bin

I'm keeping this week short, and attempt to be a little thematic. We're definitely well into the phas
Wheelie Bin
By Changeist • Issue #3
I’m keeping this week short, and attempt to be a little thematic. We’re definitely well into the phase shift toward the (partial, not full) automation of supply chains and means of mobility. Here in the Netherlands, WEPods, autonomous microbuses, will take to the streets this month in a pilot that will eventually take public passengers from Ede-Wageningen to the nearby university campus. It’s not terribly far away, so I plan to slip onboard when possible for a test run. 
In the meantime, more is being written about the build-up phase to (partial, not full) autonomous mobility, documenting the simple things machine intelligence isn’t quite getting right, as well as the cultural frictions engineers and developers are having to solve for. On the last point, I mentioned At FutureEverything Singapore the recent case of the Google vehicle vs the fixie-riding cyclist, and two weeks ago I linked to the experiments Google attempted with kids in Halloween gear. Below, we have more on how the company is patenting new approaches to machines-signalling-humans problems. This is only the first of many socio-cultural frictions (thingclashes, even) that will be highlighted by the ongoing saga of autonomous-mobility-versus-bipeds.

What We've Been Up To
Last week I finally decided to document a semi-theory that Airbnb has been A/B testing me in a piece posted to Medium. The progress toward making that paranoia (apophenia?) a reality in the time since I started discussing it with friends shows that any sufficiently advanced hallucination is indistinguishable from innovation. Or something.
The Twisted Road to Mobility
A new patent reveals how Google's self driving cars could talk to pedestrians | The Verge
Our cultural co-existence with motorized vehicles is about to be machine-codified in ways that make the typical drivers license test seem like Mario Kart.
A client at an automaker once told me self-parking vehicles could have happened much sooner if it wasn’t for our litigious culture. She was probably right. 
I liked this piece, pointed to by Tim Hwang, in part for the discussion of the Instagram-Shenzen neural pipeline that seems to have developed, but also for making me think how potent a force Shenzen, not Detroit or Munich, will be in shaping micro-transportation in the near future.
This write-up by Matt Jones of a recent collaboration around future urban mobility—namely bike and pedestrian—with Tim Maughan, Extrapolation Factory and others showed some interesting and creative approaches to speculative design as provocation.  
If you haven’t heard, Christmas is coming. Increasingly (and sadly) this sounds more like a threat. Watching British news and friends alike bemoan the continued importation of Black Friday to their shores (and even seeing traces of it here in the Low Countries) shows how inverted the holiday period has become. But come it must. And the best way to guarantee that is by creating costly, private logistics systems to ensure that hoverboard is there on Christmas morning. Expect to see more American transport infrastructure becoming two-tier: one for the public, one for private mobility.
Hat-tip to Justin Pickard, this piece by J.M. Ledgard and Lord Norman Foster tout their vision for African droneports. It’s invocation of “super-fast and super-cheap flying robots carrying precious cargo over mountains, across lakes, and up unnavigable rivers” feels slightly off, but that’s probably in part due to having seen other, similar drones-for-good visions flogged in recent years, and in part down to the choice mention by Foster of his “let robots print moonbases from lunar regolith” concept. 
The Network
Our extended network has been quiet this past week, so I’ll use this space to plug a couple of our own upcoming activities:
Upcoming Workshop at Thingscon NL — Thingclash
Natalie and I will be running our first Thingclash workshop at Thingscon in Amsterdam Friday, 4 December. We’ll be playing with some new card-based widgets and look forward to prototyping some exercises. 
Lastly, if you’re in New York City on 17-18 December and are interested in a one-day Masterclass in Applied Futures, drop me an email and I can send you more information. While these are normally done for single organizations, we’ve had a late request to offer one for individuals or teams from different organizations. Location TBA. 
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A periodic look into research threads on critical futures, strategy, post-normal innovation, providing a look over the shoulder of the team at Changeist. Each issue includes brief analysis, links, updates, and occasional invisible hand gestures.
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