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A weblog by Kars Alfrink.

Last Build Date: Wed, 03 Jan 2018 16:27:06 +0000


Books I’ve read in 2017

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 16:25:36 +0000

Returning to what is something of an annual tradition, these are the books I’ve read in 2017. I set myself the goal of getting to 36 and managed 38 in the end. They’re listed below with some commentary on particularly memorable or otherwise noteworthy reads. To make things a bit more user friendly I’ve gone … Continue reading Books I’ve read in 2017

Prototyping the Useless Butler: Machine Learning for IoT Designers

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 11:52:55 +0000

At ThingsCon Amsterdam 2017, Péter and I ran a second iteration of our machine learning workshop. We improved on our first attempt at TU Delft in a number of ways. We prepared example code for communicating with Wekinator from a wifi connected Arduino MKR1000 over OSC. We created a predefined breadboard setup. We developed three … Continue reading Prototyping the Useless Butler: Machine Learning for IoT Designers

Design and machine learning – an annotated reading list

Thu, 31 Aug 2017 09:23:11 +0000

Earlier this year I coached Design for Interaction master students at Delft University of Technology in the course Research Methodology. The students organised three seminars for which I provided the claims and assigned reading. In the seminars they argued about my claims using the Toulmin Model of Argumentation. The readings served as sources for backing … Continue reading Design and machine learning – an annotated reading list

Status update

Thu, 24 Aug 2017 13:21:56 +0000

This is not exactly a now page, but I thought I would write up what I am doing at the moment since last reporting on my status in my end-of-year report. The majority of my workdays are spent doing freelance design consulting. My primary gig has been through Eend at the Dutch Victim Support Foundation, … Continue reading Status update

‘Hybrid Writing for Conversational Interfaces’ workshop

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 13:11:11 +0000

On May 24 of this year, Niels ’t Hooft and myself ran a workshop titled ‘Hybrid Writing for Conversational Interfaces’ at TU Delft. Our aim was twofold: teach students about writing characters and dialog, and teach them how to prototype chat interfaces. We spent a day with roughly thirty industrial design students alternating between bits … Continue reading ‘Hybrid Writing for Conversational Interfaces’ workshop

Curiosity is our product

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 10:44:19 +0000

A few weeks ago I facilitated a discussion on ‘advocacy in a post-truth era’ at the European Digital Rights Initiative’s annual general assembly. And last night I was part of a discussion on fake news at a behaviour design meetup in Amsterdam. This was a good occasion to pull together some of my notes and … Continue reading Curiosity is our product

‘Machine Learning for Designers’ workshop

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 13:18:35 +0000

On Wednesday Péter Kun, Holly Robbins and myself taught a one-day workshop on machine learning at Delft University of Technology. We had about thirty master’s students from the industrial design engineering faculty. The aim was to get them acquainted with the technology through hands-on tinkering with the Wekinator as central teaching tool. Background The reasoning … Continue reading ‘Machine Learning for Designers’ workshop

Design × AI coffee meetup

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 15:14:20 +0000

If you work in the field of design or artificial intelligence and are interested in exploring the opportunities at their intersection, consider yourself invited to an informal coffee meetup on February 15, 10am at Brix in Amsterdam. Erik van der Pluijm and myself have for a while now been carrying on a conversation about AI … Continue reading Design × AI coffee meetup

High-skill robots, low-skill workers

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:06:32 +0000

Some notes on what I think I understand about technology and inequality. Let’s start with an obvious big question: is technology destroying jobs faster than they can be replaced? On the long term the evidence isn’t strong. Humans always appear to invent new things to do. There is no reason this time around should be … Continue reading High-skill robots, low-skill workers

Move 37

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 10:54:11 +0000

Designers make choices. They should be able to provide rationales for those choices. (Although sometimes they can’t.) Being able to explain the thinking that went into a design move to yourself, your teammates and clients is part of being a professional. Move 37. This was the move AlphaGo made which took everyone by surprise because … Continue reading Move 37