Gezocht: co-design deelnemers voor inspirerend studentenproject. Jij staat centraal!

Design your life!
Op 1 februari begint een nieuw studentenproject, dat duurt tot april (rond Pasen). Ik zoek deelnemers met een beperking/ speciale behoefte (fysiek, zintuiglijk, of cognitief) die met een studententeam willen meedoen als ‘co-design deelnemer’. Wat wordt er van je verwacht? Studenten Productontwerpen universiteit Twente ontwerpen met jou een product dat jou kan helpen in het dagelijks leven. Jij bepaalt het onderwerp. Alles gaat dit jaar digitaal, in verband met Corona. Je hebt minimaal 3x keer met de studenten een digitaal gesprek, bv via skype, Zoom, Teams (of andere communicatiemiddelen die jij prettig vindt), en wellicht tussendoor via Whatsapp. De studenten kunnen je bijvoorbeeld ook vragen om een filmpje te maken van je eigen leven. Dit allemaal in goed overleg met jou. De studenten gaan onderzoeken: wie ben jij, waar loop je tegenaan en wat zou jou kunnen helpen? Bijvoorbeeld iets dat helpt met bepaalde taken, of juist met ontspannen en relaxen, of iets dat helpt met communicatie. Het kan van alles zijn: waar jij behoefte aan hebt. De studenten maken aan het einde een ‘prototype’. Wees je bewust, een prototype werkt meestal nog niet echt, daar is de tijd te kort voor. maar het proces zelf is vaak al erg leuk en leerzaam. Je kunt ook deelnemen samen met hulp van jouw begeleider, als je die hebt. Kijk hier voor voorbeelden van afgelopen jaar: Meer info? Stuur een email naar Alvast enorm bedankt!

Hang in there! We wish you all a healthy 2021

This has been the weirdest year ever. And unfortunately, 2021 does not seem to be the natural end of it. We probably have quite a way to go before we can beat this virus. Hopefully good things will come out of it as well. We need to – and perhaps we may now finally start to – seriously rethink our place on Spaceship Earth – and we need to find (or rediscover) how to live with our environment in a way that is based on a balanced mutual exchange, where we give as much as we take, such that the planet as a whole remains healthy and in equilibrium. For too long we have been extracting but not returning, taking but not giving. Our entire global economy is built on the idea that people can create value by extracting resources from the planet and then keeping the change. This has to stop, because a pandemic like this if obviously not just a pandemic – it is a symbol of a fundamentally broken system. I also hope we will soon be able to be intimate and close to one another and to touch one another again – in appropriate ways, of course – because human being is an embodied being, and we have bee playing this cognitivist, neo-Cartesian game, sitting behind our screens, enacting a form of contact where in reality there is none, for too long. Let’s make this planet healthy again 🙂

Succesful #vaccination starts in the mind

Governments that are thinking about how to vaccinate the population against #Covid19 should realise that vaccination is not just the physical substance of the vaccine entering the physical body: vaccination starts in our minds. If no more than 60% of the Dutch population is willing to take the vaccine, the problem of vaccination is no longer a purely medical challenge. Our society is at the present moment not just affected by a biological virus, but equally so by a virus of the mind: the conspiracy theory. People have always been susceptible to conspiracies, but internet has changed the game completely. It all the more shows us that our basic human intuitions viz a viz the world we encounter – that is, how we give meaning to the things we notice in our environment, do very much still contain the same forms of (collective) psychosis that we would associate with Medieval or even pre-historic times. We have never been modern. The task, then, of governments is not just to get rid of any virus particles hiding in our lungs – we need to think about ways to make us immune against conspiracies, and we need to start thinking about this fast, because that, I fear, is the real pandemic that could mean the end of us all.

Who knows good digital solutions for ‘walking and chatting together’?

As we are forced to transform our life into a digital version of itself, I of course like many of you have experienced the shallowness of existing dominant communication platforms. One can do a bit of chatting over twitter, or whatsapp, or linkedin. One can do full-blown meetings using Zoom or MS Teams, or any equivalent video conferencing app. But if we think about it, there are so many different kinds of communicating in person that are not captured well by the affordances and features of these tools.

For example: I would like to go out on a walk in the park, just mindlessly wandering about, and then talk with another person. But that person is miles away. Of course I can just do a phone call, in fact, that works pretty well. But if I want to chat not with one, but with two persons? Or three? Walk outside, and sometimes have a break, and chat? Sometimes walk with Peter, and chat with him, and then a while later walk next to Charlotte, and catch up with her?

I would be interested to know: what kinds of alternative communication tools have you tried out, or heard of, so far, that go beyond the standard call, Zoom call, or message chat? What is the gem we should know about that we don’t know about yet?

I found some solutions here, but the list seems not too long yet. An opportunity for designers!

Come join us at the the philosophy of Human Technology Relations Conference!

The website is live! and it looks utterly fab. I am very much looking forward to this fully virtual conference on the philosophy of human technology relations at the University of Twente. I will be chairing a couple of sessions, most of them about robotics and AI, which proved to be a very popular topic amongst the people submitting talks this year. I decided to volunteer to chair for those sessions because @abebab and @frankpasquale and me are also giving a talk on Saturday about robots – or rather, against them: debunking robot rights: metaphysically, ethically and legally (session 56 on the website). Next to that I am part of a workshop on Thursday night organized by Steven Dorresteijn and Wouter Eggink (session 31 on the website), where I give a talk about how to do Philosophy through Design.