Adventure 17 – Hello Robot

This week my sister came by for a visit. We went to the Hello Robot exhibition at the Vitra museum in Weil am Rhein. It’s a great collection of robots and modern automated gadgets and poses the question of what robots mean for the future of humanity.

This here is the robot that will annihilate us humans if it ever gets AI.

This is the BlabDroid, an innocent cute robot that goes around asking personal questions and films people’s answers. It successfully demonstrates how willing we are to open up to a cute machine about things we’d seldom share even with friends. This baseless trust we display is telling. I can see this leading to the evaporation of privacy because it’s only things watching us not people. Is that a good thing?

And here’s a selfie from under the Elytra Filament Pavilion. It’s a robot assembled Pavilion that is only a start at what is to come of intelligent robot assembled architecture and design.

And remember: friends don’t unfriend friends. On that note, when did friend become a verb? And why does friend becoming a verb coincide with it losing so much of its meaning?

Adventure 16 – A Surprise Visit

After Úll I dropped by my brother in Belfast for a surprise visit.

A mutual friend of ours colluded with me to set up the reveal. He picked me up and I stayed at his place after arriving at midnight. He had innocently invited my brother and a couple unassuming friends for breakfast – pancakes of course.

The surprise was a success and I enjoyed the two days I had there before heading back.

Adventure 15 – Úll

Úll 2017 was great. Not just good but really good.

Úll is an Apple/Tech/Design conference in Ireland. It was a couple weeks ago as I’m writing this but is still a fresh memory. I met many great people and had a lot of good conversations. In truth that’s the true value in conferences and get togethers: meeting like-spirited people1 to be inspired, encouraged and challenged by.

Úll is great for that because it’s built up a reputation as a quality conference and so attracts a wide range of people you wouldn’t see at your normal tech conference. I mean, I’m a mechanical engineer! What was I doing there? Learning about cool stuff with awesome people. And that’s always worth it.

And it’s beautiful too. Loved it at the Europe. Was the last time there. Excited to see what the Úll team have in store for us next year.

  1. I say like-spirited because it’s not the like minded people that can help us most. They may be the most comfortable to be around but will never challenge our status quo.

Adventure 14 – Oberweisbach

This week I cheated. Sort of. My trip to Oberweisbach was partly work related. I went there to learn more about origami for my Master thesis. I had fun and met great people.

But a trip isn't all work, even if time spent at the destination is. And even if it's work, I can still appreciate some good views and getting to travel.

First surprise was this odd thing.

It's a cable railway and probably the oldest piece of transportation I've used. The Oberweisbacher Bergbahn is almost 95 years old.

There are two carriages on either end of a cable, one at the bottom of the hill and one at the top. Like a pulley system, as one lowers the other rises. Clever system really.

A view from the top. The maximum incline is 25%.

This here is a castle nearby. Believe me, it's massive. The left building is also huge, but only the armory. Upon reopening later this year it is to house the largest collection of historic armor and weapons in the world. That and a nearby cycling route may make it worth a second visit.