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Trends, nyheder og inspiration

Se vores arkiv over tidligere artikler med trends inden for kunsthåndværk og design til boligindretning.

Nyheder

Læs de seneste nyheder inden for design og kunst-
håndværk.

03-11-2009 Nyhedsbrev november 2009

Another Table Design Inspired by Natural Bodies of Water

Do you remember Greg Klassen's River Collection of tables? To refresh your memory, the Pacific-Northwest-based craftsman used two slabs with live edges to make one tabletop—but he flipped the live edges over to the inside. By precisely cutting a piece of glass to match the edges, the resultant table looks like a natural river:

A paradoxically similar-but-totally-different table is London-based designer Christopher Duffy's Abyss Table. This one also uses glass and wood:

As you can see, Duffy's gone with plywood (CNC-cut, we imagine) rather than Klassen's natural wood, and references the ocean rather than a river.

It's fascinating how each additional layer of glass filters the light in the same way that ocean water does, creating visually murky depths.

Duffy and his team reportedly spent a year getting the design right. And as you can guess, it's not for mass production: The handmade table's run is limited to just 25 units.


Google's AI Has Conquered Tetris. Next Up? The World.

Let’s say you met a caveman and wanted to teach him Tetris. How would you go about it?

You and the caveman would probably sit down on a couch one afternoon and, after a perfunctory description of the rules, just start playing. The first few games would end quickly, as they always do, but eventually your caveman would get better. He’d start making inferences. His reaction times would grow quicker. Shortly thereafter, you and your caveman would get hungry, turn off your Atari console, and go eat dinner.

PLAYING A GAME CANNOT BE REDUCED TO ROBOTIC EFFICIENCY.

Devices don’t take dinner breaks. Nor, for that matter, do they get hungry. It should therefore come as little surprise that Deep Mind Technologies, which was acquired by Google in 2014, has built an Artificial Intelligence that can teach itself how to play games on the Atari 2600. “Google's AI system surpassed the performance of expert humans in 29 games,” reports Bloomberg’s Jack Clark, “and outperformed the best-known algorithmic methods for completing games in 43 instances.”

Image of IBM's Watson via Clockready.

Google isn’t coming for your videogames, not even the classics from the 1980s. Tetris is simply easier to learn than, say, driving an automated car. In that respect, Deep Mind Technologies’ current achievement is but a small step on the road to building technologies that can learn from their mistakes and grow wiser with time.

But there’s another reason Google isn’t coming for your videogames, and it’s quite simple: The experience of playing a game cannot be reduced to robotic efficiency. Sure, the point of Tetris is to achieve something close to that efficiency, but its enjoyment comes from the ways in which that goal can never be fully reached. Indeed, as Google’s AI has proven, the goalposts in Tetris keep moving. The game is a fundamentally human pursuit.  

In the latest issue of the London Review of Books, the British journalist and novelist John Lanchester offers a gloomier look at the relationship between games and the (possibly) coming rise of AI:

The scenario we’re given – the one being made to feel inevitable – is of a hyper-capitalist dystopia. There’s capital, doing better than ever; the robots, doing all the work; and the great mass of humanity, doing not much, but having fun playing with its gadgets. (Though if there’s no work, there are going to be questions about who can afford to buy the gadgets.) 

That, Lanchester concedes, is the worst-case scenario. It is also possible that the technologies presaged by a self-taught, computerized Tetris prodigy simply serves to ameliorate labour’s lot. (Lanchester does not find this latter possibility unlikely so much as he is depressed by the lack of interest in these more socialist outcomes.) Regardless, there’s some small comfort in knowing that, when the revolution comes, we’ll be stuck at home with our gadgets. AI can master Tetris but it can never enjoy a game’s visuals or its fleeting pleasures. At the end of the day, we’ll all make it to the end of No Man’s Sky’s universe at the same time.

Story by David Rudin for Kill Screen.

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DOE Selects 20 Universities For Solar Decathlon--Parsons is Picked

The Department of Energy just selected 20 Universities to compete in building a solar-powered house and Parsons School of Design made the cut for the 2011 competition.

Parsons is teaming up with the Stevens Institute of Technology to provide solar-powered Habitat for Humanity housing for residents of the low-income Deanwood neighborhood of Ward 7 in Washington, D.C.

The design consists of two modules that unite to form a functioning solar duplex. Each module is sustainable on its own, but they achieve peak efficiency when joined together. Module One will be assembled in Deanwood, and Module Two will be displayed on the National Mall for Solar Decathlon 2011. After the competition, the two modules will be connected to form a duplex that can house two families.

According to Parsons, "the duplex's primary power is generated using hybrid photovoltaic thermal cells, which produce electric energy and collect thermal energy to boost overall efficiency."

The dean of Parsons, Joel Towers, tells me that the Solar Decathlon projects involves dozens of classes in architecture, urban planning, design and technology.

Innovation Shifts to Asia and Europe, Away From The US

When I began the Most Innovative Companies annual survey with BCG's James Andrew, nearly all the top 50 companies were American. This year, more than half of the most innovative companies in the world came from Asia and Europe. Despite all hoopla and blah-blah about innovation among CEOs in the US, the actual building of the rituals and processes that produce innovation is increasingly taking place outside America. With the S&P 500 stuck at 1999 levels, the profit proof is in the pudding. There has been an innovation mirage in the US over the past decade, perhaps two.

The new story lies in the BRICs--China, India and Brazil. Last year Greater China (including Taiwan) was 46 out of 50 in the survey. This year it is tied with Japan. Lenovo, BYD, Haier, China Mobile and HTC are on the list.

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