Joseph Mercer suggests creating more “feral” London green belt

July 23, 2018 Natasha Levy 0

Royal College of Art graduate Joseph Mercer has proposed building Netherlands-style greenhouses on London’s green belt to intensity food production and allow farmland to be returned to a wilder natural state. Mercer envisions building a series of greenhouses on the Metropolitan Green Belt, a band of countryside that runs around London to control urban growth. As

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Being Nudged by AI

Personal AI (artificial intelligence) assistants are now nearly ubiquitous. Every leading smartphone operating system comes with a personal AI assistant that promises to help you with basic cognitive tasks such as searching, planning, messaging and so on. Usage of such devices is effectively a form of algorithmic outsourcing: getting a smart algorithm to do something on your behalf. Many have expressed concerns about this algorithmic outsourcing. They claim that it is dehumanizing, leads to cognitive degeneration, and robs us of our freedom and autonomy.

Classically, following the work of Alan Turing, human-likeness was the operative standard in definitions of AI. A system could only be held to be intelligent if it could think or act like a human with respect to one or more tasks. The precise definition of AI is divided into four main categories: thinking like a human, acting like a human, thinking rationally, and acting rationally.

Humans have long outsourced the performance of cognitive tasks to others. If humanistic outsourcing demands its own ethical framework, then presumably AI outsourcing does too. But what might that ethical framework look like?

In order to think about the ethical significance of such cognitive outsourcing, it helps to draw upon some theoretical models. One thesis- according to the situated/embodied cognition school of thought is that cognition is not a purely brain-based phenomenon. We don’t just think inside our heads.  Cognition is a distributed phenomenon, not a localized one. We use maps to navigate, notebooks to remember, rulers to measure, calculators to calculate and so on. We can think about these interactions with cognitive artifacts at the system level (i.e., our brains/bodies plus the artifact) and the personal level (i.e., how we interact with the artifact):

  • At the system level, the cognitive performance is often enhanced by the artifact: me-plus-pen-and-paper is better at than me-without-pen-and-paper. But the system level enhancement is achieved by changing the cognitive task performed at the personal level: instead of imagining numbers in my head and adding and subtracting them using some mentally represented algorithm, I visually represent the numbers on a page, in a format that facilitates the easy application of an algorithm.
  • On the other hand, when we start using a new artifact to assist with the performance of a cognitive task, we shouldn’t think of this simply as a form of outsourcing. The artifact may share (or takeover) the cognitive burden, but in doing so, it will also change the cognitive environment in which we operate. It will create new cognitive tasks for us to perform and open up new modes or styles of cognition.

One thing that is missing is any discussion of the positive role that AI assistance could play in addressing other cognitive deficits that are induced by resource scarcity. If a resource is scarce to you, you tend to focus all your cognitive energies on it. In other words, cognitive outsourcing through AI could redress scarcity-induced cognitive imbalances within one’s larger cognitive ecology. This serves as a counterbalance to some concerns about degeneration.

Moreover, autonomy and responsibility should also be taken into account when it comes to a discussion of the role of AI assistance. It is commonly believed that personal happiness and self-fulfillment are best served when one pursues goals that are of his/her own choosing; it is also commonly believed that the achievement and meaning derived from personal goals is dependent on one’s own being responsible for what one does. If AI assistance threatened autonomy and responsibility, it could have an important knock-on effect on our personal happiness and fulfillment.

There is some worry that AI would gradually ‘nudge’ a person into a set of preferences and beliefs about the world that are not of his or her own making. Yet, there might be something different about the kinds of nudging that are made possible through AI assistants: they can constantly and dynamically update an individual’s choice architecture to make it as personally appealing as possible, learning from past behavior and preferences, and so make it much more likely that they will select the choice architect’s preferred option.

The primary value of some interpersonal actions comes from immediate, conscious engagement in the performance of that action. To the extent that AI assistants replace that immediate, conscious engagement, they should be avoided. Nevertheless, in many other cases, the value of interpersonal actions lies in their content and effect; in these cases, the use of AI assistants may be beneficial, provided they are not used in a deceptive/misleading way. This is, of course, very generic.

The intention would be for these principles to be borne in mind by users of the technology as they try to make judicious use of them in their lives. Yet, these principles could also be of use to designers. If they wish to avoid negatively impacting on their user’s lives, then considering the effect of their technologies on cognitive capacity, autonomy, and interpersonal virtue would be important.

More guidance on which types of activity derive their value from an immediate conscious engagement or the situations/abilities that would be in need of some resiliency would always be desirable.

The original Data Driven Investor article contributed by Ayse Kok is here. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CDOTrends.

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Fijal House by Mole Architects borrows details from Ely cathedral

July 23, 2018 Alyn Griffiths 0

The sawtooth brick facades and steeply pitched roof of this house designed by Mole Architects in Ely, Cambridgeshire, are derived from architectural features found at the city’s famous cathedral. The Cambridge-based studio was tasked with developing a two-storey family house on a plot in Ely’s central conservation area. Fijal House replaces a garage on a site

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LAM – Lisser Art Museum / KVDK architecten

July 23, 2018 Rayen Sagredo 0

From country estate to cultural park
The Keukenhof is famous around the world for its flower garden. Laid out between 1950 and 1958 for a National Flowering Bulb Exhibition, the garden is part of the grounds of the historical Keukenhof country estate. Dating from 1658, it featured a terraced garden with an artificial dike, unique in the Netherlands at that time. In 1860 the entire park was redesigned by the celebrated father and son landscape architects J.D. and L.P. Zocher. The estate has since been accorded national heritage status. In a masterplan drawn up in 2010, the area around Keukenhof Castle was designated a ‘cultural park’.

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Spotlight: Geoffrey Bawa

July 23, 2018 Patrick Kunkel 0

Despite his late entry into architecture, Geoffrey Manning Bawa FRIBA, (July 23, 1919 – May 27, 2003), explored modernism and its cultural implications, and created a unique, recognizable style of design which had a lasting impact on architects across the world. Well versed in Modernist theory, Bawa was one of the original proponents of Tropical Modernism, a design movement in which sensitivity for local context combines with the form-making principles of modernism. Bawa’s architecture led to the formation of a new architectural identity and aesthetic for many tropical environments, and won him recognition and awards, including the Chairman’s Award of the Aga Kahn Special Chairman’s Award for Architecture (2001) and the title Deshamanya, in recognition by the government of Sri Lanka for his contributions to his country.

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Clifton Cathedral / Purcell

July 23, 2018 Daniel Tapia 0

Purcell, the UK’s leading firm of architects, master planners, and heritage consultants, has completed repairs to the Roman Catholic Cathedral Church of SS. Peter and Paul in Clifton, Bristol, making Britain’s last major church building watertight for the first time. Purcell worked closely with the client, Clifton Diocese, to improve the internal environment while respecting the architecture of the brutalist structure, with detailed design proposals that harmonize with the richness of the iconic building.

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Clifton Cathedral / Purcell

July 23, 2018 Daniel Tapia 0

Purcell, the UK’s leading firm of architects, master planners, and heritage consultants, has completed repairs to the Roman Catholic Cathedral Church of SS. Peter and Paul in Clifton, Bristol, making Britain’s last major church building watertight for the first time. Purcell worked closely with the client, Clifton Diocese, to improve the internal environment while respecting the architecture of the brutalist structure, with detailed design proposals that harmonize with the richness of the iconic building.

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Housing operation Île Saint-Denis / Périphériques Architectes

July 23, 2018 Rayen Sagredo 0

This project was born from a competition launched in 2007 by the developer Bremond in partnership with ING Real Estate, for the creation of an exemplary district on the Ile Saint-Denis. We won this competition in partnership with the Dutch urban planners West 8 and some other architectural firms. The private developer had subsequently sold the development of the ZAC to a public developer, Plaine Commune.

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Spotlight: Arata Isozaki

July 23, 2018 Dario Goodwin 0

Japanese architect, teacher, and theorist Arata Isozaki (born 23 July, 1931) helped bring Japanese influence to some of the most prestigious buildings of the 20th century, and continues to work at the highest level today. Initially working in a distinctive form of modernism, Isozaki developed his own thoughts and theories on architecture into a complex style that invokes pure shape and space as much as it evokes post-modern ideas. Highly adaptable and socially concerned, his work has been acclaimed for being sensitive to context while still making statements of its own.

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Urban Services Center / José Luis López Siles + Francisco Moreno Martínez

July 23, 2018 Cristobal Rojas 0

 This new facility building, designed to be a clinic and an administrative and training center for the development of actions of urban and social regeneration is located at the entrance of the port areas of the city of Motril, in an enclave of little urban value but with a clear condition gateway to the neighborhood. The building proposal seeks on the one hand to be adapted in scale to the environment, but without sacrificing to become a recognizable reference as befits the public use for which it is intended. The building, which is developed on a plot of facilities along with other buildings already constructed, is designed for simple and intuitive way through the duality of the uses contains:

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School for Curative Pedagogy HPT Biel / bauzeit architekten

July 23, 2018 Daniel Tapia 0

School for Curative Pedagogy HPT Biel, extension, and total refurbishment 2015-2017
The school for curative pedagogy HPT Biel is a special school for children aged 4 to 18 years who need a special learning environment due to their mental and/or physical disabilities. With 116 children, it is one of the three largest special schools in the canton’s Bern. The school building from 1974 has been extended on three sides. The extensions are based on the existing basic grid of equilateral triangles.

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Treewow O – A Tree House of Curved Round Roof / MONOARCHI

July 22, 2018 舒岳康 - SHU Yuekang 0

The project is located in a rarely visited mountain village at the foot of the Siming Mountain in Yuyao, Zhejiang Province. The village rests on the edge of a secondary forest. a small river, dividing the village into two parts, slowly runs through from north to south. The tree house is located on the west bank of the lower stream. Two peaks facing to each other are standing on the east and the west sides of the site, where verdant bamboos are spread all over the hill, creating an amiable and tranquil atmosphere. 

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Aree House / Monotello

July 22, 2018 Rayen Sagredo 0

A single owner house has stood on this site for over 60 years. The dwelling has been passed on from generation to generation and recently required upgrading.

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Top nine features of the 2018 MacBook Pro

July 22, 2018 0


There is lots to love in Apple’s latest pro-level portable Macs. AppleInsider has broken down our top nine features found in the latest MacBook Pros.[embedded content]Third-generation keyboardWe noticed a difference right awa…

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Family House on Nedű Street / Építész Stúdió

July 22, 2018 Daniel Tapia 0

The unique form of the house developed quite early in the process, due to the strict constraints by regulations. On a narrow corner plot, with the maximized height and areas, the roof was the only place where, with a small twist, the otherwise unusable attic became a spacious room with a bathroom.

Square Feet Studio opts for “spare nautical” interior at Atlanta oyster bar

July 22, 2018 Bridget Cogley 0

American firm Square Feet Studio has used subtle maritime references, like wood panelling, and hints of blue and green, throughout this seafood restaurant in Atlanta. Watchman’s Seafood & Spirits opened inside an existing restaurant space at the Georgia city’s Krog Street Market, which Square Feet Studio overhauled as the third project with the restaurant’s four owners. Featuring

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Product Of The Week: A Beautiful, Mechanically Locked USB Drive

July 22, 2018 HD Staff 0

Our product of the week this time is a rather curious device. It is beautiful in its design and ingenious in its operation. A secret combination of the positions of the four gears releases a concealed USB drive. Get it on Amazon. Recommended Reading: 50 Cool Kitchen Gadgets That Would Make Your Life Easier Advertisement