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Translate your life into rules
Sander Veenhof

Be Your Own Robot

Will we live our life as a robot in the near future, or will we find ways to control the algorithms that determine what we do?

All week By Sander Veenhof

In more and more of our activities, software helps us with advice or guidance. But is it acceptable that our lives are increasingly shaped by algorithms that we have no insight into? It's time to fundamental redesign of the role technology plays in our life. Programming ourselves can be a start.

In many areas of our life it's software that leads the way. What we encounter on the internet, who and what comes our way, it's all defined by algorithms. And because the digital world is becoming more and more intertwined with our physical reality thanks to our smartphones, algorithms increasingly determine how we deal with the world around us. By closing our laptops and putting our smartphones away we can become independent again, but that's a temporary solution, not a future-proof approach. Instead, we need a radical redesign of how we allow software to operate us. Can we take back control, while maintaining the convenience of an automated existence but without losing our autonomy?

With the BeYourOwnRobot web-app we can do so, programming ourselves from scratch. By specifying 'If someone / nobody / everybody does this, then I will do that' rules we can design our own behavior, what to do, and how to react on activities carried out by other people.

During the DDW your fellow participants can be anywhere. But despite the physical distance you'll feel their presence when they're triggering the rules that you choose to configure for yourself.

Sander Veenhof

With a university degree in computer science and my education at the Gerrit Rietveld art academy, my expertise is twofold. I have the skills to realise anything I imagine, and I like to use my imagination to work on non-existent solutions for non-existent problems. I'm fascinated by our future as semi-digital beings, living in a programmable world with infiniute opportunities.