Categoryconference

Netzpolitik13: Das Internet der Dinge: Rechte, Regulierung & Spannungsfelder

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My slides from Das ist Netzpolitik (Berlin, 1. September 2017). Title: “Das Internet der Dinge: Rechte, Regulierung & Spannungsfelder“.

Vom Hobby-Basteln bis hin zur Smart City: Das Internet of Things (#IoT) hat zunehmend Berührungspunkte mit allen Bereichen unseres Lebens. Aber wer bestimmt was erlaubt ist, was mit unseren Daten passiert, und ob es OK ist, unter die Haube zu gucken? IoT sitzt an der Schnittstelle vieler Technologie-, Governance- und Regulierungsbereiche—und schafft dadurch gleich eine ganze Reihe von Spannungsfeldern.

Due to technical issues with the video projection, my slides weren’t shown for the first few minutes. Apologies. On the plus side, the organizers had kindly put a waving cat on the podium for me. ?

It’s a rare talk in that I gave it in German, something I’m hardly used to these days.

In it, I argue that IoT poses a number of particular challenges that we need to address (incl. the level of complexity and blurred lines across disciplines and expertise; power dynamics; and transparency). I outline inherent tensions and propose a few approaches on how to tackle them, especially around increasing transparency and legibility of IoT products.

I conclude with a call for Europe to actively take a global leadership role in the area of consumer and data protection, analog to Silicon Valley’s (claimed/perceived) leadership in disruptive innovation as well as funding/scaling of digital products, and to Shenzhen’s hardware manufacturing leadership.

Netzpolitik has an extensive write-up in German.

Speaking about responsible IoT & user rights

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Happy to announce that I’ll be speaking at not one, but two excellent conferences this fall about a topic I care deeply about: A responsible IoT and users’ rights. In other words, how we can make sure the Internet of Things works for everyone?

Das ist Netzpolitik!
On 1 September 2017 I’ll be speaking at Netzpolitik‘s annual conference Das ist Netzpolitik! (program), in German, about tensions inherent in the power dynamics of IoT as well as the regulatory environment: Das Internet der Dinge: Rechte, Regulierung und Spannungsfelder.

Underexposed
On 9 November 2017, also in Berlin, I’ll be at SimplySecure‘s conference Underexposed (program). My talk there is called The Internet of Sneaky Things. I’ll be exploring how IoT security, funding and business models, centralization and data mining, and some larger challenges around the language we use to consider the impact of data-driven systems combined all form a substantial challenge for all things related to IoT. But it’s not all bleak. There are measures we can—and through ThingsCon, we do—take.

I’m very much looking forward to both events, and to chatting with the other participants there. These are some great communities. If you’re there, please don’t be shy, so come and say hi!

View Source II: ThingsCon goes Shenzhen (Part II)

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Outside HuaqiangBei market, the street looks like a regular retail zone. But inside, it’s unlike any market you’ve ever seen.

TL;DR: Read all notes from our recent, second Shenzhen trip—I’d recommend to start at the beginning.

Last fall, we gathered a small group for an expedition to Shenzhen, China: The Silicon Valley of hardware, where most connected products are produced. We named the trip View Source: Shenzhen (click to read all related posts to that former trip; link to the current one below). It was our way to understand better how this incredible hardware ecosystem works, and how indie IoT makers and entrepreneurs can interface with it.


One of many interviews with designers and manufacturers in Shenzhen

In April 2017 we went back to Shenzhen, with a larger delegation: Code name View Source II. There we also held the first ThingsCon Shenzhen event.


Kicking off ThingsCon Shenzhen with the ThingsCon mantra

We’ll have a “proper” write-up later. For now, I’m happy to share my quick & dirty personal travel notes over on my personal blog. Read all View Source II posts—I’d recommend to start at the beginning.

ThingsCon Salon Berlin (March 2017) is a wrap!

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Note: This is cross-posted from the ThingsCon blog.

We just held the first of our freshly started series of ThingsCon Salons Berlin.

You can find all recorded talks in the Youtube playlist ThingsCon Salon Berlin (March 2017) as well as embedded below.

Our speakers for the salon were the amazing trip of Jon Rogers (Mozilla Open IoT Studio / University of Dundee), Rachel Rayns (creative technologist, crafts expert, #vanlife aficionado), and Davide Gomba (Casa Jasmina). A big thank you for contributing to this Salon. Also a big thank you to Babitha George of the Indian design research studio Quicksand who would have been speaking had her visa not being revoked in the last second due to a hotel booking miscommunication. We missed you and hope we can invite you over soon!

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ThingsCon Amsterdam 2016 is a wrap

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ThingsCon Amsterdam 2016 aftermovie from ThingsConAMS on Vimeo.

Last week I had the chance to go to Amsterdam for the best reason: It was ThingsCon Amsterdam time. The Amsterdam event has not just grown to be the biggest local ThingsCon event—it’s now the biggest total! It’s mind blowing for me to see how much this all is taking off. And with the Amsterdam team around Monique van Dusseldorp, Iskander Smit & Marcel Schouwenaar, ThingsCon is in the best hands I could possibly imagine. I couldn’t be happier.

Monique
Fabulous Monique was the guide through the packed program

But enough of my happy rambling. What actually happened? A lot! In fact, much more than I could have possibly attended or even remembered. With 1.5 days full of talks, workshops and exhibitions there was always something going in inside funky Volkshotel.

Some highlights and shout-outs

So let’s look at some highlights and some documentary to follow up online on what went down. (The event was also live streamed and the videos will be available soon at ThingsCon.nl.)

Marcel & Iskander opened the event wearing freshly printed “Make IoT Great Again” hats—a reference of course to the fact that IoT never has been great, but still is politically charged terrain. (Personally I loved them, but I did hear quite a few “too soon” on Twitter.)

"Make the IoT Great Again"
“Make the IoT Great Again”

Talking to an audience that skewed a bit more intensely to the design crowd than other ThingsCon events (we’re in Amsterdam, after all), there were a lot of calls to action for designers throughout the event.

Ame
Ame Elliott spoke about better UX for security

For example, Ame Elliott of Simply Secure gave a fantastic talk about how to design for better security. I highly recommend all her work, but maybe the most hands-on starting point might be the Simply Secure resources on Github.

Michelle
Michelle’s talk focused on the role of openness & community for IoT

Michelle Thorne tackled the open research she’s doing with her team at Mozilla for the Open IoT Studio.

Alper
Alper explored conversational interfaces for IoT

Alper Çu?un, author of Designing Conversational Interfaces, spoke about exactly that: How to design conversational interfaces, especially in the context of IoT.

Usman
Usman took us on a roller coaster ride from bleak dystopia to a hopeful silver lining

In a gripping closing keynote, Usman Haque explored participatory infrastructure.

Along the way—and tied into the program through workshops and demos—participants could get hands-on with projects in an exhibition. They ranged from artistic explorations to commercial. Here, for example, Vai Kai‘s ready-to-ship final prototypes, which are absolutely gorgeous:

Vai Kai at ThingsCon Amsterdam
Vai Kai is ready to ship their lovely connected wooden toys

The Amsterdam team kindly invited me to do the opening keynote. I explored where we are today in the world of design and responsible IoT. Here are my slides (the video of this and the other talks should be available online soon, too):

Want to read some more?

For some more impressions, among other places I recommend this Storify from the Amsterdam team, Simon’s notes from the ThingsCon Labs session, and this very personal write-up by Max. For photos, check out this Flickr set.

Which also brings us to something we spontaneously launched while in Amsterdam: A new ThingsCon Medium channel that will serve to highlight and amplify great projects and ideas around a human-centric & responsible IoT. It’ll include some write-ups from ThingsCon events around the globe, and also contributions from guest authors and ourselves. Finally, it’ll serve as the content pool from which we’re planning to draw heavily for a publication later in the year.

Monique also infected us with a great idea: How great would it be to have a quick overview of what’s brewing in responsible IoT and empowering tech around the world? (Hint: very cool.) So we’ll try a little experiment: A monthly newsletter with curated recommendations from our extended network.

More ThingsCon in more places

It was so great to see the community gathered in Amsterdam. And that community is growing! We’re also working on making it even easier to run local events by setting up a Github repository and some other supporting structures. We came out of the event with potentially several more local ThingsCon events in new places. As of today, it looks like ThingsCon events in 2017 will be happening (among others!) in Amsterdam, Berlin, Cologne, Copenhagen, Darmstadt, London, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Milan, Shanghai, Shenzhen and, quite possibly, many other places! As always, thingscon.com/events is the place for up-to-date information.

Many things are still up in the air, but it looks like the heavyweights among these events are most likely going to be Amsterdam (Dec), Shenzhen (April), and London (June).

Mind = blown!

ThingsCon Amsterdam 2016 Keynote: A responsible IoT

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ThingsCon: Peter Bihr (The Waving Cat) from ThingsConAMS on Vimeo.

This week I’m in the Netherlands for ThingsCon Amsterdam, the largest ThingsCon event this year (and one of an ever-growing number, see the event list <3).

The local team around Monique, Marcel & Iskander kindly asked me to give the keynote. I was honored and psyched obviously – here’s my slide deck for now.

Here are my slides:

The super short executive summary: – We need to build IoT in a responsible & human-centric way, and we founded ThingsCon to promote this goal. – It’s hard to get right because HARDWARE IS HARD, NETWORKED SYSTEMS INTRODUCE DYNAMICS OF POWER & CONTROL, and WE DON’T HAVE GOOD LANGUAGE TO DISCUSS IoT. – The ThingsCon community tries to tackle this, and we think it’s both a duty and a privilege to do so. In fact, this is our chance to have a massive positive impact.

A proper write-up will (hopefully) follow later!

ThingsCon in London, Shanghai, Shenzhen & Amsterdam

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Note: cross-posting this from the ThingsCon blog

We have an exciting few weeks coming up for ThingsCon with four great events in (just about) as many weeks:

London (29 Oct): At Mozfest, as part of a whole day of Good Home activities, Peter will be hosting a session titled “ThingsCon: Responsible IoT for Consumer Rights Orgs“. We want to support consumer rights organizations in this area and are looking for allies, so we’ll be hosting a group discussion of the major pitfalls and opportunities for consumer rights groups in that area. If you’re at Mozfest, come swing by!

Shanghai (4 Nov) & Shenzhen (10 Nov): In November we’ll team up with Simone Rebaudengo for a ThingsCon Salon Shanghai. Then, moving on to Shenzhen, we’ll be co-hosting another salon with the Just Things Foundation and Mozilla Open IoT Studio. More details soon.

Amsterdam (1-2 Dec): Early December, ThingsCon Amsterdam is on once more. It’s the biggest ThingsCon event of the year, and you really don’t want to miss this one. The speaker line-up is just getting started and already is mind-blowing. Among the confirmed speakers you’ll find stars like Usman Haque (Umbrellium), Ame Elliot (Simply Secure), David Li (Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab), Justyna Zubrycka (Vai Kai), Alper Çu?un (writer), Susan Cox-Smith (Changeist), Ricardo Brito (Futurice), Michelle Thorne (Mozilla Foundation) and many more. Next to the plenary speakers program we will give a lot of attention to the in-depth sessions both on Thursday and Friday morning. Expect these around farm-hacking, the internet of bikes, the sneaking smart home, product as agents, fashion tech, design fiction, IoT design tools for ideation, smart citizen and many more. One session we’d like to highlight is a deep dive into the Shenzhen internet of things approach where David Li and ThingsCon delegation to Shenzhen share their experiences. Registration is open and we know from experience that the event will sell out, so register now: thingscon.nl/register/

See you at a ThingsCon near you!