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New ThingsCon Report: The State of Responsible IoT 2018

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State of Responsible IoT 2018 header

A quick cross-post from the ThingsCon blog about a report we’ve been working on and that we just pushed online: The State of Responsible IoT 2018

A lot has happened since we published the first ThingsCon State of Responsible IoT report in 2017: Responsibility and ethics in tech have begun to enter mainstream conversations, and these conversations are having an effect. The media, tech companies, and policy makers all are rethinking the effect of technology on society.

The lines between the Internet of Things (IoT), algorithmic decision-making, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML), and data-driven services are all ever-more blurry. We can’t discuss one without considering the others. That’s not a bad thing, it just adds complexity. The 21st century one for black and white thinking: It’s messy, complex, quickly evolving, and a time where simple answers won’t do.

It is all the more important to consider the implications, to make sure that all the new data-driven systems we’ll see deployed across our physical and digital environments work well—not just for the users but for all who are impacted.

Things have evolved and matured in big strides since our last State of Responsible IoT. This year’s report reflects that evolution, as well as the enormous breadth and depth of the debate. We couldn’t be happier with the result.

Some background as well as all the relevant links are available at thingscon.com/responsible-iot-report/ or using the short URL bit.ly/riot-report. The publication is available on Medium and as a PDF export.

This text is meant for sharing. The report is published by ThingsCon e.V. and licensed under Creative Commons (attribution/non-commercial/share-alike: CC BY-NC-SA). Images are provided by the author and used with permission. All rights lie with the individual authors. Please reference the author(s) when referencing any part of this report.

Two new reports out now! The State of Responsible IoT & View Source Shenzhen

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We’ve had the great opportunity to do a lot of research these last few months, and it’s super nice to be able to share the results: Two new reports are out this month—one in fact went live just today!

The State of Responsible IoT

The ThingsCon report The State of Responsible IoT is a collection of essays by experts from the inter-disciplinary ThingsCon community of IoT practitioners. It explores the challenges, opportunities and questions surrounding the creation of a responsible & human-centric Internet of Things (IoT).

For your convenience you can read it on Medium or download a PDF.

View Source: Shenzhen

We went to Shenzhen to explore opportunities for collaboration between European Internet of Things practitioners and the Shenzhen hardware ecosystem—and how to promote the creation of a responsible Internet of Things.

Download View Source: Shenzhen as a as a PDF (16MB) or read it on Medium.

“View Source: Shenzhen” is now out

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View Source: Shenzhen cover

Executive Summary: We went to Shenzhen to explore opportunities for collaboration between European Internet of Things practitioners and the Shenzhen hardware ecosystem—and how to promote the creation of a responsible Internet of Things. We documented our experience and insights in View Source: Shenzhen.

Download View Source: Shenzhen as a as a PDF (16MB) or…
read it on Medium.

View Source is the initiative of an alliance of organizations that promote the creation of a responsible Internet of Things:

  • The Incredible Machine is a Rotterdam-based design consultancy for products and services in a connected world.
  • The Waving Cat is a Berlin-based boutique strategy, research & foresight company around the impact and opportunities of emerging technologies.
  • ThingsCon is a global community of practitioners with the mission to foster the creation of a responsible & human-centric IoT.
  • Mozilla Foundation’s Open IoT Studio aims to embed internet stewardship in the making of meaningful, connected things.

Along for part of the ride were two other value-aligned organizations:

  • Just Things Foundation aims to increase the awareness about ethical dilemmas in the development of internet connected products and services.
  • ThingsCon Amsterdam organizes the largest ThingsCon event globally, and also organized a guided delegation of European independent IoT practitioners to Shenzhen which coincided with our second Shenzhen trip.

What unites us in our efforts is great optimism about the Internet of Things (IoT), but also a deep concern about the implications of this technology being embedded in anything ranging from our household appliances to our cities.

About this document

This document was written as part of a larger research effort that included, among other things, two trips to Shenzhen, a video documentary, and lots of workshops, meetings, and events over a period of about a year. It’s part of the documentation of these efforts. Links to the other parts are interspersed throughout this document.

This research was a collaborative effort undertaken with the Dutch design consultancy The Incredible Machine, and our delegations to China included many Dutch designers, developers, entrepreneurs and innovators: One of the over-arching goals of this collaboration was to build bridges between Shenzhen and the Netherlands specifically—and Europe more generally—in order to learn from one another and identify business opportunities and future collaborations.

Creative Industries Fund NL
We thank the Creative Industry Fund NL for their support.

*Please note: While I happen to be the one to write this text as my contribution to documenting our group’s experiences, I cannot speak for the group, and don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth. In fact, I use the “we” loosely; depending on context it refers to either one of the two delegations, our lose alliance for responsible IoT, or is a collective “we”. I hope that it’s clear in the context. Needless to say, all factual errors in this text are mine, and mine alone. If you discover any errors, please let me know.