Virt-EU's blog

There is a recent proliferation of manifestos coming from designers and developers of IoT. We wrote a paper entitled Calling for a Revolution: An Analysis of IoT Manifestos where we ask, what are these authors trying to tell us, how and why are there so many bold statements for a differently designed technological future.

"The door refused to open. It said, "Five cents, please.”
He searched his pockets. No more coins; nothing.
"I'll pay you tomorrow," he told the door. Again, it remained locked tight.
"What I pay you," he informed it, "is in the nature of a gratuity; I don't have to pay you."
"I think otherwise," the door said. "Look in the purchase contract you signed when you bought this conapt.”

Thursday November 2nd 2017 VIRT-EU hosted a Dowse workshop run by Jaromil and Federico Bonelli from at the IT University of Copenhagen.

Drones are increasingly present in our skies, and although it is not yet common to connect them to the Internet of Things (IoT), visions of connected drones are already part of many plans for near-future cities. For example, consider the speculative visions of a “Drone Aviary” produced by design consultancy Superflux.

Does our life really improve with algorithmic decision-making? Big Data-based models often reflect our very own biases of society. Further, in some cases it can be hard to look into the “black boxes”. Who can be held accountable when something goes wrong – the human or the machine? What ethical challenges are we facing and how can we protect our data?

Virt-EU researchers continue to identify how values and ethics in technology design impact other central issues in social science. For example, in a talk at the Association of Internet Researchers (AOIR) conference, LSE’s Alison Powell linked design with communication power and its impact on the theme of “Networked Publics”.

This is the first in a series of posts addressing ethics in IoT, through a range of domain based case studies. It is based on preliminary research conducted by the VIRT-EU project (Values and Ethics in Innovation for Responsible Technology in Europe (ICT-732027) team from the IT University of Copenhagen - Rachel Douglas-Jones, Ester Fritsch and Irina Shklovski and was developed in collaboration with Thor Hauberg who works in Intelligence as a Principal Expert of IoT.

The 29th of June the 13th IDP conference hosted a Virt-EU panel entitled: Privacy, ethical and social impact assessment of risks in data processing.
Barcelona represented the first venue where Virt-EU researchers exhibited some preliminary research outputs.
The outputs are based on fieldwork studies and legal understanding of both expected and unexpected impact of the next year new General Data Protection Regulation entry into force.

A core aspect of VIRT-EU is the application of a simultaneous qualitative-quantitative methodological triangulation, that is, a methodology where fieldwork at IoT-related events is complemented by an analysis of online data generated about those events, and vice-versa. Relevant actors such as IoT companies and developers are identified during fieldwork, and used as seeds to map the online discussion about IoT. The quantitative study of the automatically collected online information is then expected to identify new central actors to be targeted by the qualitative analysis.