Posts in ThingsCon Log
ThingsCon Log: Dancing drones, drug drones, deadly drones

Hi there! How are you today? 🌈

EVENT UPDATES

Last minute shout-out to ThingsCon Salon Antwerp that will take place TOMORROW (8 May). The theme: Ideation for IoT. The stellar speaker line-up includes Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, Anthony Liekens, Albrecht Kurze, Dries de Roeck and Harm van Beek—and I'm super happy to be MC'ing the evening.

Also this month we'll have ThingsCon Salon Eindhoven (17 May) is under the theme Make your home work for you and has a workshop, as well as talks by Tijmen Schep & VanBerlo & a soon-to-be-announced third speaker, pitches, and more.

Also, the videos from ThingsCon Salon Cologne (6 April) are up.

TRUSTMARK UPDATES

A quick note that we've started posting regular updates on our trustmark project for IoT right here on our blog in the /trustmark/ category.

There you'll find general updates, project progress, ways to get involved, and media appearances like our op-eds in Offscreen Magazine (print only) and Netzpiloten or a mention in Wall Street Journal (alas, paywalled).

We're also posting these updates over on the ThingsCon channel on Medium.


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Are you on Slack? Drop us a line with your email address and we'll be happy to see you in the ThingsCon backchannel on Slack (info@thingscon.com). And as always, for any news follow us on Twitter.


READ, WATCH, LISTEN

Stacey Higginbotham is rethinking the smart home in 2018: "I feel like we’ve hit a wall. (...) I am officially changing my tune. For most people, the DIY smart home is not going to be something they easily and enthusiastically adopt, like, say, smartphones. (...) And I’m not going to call it a smart home, because basically what these vendors are going to offer is the convenient home. (...) We’re going to have to continue waiting for a home that truly reacts in an intuitive way to our needs and expectations."

Drones, drones, drones: Dancing drones. Drug drones. Deadly drones.

The Radical Frontier Of Inclusive Design. Great to see VR used for inclusive design for once.

SHOUT OUT

The #iotmark initiative by Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino and Usman Haque is going to have the next physical meetup in London soon (13 June). Sign up on Eventbrite.

Have a fantastic week!

On behalf of the whole ThingsCon team,

Your scribe Peter

PS. Think a friend or colleague would enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to pass it on! 🙏

Image: Reuters/CCTV

ThingsCon Log: OMGDPR / Join the Team / IoT Security

Greetings, friends!

Last week, we got the core teams of ThingsCon HQ and ThingsCon Amsterdam (or should we say ThingsCon BeNeLux?) on a call to see what everybody had been up to and what everyone was planning for 2018. Between Monique, Iskander, Marcel, Max, Simon, Dries (welcome on board!) and myself, we realized there was so much going on that we definitively will need to have these coordination and update calls more often.

To throw out just a few of the things that are happening/are about to happen/might happen, in no particular order:

  • A big ThingsCon conference in the Netherlands (quite possibly in Rotterdam, we recommend you sign up to their newsletter, too!);
  • 4-5 ThingsCon Salons in the Netherlands including Eindhoven, Rotterdam, Berchem, and Amsterdam...;
  • Salons in Cologne and Berlin, Dublin and (hopefully/maybe) Los Angeles, Shenzhen, and other places;
  • A prototype event with more industry involvement;
  • We're in the process of participating in several EU funding bids;
  • The idea of a trustmark for IoT is about to get very real;
  • There might be another trip to Shenzhen;
  • And we've just started outlining a curriculum for designing responsible tech.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. To that we say: 🙌🙌🙌

The breadth and depth of these activities is also why we're actively looking for one or two people from the community to get more actively involved. It could be temporary (a year or two), or long-term. The fine print is this: We can't pay anyone (we're not paid, either), but it's a fantastic group to work with, and everyone gets a lot out of it. There's more than enough to do, from coordinating roles to administrational stuff, social media, editorial, research-y things; this core community is what you make it. If you feel like this might be your thing, drop us a line (info@thingscon.com) and say hi and we can see if it's a good mutual fit?

A Responsible Tech Curriculum

In conversations we're often asked if there's a recommended curriculum or reading list of the most important things to consider/teach/know around responsible or ethical tech, especially for IoT. We didn't have something to point people to, so we figured: Let's try to figure it out together!

So we've just started an outline of a Responsible Tech Curriculum (working title) on Github. Feel free to pitch in!

ThingsCon Salon Cologne

Save the date: Simon Höher & Max Krüger just set the date for the next ThingsCon Salon Cologne for 6 April 2018. The theme is "Cities, People, Data". As a speaker, we've confirmed Aline Shakti Franze, who has an background in philosophy and applied ethics and is specialized in philosophy of technology. During her time at Utrecht Dataschool she developing DEDA, the Data Ethics Decision Aid. We'll announce a second speaker soon. Sign up here.

We're also planning a ThingsCon Salon in Berlin for early April (details TBD).


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Are you on Slack? Drop us a line with your email address and we'll be happy to see you in the ThingsCon backchannel on Slack (info@thingscon.com). And as always, for any news follow us on Twitter.


Read/watch/listen

Let's talk about machine learning at the edge. In her newsletter, Stacey Higginbotham discusses AI at the edge (which is industry speak for on the device as opposed to in the cloud), where AI is currently predominantly happening. For example, Amazon & Google have traditionally been very cloud-focused: That's to be expected in internet companies. (It's even reflected in the thinking of Google's smart city unit, Sidewalk Labs, which designs cities to be built "from the internet up".) But there are strong arguments to be made to put AI closer to the edge: AI at the edge could have "tremendous impact on privacy and the speed of improvement in connected devices. If a machine can learn without sending data to the cloud, then that data could stay resident on the device itself, under user control." Because what doesn't have to go to the cloud doesn't have to be under anyone else's control. And for many contexts that's a very good thing indeed. (I know some smart people at Google and presumably the other big tech companies are working on that, too; different schools of thought exist within each of these organizations.) I, for one, look forward to seeing more happen at the edge.

Security Checklist for the Internet of Things (PDF). Particle published a whitepaper on best practices in designing secure IoT devices.

OMGDPR, a GPDR-themed event in Berlin. The brilliant and kind Mr Chris Adams might host a community-run, open space event, in Berlin in late March/early April for practitioners who build digital products or services, to learn from each other about GDPR will affect their organisation, and by extension, how they work. If it happens, we will be there for sure!

Have a fantastic week!

On behalf of the whole ThingsCon team,

Your scribe Peter

PS. Think a friend or colleague would enjoy this as a newsletter? Feel free to pass it on! 🙏

ThingsCon Log: ThingsCon & Brazil's National IoT Plan

Hi ThingsCon Family, we have plenty of things to share this week, from Brazil's national IoT policy (and how we have impacted it) to more structured participation pathways. Let's jump right in, shall we?

ThingsCon & Brazil's National IoT Plan

Brazil published their National IoT Plan—and it quite heavily references our ThingsCon report (in collaboration with Mozilla) "A Trustmark for IoT"!

This is the large-scale impact we always work towards. Here's our small write-up with all the links.

New ThingsCon.Com

Last week we had just flipped the switch on the new thingscon.com. Thanks to pointers from many of you, we've fixed a lot of small issues and believe the site is now more or less ready for prime time: Links appear to work, SSL is up, newsletter and Slack signup have both been streamlined with much friendlier forms. And the site now lives on a much stronger server over on Squarespace.

(Still, if you see anything that looks like it's wrong, please do let us know.)

As part of the overhaul, we've cleaned up /get-involved/ to include much more simplified so-called participation pathways to answer the simple question: I'd like to be involved but I don't know how to go about it? The three steps we propose (in ascending order of involvement):

  1. Join our Slack and newsletter to get an overview of what's going on.
  2. Join an event to meet likeminded folks from the community.
  3. Host an event to bring ThingsCon to your town.

ThingsCon Salon Cologne

Save the date: Simon Höher & Max Krüger just set the date for the next ThingsCon Salon Cologne for 6 April 2018. The theme is "Cities, People, Data", and we have two top-notch speakers lined up:

  • Mara Balestrini is a Human Computer Interaction (HCI) researcher and a technology strategist, and CEO of Ideas for Change.
  • Aline Shakti Franze has an background in philosophy and applied ethics and is specialized in philosophy of technology. During her time at Utrecht Dataschool she developing DEDA, the Data Ethics Decision Aid.

Sign up here.

Read/watch/listen

Mozilla announces an open gateway for the internet of things. Apple, Google, Amazon and Samsung have all been working hard to create their own standard to control all the connected devices around your home. Mozilla just announced that anybody can now create an open gateway to control the internet of things.

No one’s coming. It’s up to us. Dan Hon on the role & responsibility of humanist technologists (that's us!).

There Is No Such Thing as a Smart City. On The Atlantic, sci-fi author (and ThingsCon alumnus) Bruce Sterling writes about so-called "smart cities": "If you look at where the money goes (always a good idea), it’s not clear that the “smart city” is really about digitizing cities. Smart cities are a generational civil war within an urban world that’s already digitized. It’s the process of the new big-money, post-internet crowd, Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft et al., disrupting your uncle’s industrial computer companies, the old-school machinery guys who ran the city infrastructures, Honeywell, IBM, General Electric. It’s a land grab for the command and control systems that were mostly already there." There's a lot in this piece—highly recommended.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Are you on Slack? Drop us a line with your email address and we'll be happy to see you in the ThingsCon backchannel on Slack (info@thingscon.com). And as always, for any news follow us on Twitter.

Have a fantastic week!

On behalf of the whole ThingsCon team,

Your scribe Peter

PS. Think a friend or colleague would enjoy this as a newsletter? Feel free to pass it on! 🙏

ThingsCon Log (02 Jan 2018): A Happy New IoT Year!

Welcome back & a happy new year to you! May 2018 be a better year, globally speaking, than the last. Also, may we be spared any large scale attacks that leverage connected consumer products, and big data breaches. But who are we kidding, it won't happen by itself—so let's get back to work!

Also, we're curious to hear about your IoT-related predictions for 2018—please feel free to send them our way (just reply to this email or ping us on Twitter).

PLANS FOR 2018

In the last team call of 2017, we briefly discussed some of the core themes and activities we'll be working towards this year. Among others, these include:

  • A second part of the ThingsCon Nairobi event that happens in Germany to strengthen that bridge (this has always been planned as a two-part event).
  • Double down on our collection and creation of useful resources for practitioners. We've had a /resources/ section for a long time, and we'd like to build on that. Especially creating case studies of how good ethics & responsible practices can foster good business seem useful.
  • We'd also like to explore how to get our message out to those working inside larger companies in a more structured way. This is where we see huge leverage, and we're convinced we can do a better job with this outreach. Maybe with a track at our ongoing events, or a dedicated in-house event series? Formats pending!
  • Host another retreat for the core community of local organizers (aka ThingsCamp 2).
  • Further develop the ThingsCon Fellowship program together with the current fellows.
  • We'd also like to do some more research on some of our core topics (responsible IoT, trustmarks, etc.) and publish more. Among other things, we're considering a second edition of the State of Responsible IoT essay collection.

EVENT UPDATES

ThingsCon Amsterdam videos are up! There were all kinds of amazing presentations at ThingsCon Amsterdam. The good news is you can catch up on them at your own speed, from the comfort of your home/office. Everything's available right here.

The Amsterdam team around Iskander, Monique and Marcel truly outdid themselves this time. A big, big thank you!

ThingsCon Amsterdam 2017 after movie from ThingsConAMS on Vimeo.

We also hope to get the videos from ThingsCon Nairobi online very soon, and to host a wave of upcoming ThingsCon Salons. Still to be confirmed, but within the first quarter we're confident to see salons in Amsterdam, Berlin, Cologne, Dublin; and maybe in several other cities including in the US and China. Keep an eye on thingscon.com/events for new event updates.

READ/WATCH/LISTEN

Dept of Data Protection

GDPR: Just a few months till Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect, and everybody's trying to figure out what it means for their businesses and products:

Dept of Ethical Tech

This collaborative Tech Ethics Curriculum looks promising, it's a great list of resources around ethics and technology. Instigated here.

Dept of Fails

The Mirai Botnet Was Part of a College Student Minecraft Scheme. WIRED offers an interesting plot twist at the end of the Mirai saga: Turns out the global IoT-enabled botnet that crashed lots of popular websites in late 2016 wasn't malicious organized crime hackers (per se) but a bunch of kids with a criminal bend and let's say extremely questionable grasp of unintended consequences. Still DDoS for hire, but for winning in online games. WIRED has the full story: "As the 2016 US presidential election drew near, fears began to mount that the so-called Mirai botnet might be the work of a nation-state practicing for an attack that would cripple the country as voters went to the polls. The truth, as made clear in that Alaskan courtroom Friday—and unsealed by the Justice Department on Wednesday—was even stranger: The brains behind Mirai were a 21-year-old Rutgers college student from suburban New Jersey and his two college-age friends from outside Pittsburgh and New Orleans. All three—Paras Jha, Josiah White, and Dalton Norman, respectively—admitted their role in creating and launching Mirai into the world. Originally, prosecutors say, the defendants hadn’t intended to bring down the internet—they had been trying to gain an advantage in the computer game Minecraft."

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Are you on Slack? Drop us a line with your email address and we'll be happy to see you in the ThingsCon backchannel on Slack (info@thingscon.com). And as always, for any news follow us on Twitter.

Have a fantastic week!

On behalf of the whole ThingsCon team,

Your scribe Peter

PS. Think a friend or colleague would enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to pass it on!

ThingsCon Log (20 Nov 2017): One week to ThingsCon Amsterdam

It's just over a week to ThingsCon Amsterdam!

OUR GLOBAL GATHERING: THINGSCON AMSTERDAM

ThingsCon Amsterdam is coming up. The global gathering of our growing community take place on Nov 30/Dec 1 and what a program the team put together. There's too much to list here, but let us name just a few of the highlights:

  • Keynotes & talks by Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino (Designswarm, iotmark), Bas van Abel (Fairphone), Scott Jenson (Google), Tobias Revell (Strange Telemetry, Haunted Machines), Rob van Kranenburg (Council), Ugo Vallauri (The Restart Project), Jasmina Tesanovic (Casa Jasmina), Iohanna Nicenboim (TU Delft), Nazli Cila (Amsterdam University), Marcel Schouwenaar (The Incredible Machine) and many more (50+ speakers!)
  • Talks & workshops covering a wide range of super relevant and timely topics including smart city design and responsibe urban spaces, ethics for designers, manufacturing for IoT, rapid prototyping, GDPR for things, open source innovation, iotmark/certification for IoT, China, edge computing, and of course the lovely connectiklaas workshop for building a connected Sinterklaas gift for your loved ones.
  • ThingsCon Talents, a new program item to highlight the most interesting works by students in the IoT space, including a contest judged by ThingsCon Fellows and a talent night.

If you're interested at all in IoT and taking the contribution of our community to the next level to make a large scale positive impact, you really don't want to miss this event. Register here today!

Also coming up: THINGSCON NAIROBI

The first ThingsCon event in Nairobi will take place on December 8th in collaboration with GIZ. Things are developing quickly. Learn more and register here.

Keep an eye on thingscon.com/events for details.

READ/WATCH/LISTEN

Department of deep thinking

Decision Making Under Stress. Studying the factors that affect the decision making capability of groups in extreme or remote environments, researchers found that "under acute (short-lived, high intensity) stress we focus on short-term rapid responses at the expense of complex thinking." Now while that's hardly a surprise, it's a good reminder. I'd argue this applies not just to individuals or groups in extreme physical environments but also those in extreme mental/business environments: Think founders under extreme financial pressure to deliver. It's good to keep a calm head as extreme pressure leads to sub-optimal decisions.

Department of artificial thinking

Not one but two promising AI research institutes have recently opened up (via Sentiers):

Given that the lines between IoT, AI and robotics are increasingly blurred, it's good to see more research popping up in that space. And led by such ace founders too!

Department of fishy things

  • A robotic spy among the fish. Fascinating research into how fish communicate and coordinate, conducted via robotic fish that sneak into shoals of fish and participate.
  • Who's in charge of securing the internet of things? Stacey Higginbotham offers a somber, and absolutely worth reading, account of the state of security in IoT: "Amidst some of the terrifying data points and an amusing chart that claims that business leaders aren't worried enough about IoT security, there was one worthwhile point. In many cases enterprise respondents said there is real confusion about who is responsible for securing the internet of things. That may be because IoT is just a fancy way of describing devices connected to your network, and traditionally some of those devices were not part of IT's domain, but it's also a organizational question we should be talking about."
  • The tech industry needs a moral compass. Rachel Coldicutt of the UK's Doteveryone makes the case for an "ethical pivot":

    Making it undesirable to profit from inhumane technology, and making it somehow “cool” to reference your moral compass, is not as flippant as it sounds. Personal and social awareness of the impact of your work can and should become a new building block for personal credibility. The “ethical pivot” could be respected by shareholders, and CEOs could say, “We were wrong. We didn’t need to verify that account/monetise that content/harass those employees, so we’ll stop now and make some reparation.” Risk registers and success metrics could prioritise human and social effects alongside economic gain.

Department of future things

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Are you on Slack? Drop us a line with your email address and we'll be happy to see you in the ThingsCon backchannel on Slack (info@thingscon.com). And as always, for any news follow us on Twitter.

Have a fantastic week!

On behalf of the whole ThingsCon team,

Your scribe Peter

PS. Think a friend or colleague would enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to pass it on! 🙏

ThingsCon Log for 6 Nov 2017

Featuring events in Shanghai, Amsterdam, Nairobi. The ThingsCon Fellowship. Human-intelligent smart homes. European ePrivacy. And more. EVENT UPDATES

This just happened 👇

In Shanghai, Charlie 胡烨川 just hosted the second ThingsCon Salon Shanghai, in collaboration with Design Sprint China.

Coming up 👇

  • ThingsCon Amsterdam: The annual global gathering. Don't miss ThingsCon Amsterdam (30 Nov - 1 Dec), the annual global gathering of the ThingsCon community. Two full days of workshops, presentations and plenty of opportunity to meet all the best people. Already confirmed speakers include a star line-up including Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, Martijn de Waal, Nazli Cila, Dries De Roeck, Jet Gispen, Kars Alfrink, Peter Kún, Ugo Vallauri and Iohanna Nicenboim, and many many more. Sign up today!)
  • The first ThingsCon event in Nairobi will take place on December 8th in collaboration with GIZ. Register here.

Keep an eye on thingscon.com/events for details.

We're on a mission to increase the footprint of the ThingsCon community, including in the global South. Learn more about how it works and get in touch to discuss starting a local chapter in your city.

THINGSCON FELLOWSHIP

If you missed it last time, we just announced a new ThingsCon initiative, and we're in the process of getting things up and running. Learn more about the ThingsCon Fellowship program.)

READ/WATCH/LISTEN

Department of Data Delights

  • LAUREN, the human intelligent smart home. Great art project by Lauren McCarthy. Found via Bruce Sterling.
  • Europe’s new privacy law is moving forward and lobbyists aren’t happy, reports David Meyer on Connected Rights: " WELCOME to Connected Rights, your foot in the door of digital rights news and analysis: THE EU’s ePRIVACY REGULATION HAS CLEARED A MAJOR HURDLE after the European Parliament green-lit the start of negotiations with the EU member states over its terms. In other words, the parliament is OK with the amendments that its civil liberties committee made to the European Commission’s initial proposal, and the regulation can continue down the legislative path." Don't miss reading the whole thing as the behind-the-scenes he lays out unfolds like an exciting real life TV drama. Also, good to see the EU's ePrivacy regulation move forward, slowly but surely.

Department of Data Dangers

Department of Hardware is Hard

Department of ThingsCon Fellows

  • Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino and Dries de Roeck bring The Good Home to Aalst, Belgium, to explore the role of technology, art and design in elder care. From the project website:
    "Caring for older family members is a current political conundrum. How you finance it, the conditions of care, the cost of ‘social care’, the support for family carers, and the working conditions for those carers. There is here an opportunity to look at the home space as a host for these tensions. On November 9th, we will be showcasing the best of past, present and future spaces, products and services which shed new light in this dark space, the one that comes before a loved one’s death or chronic illness no matter what their age. We have focused on a multi-disciplinary and blended approach of design, user-centered practices, art and technology." The exhibition features projects from Doteveryone, Good Night Lamp, Kemuri, Participle, Sidekick Studios, Superflux, The Design Council (all UK), No Isolation, Tinybots (both Netherlands), Kuri (USA) and Telefonica (Spain).

Department of Plucky Plugs

SHOUT-OUTS

  • Mozilla Festival (London, 27-29 Oct). Our good friends & collaborators at Mozilla are hosting their annual global festival for the open internet. It's always fantastic.
  • Underexposed (Berlin, 8-9 Nov). Our friends at SimplySecure bring their conference Underexposed to Berlin this fall. The theme this year: Deep Forgetting: Designing for Privacy in a World of Machine Learning. The preliminary program looks ace, hosted by ThingsCon Fellow Ame Elliott, and featuring lots of friendly faces, allies and collaborators like Marcel Schouwenaar of The Incredible Machine and ThingsCon Amsterdam.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Are you on Slack? Drop us a line with your email address and we'll be happy to see you in the ThingsCon backchannel on Slack (info@thingscon.com). And as always, for any news follow us on Twitter.

Have a fantastic week!

On behalf of the whole ThingsCon team,

Your scribe Peter

PS. Think a friend or colleague would enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to pass it on! 🙏

ThingsCon Log for 23 Oct 2017

Announcing the ThingsCon Fellowship. ThingsCon on CNN. And updates from Amsterdam, Antwerp, Nairobi & Shanghai. ANNOUNCING THE THINGSCON FELLOWSHIP

We are excited to announce the ThingsCon Fellowship program. We have been dreaming about this for a long time and couldn't be happier to see this coming together at long last.

What is the ThingsCon Fellowship? The ThingsCon Fellowship recognizes achievements and commitment that advance the ThingsCon mission of fostering the creation of a responsible and human-centric IoT generally, and support for the ThingsCon community specifically. The fellowship aims to amplify the fellows' work in this area and to promote knowledge transfer and networking between fellows and the larger ThingsCon network.

How does it work? The first round of fellows for 2017/2018 consists of a small cohort of ThingsCon allies. These individuals have over the past years put tremendous effort into advancing and promoting the ThingsCon mission. Together with them we will develop and evolve the ThingsCon Fellowship program through a collaborative process of mutual exchange and shared learning. The fellowship is deliberately lightweight. It starts with regular group calls for coordination, and extensive documentation of our learnings. We hope to provide a foundation for new projects to emerge and existing projects to gain more traction.

We're humbled, proud, and excited to call these smart, committed and kind people our fellows:


Meet the inaugural cohort of ThingsCon Fellows

Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino
Ame Elliott
Dries de Roeck
Iohanna Nicenboim
Michelle Thorne
Ricardo Brito

Learn more about the fellows here.

THINGSCON ON CNN

In their excellent op-ed on CNN.com on the future of IoT, Mozilla CEO Mark Surman and Michelle Thorne kindly gave not one but two shout-outs to ThingsCon. Thank you!

EVENT UPDATES

ThingsCon Amsterdam: The annual global gathering

Don't miss ThingsCon Amsterdam (30 Nov - 1 Dec), the annual global gathering of the ThingsCon community. Two full days of workshops, presentations and plenty of opportunity to meet all the best people. Already confirmed speakers include a star line-up including Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, Martijn de Waal, Nazli Cila, Dries De Roeck, Jet Gispen, Kars Alfrink, Peter Kún, Ugo Vallauri and Iohanna Nicenboim, and many many more. Sign up today!)

On Oct 24th, Team Antwerp host the pioneering ThingsCon Saloon Antwerp: Comedy Special. Held at Antwerp's venerable Lebowski's Comedy Club, this world-premier ThingsCon comedy special is subtitled "Poking fun at design practice anno 2017. Because laughing at yourself opens up a whole new world of ideas." Secure your ticket here.

In Shanghai, Charlie 胡烨川 will be hosting ThingsCon Salon Shanghai #2 on 29 Oct, i.e. this Sunday. Sign up here.

And finally, we are excited to confirm the first ThingsCon event in Nairobi (8 Dec). We're super excited this is happening. Register here.

Keep an eye on thingscon.com/events for details.

We're on a mission to increase the footprint of the ThingsCon community, including 5 in the global South. Learn more about how it works (it's easy!) and get in touch to discuss starting a local chapter in your city.

SHOUT-OUTS

  • Mozilla Festival (London, 27-29 Oct). Our good friends & collaborators at Mozilla are hosting their annual global festival for the open internet. It's always fantastic.
  • Underexposed (Berlin, 8-9 Nov). Our friends at SimplySecure bring their conference Underexposed to Berlin this fall. The theme this year: Deep Forgetting: Designing for Privacy in a World of Machine Learning. The preliminary program looks ace, with lots of friendly faces, allies and collaborators (including our very own Peter Bihr).

READ/WATCH/LISTEN

Department of ThingsCon Fellows

Iohanna Nicenboim just published Affective Things, entanglements of a connected home: "With Affective Things, we want to explore more complex interrelationships between Things. We investigate how objects affect others in their temporal and spatial proximity, and how interactions could be carried and moved through the house by Things. On the other hand, we want to explore to which extent will Things be able to understand our behaviour from their limited perspective. With a series of everyday objects that collaboratively try to understand what is going on around them, we show some fictions and frictions of Things to Things. The project is done together with Elisa Giaccardi and in collaboration with The Incredible Machine thanks to the Design United demonstrator grant." Here's the video to go with it.

Affective Things, entanglements of a connected home from The Incredible Machine on Vimeo.

Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino: IoTMark: The 30 principles. Our good friends and collaborators over at the London #iotmark initiative published the principles guiding their certification for the Internet of Things. They span the whole range from security to data governance to interoperability and more. Must read!

Michelle Thorne: In her role as lead of Mozilla's Open IoT Studio, Michelle worked with Superflux on Our Friends Electric: "What is the future of virtual assistants and artificial intelligence? Meet virtual assistants that grow with you, AI that speaks on your behalf, and a philosophically-minded companion that accidentally orders 2,000 pounds of organic horse manure. A film by Superflux and Mozilla. Officially premiered at the London Digital Design Weekend at the V&A museum on Saturday, September 23, 2017." Here's the video.

Department of Data Dangers

Department of Data Delights

Department of Plucky Plugs

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Are you on Slack? Drop us a line with your email address and we'll be happy to see you in the ThingsCon backchannel on Slack (info@thingscon.com). And if you have community news (events, projects you're working on, resources you'd like to share, etc.) send them our way. And as always, for any news follow us on Twitter!

Have a fantastic week!

On behalf of the whole ThingsCon team,

Your scribe Peter

PS. Think a friend or colleague would enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to pass it on! 🙏

ThingsCon Log for 9 Oct 2017

Lots of event updates from Amsterdam, Antwerp, Berlin, Nairobi & Shanghai. Let's dive right in! ThingsCon Amsterdam: The annual conference

Don't miss ThingsCon Amsterdam (30 Nov - 1 Dec): The biggest & best ThingsCon event world-wide with two full days of workshops and presentations. Already confirmed speakers include a star line-up including Alexandra Deschamp-Sonsino, Martijn de Waal, Nazli Cila, Dries De Roeck, Jet Gispen, Kars Alfrink, Peter Kún, Ugo Vallauri and Iohanna Nicenboim, and many more. Sign up today!)

We just saw excellent ThingsCon Salons in Berlin and Amsterdam.

Team Antwerp is getting ready for ThingsCon Saloon Antwerp: Comedy Special (24 Oct). Held at Antwerp's venerable Lebowski's Comedy Club, this world-premier ThingsCon comedy special is subtitled "Poking fun at design practice anno 2017. Because laughing at yourself opens up a whole new world of ideas." What's not to love? Secure your ticket here.

In Shanghai, Charlie 胡烨川 will be hosting ThingsCon Salon Shanghai #2 on 29 Oct. More details soon.

And finally, we can confirm that before the end of the year we'll have a ThingsCon event in Nairobi. We're super excited this is happening. Details soon!

Keep an eye on thingscon.com/events for details.

We're on a mission to increase the footprint of the ThingsCon community, including 5 in the global South. Learn more about how it works and get in touch to discuss starting a local chapter in your city.

SHOUT-OUTS

  • FixFext 2017 (London, 6-8 Oct).: Our friends at The Restart Project are organizing FIXFEST, a global gathering for community repair. It should be absolutely lovely.
  • Mozilla Festival (London, 27-29 Oct). Our good friends & collaborators at Mozilla are hosting their annual global festival for the open internet. It's always fantastic.
  • Underexposed (Berlin, 8-9 Nov). Our friends at SimplySecure bring their conference Underexposed to Berlin this fall. The theme this year: Deep Forgetting: Designing for Privacy in a World of Machine Learning. The preliminary program looks ace, with lots of friendly faces, allies and collaborators (including our very own Peter Bihr).

READ/WATCH/LISTEN

Department of Dystopian Data futures:

  • Your Data is Being Manipulated. Over at Data & Society, an xcellent read by danah boyd on data, data manipulation, and the new role of a tech scene that has truly grown up and needs to take full responsibility for its actions. (That's all of us!) For me, this just about sums it up perfectly: "The tech industry is no longer the passion play of a bunch of geeks trying to do cool shit in the world. It’s now the foundation of our democracy, economy, and information landscape."
  • Why The Public’s Love Affair With Silicon Valley Might Be Over. The Public updated their relationship status: "It's complicated."
  • Unethical design by negligence. Emma Lilliestam outlines the prerequisites for an Ethical End User License Agreemenet (EULA) under the principle of Informed Consent, and relate it to the upcoming European privacy legislation GDPR.

Department of Better Data Futures:

Department of AI Futures:

  • Estonia considers a 'kratt law' to legalise Artifical Intelligence (AI). Estonia is known for its 'firsts'. This article explains Estonia's push for a multi-stakeholder process to establish the groundwork for AI regulation. It's worth reading not just to see how Estonia keeps pushing the boundaries, but also regarding the use of cultural artefacts and metaphors in exploring new technologies.

Department of shameless plugs:

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Are you on Slack? Drop us a line with your email address and we'll be happy to see you in the ThingsCon backchannel on Slack (info@thingscon.com). And if you have community news (events, projects you're working on, resources you'd like to share, etc.) send them our way. And as always, for any news follow us on Twitter!

Have a fantastic week!

This fortnightly update is available as a newsletter. Sign up here.

ThingsCon Log (25 Sep 2017)

New report: A Trustmark for IoT // Events in Berlin, Amsterdam, Antwerp A TRUSTMARK FOR THE INTERNET OF THINGS

For Mozilla, we explored the potentials and challenges of a trustmark for the Internet of Things (IoT). That research is now publicly available. We are convinced a trustmark is an important step for our future living with connected products.

Learn more on our website or download the full report (PDF).

We're excited to see this report finding its way through many organizations and into all the right conversations. 🙏

EVENT UPDATES

We have a bunch of ThingsCon events coming up!

In chronological order:

  • ThingsCon Salon Berlin (28 Sept) with Lisa Gutermuth of Ranking Digital Rights and Ame Elliott of SimplySecure. And also with a brand new, super nice location at the new Mozilla Berlin HQ. We'll also have a stack of fresh-from-the-printer copies of the beautiful and excellent DING magazine for you, for free! DING is Mozilla Open IoT Studio's new print magazine about the Internet of Things, and it features some small ThingsCon contributions as well. Get your free ticket here.
  • ThingsCon Salon Amsterdam (4 Oct) explores the theme "Intimate Technology". Curated by Iskander Smit and Frank Kresin, speakers include Viola van Alphen (Stichting Art & Technology, Manifestations), Jan van Erp, Angelika Mader and Jamy Li (Human-Media Interaction group, University of Twente), Nicolai Liberati (postdoc researcher), Lancel/Maat (Artist duo), researchers Karen Lancel and Hermen Maat, Edwin Dertien (Assistant Professor and creative roboticist) and Peter-Paul Verbeek (Department of Philosophy and DesignLab, University of Twente). In other words, a full house! Sign up here.
  • ThingsCon Saloon Antwerp: Comedy Special (24 Oct). Held at Antwerp's venerable Lebowski's Comedy Club, this world-premier ThingsCon comedy special is subtitled "Poking fun at design practice anno 2017. Because laughing at yourself opens up a whole new world of ideas." What's not to love? Secure your ticket here.

ThingsCon Amsterdam: The annual conference

Save the date: The annual ThingsCon Amsterdam conference will happen 30 November and 1 December. With two full days of workshops and presentations, this will be our biggest event to date. Already confirmed speakers include a star line-up including Alexandra Deschamp-Sonsino, Martijn de Waal, Nazli Cila, Dries De Roeck, Jet Gispen, Kars Alfrink, Peter Kún, Ugo Vallauri and Iohanna Nicenboim, with many more to come.

Please note that there is a special ThingsCon Fan Ticket which comes with a limited edition t-shirt just for this event, and hence bragging rights! (It even happens to be extra discounted, so what are you waiting for?) Sign up today!)

Keep an eye on thingscon.com/events for details.

We're on a mission to increase the footprint of the ThingsCon community, including 5 in the global South. Learn more about how it works and get in touch to start your local chapter, right now!

SHOUT-OUTS

FixFext 2017: Our friends at The Restart Project are organizing FIXFEST, a global gathering for community repair. It should be absolutely lovely. Learn more.

Underexposed: Our friends at SimplySecure bring their conference Underexposed to Berlin this fall. The theme this year: Deep Forgetting: Designing for Privacy in a World of Machine Learning. The preliminary program looks ace, with lots of friendly faces, allies and collaborators (including our very own Peter Bihr).

ThingClash: Our good friends and long-time collaborators at Changeist are winding down their ThingClash project. A huge thank you for ThingClash! Their work was priceless and incredibly inspirational. We can't wait to see what comes next! Learn more here.

READ/WATCH/LISTEN

What Comes After User-Friendly Design? It's time to move from "user-friendly" to trustworthy. Ame Elliott of SimplySecure is heavily quoted here. You should also come see her at this week's ThingsCon Salon Berlin!

IoT Botnet Retooled to Send Email Spam. It won't be the last one.

The ‘internet of things’ is sending us back to the Middle Ages. We like ourselves a good provocative rant, and this one by Joshua A.T. Fairfield, Professor of Law, Washington and Lee University, does not disappoint.

AI Research is in Desperate Need of An Ethical Watchdog. The lines between IoT and #AI are getting more and more blurry as algorithmic decision-making takes a more and more central role in IoT.

Acceleration, redefined: Introducing the R/GA Venture Studio. What ThingsCon alumn of the first hour, Matt Webb, has been up to.

Stadtwerke tauschen alle Stromzähler in der Stadt aus | Nachrichten aus Velbert, der Schloss-Stadt im Bergischen Land. Remember the name "EDL21". They might come up a lot in the future as examples of awkward smart home additions. Turns out that these new smart meters in Germany only output information about a users electricity consumption to their users on a built-in display, which is locked with a PIN number. To unlock the display, the user needs to "morse" the PIN with a flashlight. That's right: With a flashlight. There's no app, no API—no nothing!—for tech savvy users to make their data work for themselves. It's just a box in a dank basement and a flashlight.

The Human Tech Report

We also have our own (second) newsletter: Our global community of experts keeps an eye out for responsible tech so you can have a quick-to-scan overview of what's noteworthy, smoothly delivered to your inbox once a month. To follow along, sign up now, and if you know of initiatives that should be included, please reach out to Max!

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Are you on Slack? Drop us a line with your email address and we'll be happy to see you in the ThingsCon backchannel on Slack (info@thingscon.com). And if you have community news (events, projects you're working on, resources you'd like to share, etc.) send them our way. And as always, for any news follow us on Twitter!

Have a fantastic week!

On behalf of the whole ThingsCon team,

Your scribe Peter

PS. Think a friend or colleague would enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to pass it on! 🙏

ThingsCon Log (11 Sep 2017)

ThingsCon Amsterdam, Salons in Berlin, Copenhagen, Amsterdam & more EVENT UPDATES

COPENHAGEN ran their first ThingsCon Salon as part of Copenhagen Tech Festival. Here's a lovely first review of the event by none other than speaker Dr. Lachlan Urquart.

We also have Salons coming up in Berlin (28 Sept, with Lisa Gutermuth of Ranking Digital Rights), Amsterdam (4 Oct, theme "Intimate Technology") and Antwerp (24 Oct, the ThingsCon Saloon Comedy Special).

And then—mark this in your calendar!—the annual ThingsCon Amsterdam conference will happen 30 November and 1 December. With two full days of workshops and presentations, this will be our biggest event to date. (Details and sign-up.) Please note that there is a special ThingsCon Fan Ticket which comes with a limited edition t-shirt just for this event, and hence bragging rights! (It even happens to be extra discounted, so what are you waiting for?)

Keep an eye on thingscon.com/events for details.

We're on a mission to increase the footprint of the ThingsCon community, including 5 in the global South. Learn more about how it works and get in touch to start your local chapter, right now!

READ/WATCH/LISTEN

This week we have lots of trust-related pieces for you.

A Simple Design Flaw Makes It Astoundingly Easy To Hack Siri And Alexa. Chinese security researchers found that you can trigger voice-controlled digital assistants like Siri & co using voice at frequencies above human hearing. It's not clear if this could be deployed at range, and will likely be a quick and easy fix, but it's a good reminder that there are lots of new attack vectors in IoT that we need to consider.

465,000 Patients Need Software Updates for Their Hackable Pacemakers, FDA Says. Mostly, IoT security issues aren't a matter of life and death. Unless they are, like in this case. Luckily there's a quick recall underway, but it's not like this hadn't been discussed before. File under "just avoided the worst case scenario".

Researchers block ISPs from spying through your smart devices. A university team published a fascinating paper: "Spying on the Smart Home: Privacy Attacks and Defenses on Encrypted IoT Traffic." Turns out that by fingerprinting devices it's possible for ISPs to identify IoT products and user behavior based on the levels of traffic being generated. This works even if the devices are encrypted and even if you're using a VPN (even though that makes it harder). Not cool! But they might have figured out a way to protect users, at least in theory: "We find that certain common device combinations and user activity patterns minimize the ability of a VPN to obfuscate smart home traffic metadata." It seems possible to obfuscate through "traffic shaping", traffic rates are matched to scheduled amounts which then makes it harder to identify what's going on. Ah, welcome to the 21st century.

A trustworthy tech mark. Doteveryone's most excellent Laura James strikes again with an excellent blog post around how to address trust issues (or rather: issues of trustworthiness) with digital technologies: "Doteveryone has been thinking about a trustworthy tech mark to indicate responsible and trustworthy digital products and services, to enable people to make more informed choices when selecting technologies to buy or use. We’re exploring a mark (and the systems around it) that both provides evidence that products or services are trustworthy, and ideally also demonstrates competence and reliability (and honesty as far as possible)." Well worth reading! We also have a report coming up on trustmarks for the internet of things. More soon!

Shoutout: Connected Rights by Berlin-based journalist David Meyer is an excellent newsletter "about the collision between technology and people's rights" that also comes with a website. (Did we give a shoutout to this before? If so, it well deserves a second one!)

ThingsCon at Netzpolitik13 conference: At Netzpolitik13 conference, ThingsCon featured heavily in Peter Bihr's talk on IoT and inherent tensions regarding policy and regulations. Details, slides and the recorded talk (in German) are available here.

The Human Tech Report

We also have our own (second) newsletter: Our global community of experts keeps an eye out for responsible tech so you can have a quick-to-scan overview of what's noteworthy, smoothly delivered to your inbox once a month. To follow along, sign up now, and if you know of initiatives that should be included, please reach out to Max!

ATTEND

Underexposed: Our friends at SimplySecure bring their conference Underexposed to Berlin this fall. The theme this year: Deep Forgetting: Designing for Privacy in a World of Machine Learning. The preliminary program looks ace, with lots of friendly faces, allies and collaborators (including our very own Peter Bihr).

If you're in town, swing by and say hi!

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Are you on Slack? Drop us a line with your email address and we'll be happy to see you in the ThingsCon backchannel on Slack (info@thingscon.com). And if you have community news (events, projects you're working on, resources you'd like to share, etc.) send them our way. And as always, for any news follow us on Twitter!

Have a fantastic week!

On behalf of the whole ThingsCon team,

Your scribe Peter

PS. Think a friend or colleague would enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to pass it on! 🙏