Moving to a more-than-human design practise

Twice speaker at ThingsCon Elisa Giaccardi published an article together with Johan Redstrom on Technology and more than human design: “we need to conceptually equip our design theory and methodologies for new alignments, move past the blind spots of human- centered design, and address the expanding universe of algorithms, forms of intelligence, and forms of life that are entering design practice, casting them as partners in a more-than-human design practice.”
https://pure.tudelft.nl/portal/files/69227577/TechnologyAndMoreThanHumanDesign_Preprint.pdf

Dutch court stops use of automated surveillance by welfare authorities

A Dutch court has ordered the immediate halt of an automated surveillance system for detecting welfare fraud because it violates human rights, in a judgment likely to resonate well beyond the Netherlands.
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/feb/05/welfare-surveillance-system-violates-human-rights-dutch-court-rules

The EU is considering a 5 year ban on facial recognition in public spaces

The European Union is considering banning facial recognition technology in public areas for up to five years, to give it time to work out how to prevent abuses, according to proposals seen by Reuters.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-ai/eu-mulls-five-year-ban-on-facial-recognition-tech-in-public-areas-idUSKBN1ZF2QL

Open data on repairs made available to inform policy

Members of the Open Repair Alliance have recently updated their Open Repair Data Standard and  combined nearly 30,000 records from their community events. It is available as open data for anyone to access.“By mapping this data to a common format, we can pool our repair data together and look for patterns and trends to help inform policy.”
https://openrepair.org/repair-data/open-repair-data-30000-records-together-at-last/

Voice controlled metronome app a shows great use of on-device voice recognition

Musicians can get hands-free metronome features while they practice and play – without worrying about privacy or needing signal. Hands-free music makes sense. If you’re an instrumentalist, it means the ability to use your music gadgets along with your instrument, without taking your hands off the keys, string, bow, and so on. 
https://cdm.link/2019/12/voice-controlled-metronome/

Final prototype of the Ethical Stack by Virt-EU released

We have had Virt-EU involved in ThingsCon in multiple occasions and we were happy to contribute to the process of making this Ethical Stack. The final prototype is ready, “a series of tools to support creators of new connected technology to reflect on the ethical and social impacts of their products.” Check it out here:
https://www.virteuproject.eu/servicepackage/ethical-stack/

Sonos + Snips + IKEA = responsible smart speakers for the masses?

With the news of Sonos buying Snips and the positive track record of their partner IKEA in smart home products, everything seems to be in place for seeing the first responsible speakers for the masses in 2020/2021. We at ThingsCon hope to welcome them back to one of our events when that happens, but will be following them closely in them mean time. Currently we are interested in how Sonos’ decision to Shut Snip’s Local Voice Options down will play out and the news that the Sonos’s “recycle mode” intentionally bricks good devices so they can’t be reused

The Low Carbon Design Institute launches in pilot form

Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino is launching a pilot design programme based on mitigation of climate change – and is looking for applications. [via Imperica]
http://designswarm.com/blog/2019/12/low-carbon-design-institute-ideas-for-a-net-zero-compliant-design-education/

The Nabaztag is alive again!

At the time of last year’s ThingsCon Salon on resurrecting IoT darlings, Olivier Mével and team had just announced their crowdfunding campaign. With the funding done, they have now released a kit to breathe new life into an IoT classic. A strong sign which shows that an IoT product does not need to be bricked by default when the initial servers go dark.