Ethics inside

Bridging the gap

There is a gap between the policy recommendations and Privacy Impact Assessment Frameworks and the start-up reality of IoT on the ground with 20 Internet of Things Platforms listed on Postcapes.com and a growing group of attempts to build IoT hardware hubs to provide connectivity in and to the home: apart from Greengoose, and Cosm (formerly Pachube) there is for example the Knut internet-connected sensor that keeps you in the know via email:
 
"Our lives a very connected these days. You can check in on friends and family, your car and your home within seconds by typing a few words and pushing a few buttons. Despite this, there are still many pieces that remain cut off from our networks by physical space. The Knut sensor hub aims to connect a few more of those pieces. Much like the Twine device that we saw last fall and the Electric Imp, the Knut is a small sensor-equipped module that enables you to remotely monitor equipment and spaces in your home. The Knut comes equipped with a temperature sensor so that you can monitor the temperature of your wine refrigerator, humidor, basement, etc. It connects to the internet via Wi-Fi and can send out alerts and information to its owner by way of email and text message."  (Source)
 
We can envisage a lot more of these IoT start-ups. Twine, for example got pledged over half a million dollars while asking only 35.000. The IoT Ethics 'label' and checkbox should be able to guide them easily and quickly to considering ethics as a USP, not a hindrance to deployment, yet it should also provide at least the possibility for citizens and developers to discuss how “we will live in a world that is more 'alive' and more 'deeply interconnected' than we can currently imagine."
We have tracked the main issues through interviews with key researchers that have been at the forefront of these issues and have helped to shape the thinking around it. These are:
 
AWARENESS
INVISIBILITY
INEVITABILITY
TRUST
 
These issues are not new
 
In i3magazine 2003, Jakub Wejchert of Future and Emerging Technologies Unit, European Commission, project officer of i3 and Disappearing Computer Research Initiatives, said: 
 
"What needs to be explored is how to support the human cognition of the physical, of embodied knowledge and, in more general terms, how to support knowledge of 'how' rather than 'what'. It is in this direction that some work on tangible media and ubiquitous computing has started to look, and it is this direction that some of the work in i3 and the disappearing computer have started to explore. Up until recently, information technology was developed (either consciously or subconsciously) under a number of context-free metaphors (such as the 'wise machine', the 'text book' or the notion of 'reproducing reality') and has used a range of techniques to further these aims. For the human being, most of these have led to the support of conceptual abstraction or a form of reproduced reality. However, as we start to look at the real world (rather than the world of the machine) for inspiration, we must consider real objects, real people and real places.” Thus, as we start moving towards environments in which computing becomes less explicit and more embedded into the fabric of everyday places and activities, the role and nature of everyday objects, locations and places will all come to the fore. It is in this realm that architectural, anthropological, psychological and skill-based concepts are likely to play a major role. In the long term, as we move towards a 'knowledge-based society', we have to ask: "Have we been supporting only one kind of knowledge up to now"? and "How can we best support different kinds of knowledge"? To do this we need to support a diversity of things we understand by 'knowledge' – ranging from the cognitively abstract, through to knowledge that is 'at hand' and embodied in our physical everyday world, to sequences of past events, and our memories of past experiences…This will involve rethinking what we mean by 'knowledge representation', constructing new forms of 'flows' between content and context, and exploring the balance between the 'global' and the 'local'. Perhaps in the future we will look back to our preindustrial roots as inspiration – back to a reverence for 'place', 'location' and the importance of the 'being within the world' and the 'here and now'…Perhaps in the future, we will live in a world that is more 'alive' and more 'deeply interconnected' than we can currently imagine?"
 
10 years later
we believe that we have some hints at potential solutions:
 
EDUCATION
DESIGN & FEEDBACK
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY & NEW BUSINESS MODELS
CO-CREATION
 
We want to engage citizens on the one hand and developers on the other in a broad public debate on the transition that IoT will bring to all sectors of society and every-day relations between people, objects and their environment. In order to engage meaningfully this task aims to create consensus among IoT experts - technical, ser-vice oriented, policy and innovation (start-ups) - about the main questions and is-sues that Ethics and IoT entail.
 
In the research, interviews, workshops and literature we were able to draw up a matrix of main issues and main solutions that accompany the transition towards a fully connected ‘always on’ world that exists not as a work-related world, but as the ‘normal’, and utterly mundane everyday world that informs our daily practices, relations and aspirations. Each issue is explained in the words of a key expert. Each solution is taking from actual research, best practice and ongoing projects. 
 
On this site developers can see how far they are to incorporating the solutions into the beginnings of their ideas and product and service development. An ideal scenario is sketched. This ideal scenario is awarded with the ethics inside label. The label depicts the interrelation between humans, animals, robots, nature, small and large devices and the environment.
 
Equally connected, ideally they should have an equal say.