Events news

Salon Doing Ethics

On 6 September ThingsCon, we will team up with the Human Values for Smarter Cities project to organise a Salon on Doing Ethics at VONK Rotterdam

With two great speakers that bring ethics daily in practice, short pitches by researchers from the project, and an insightful workshop on designing rules into policy. 

Workshop 16:00-18:00, evening lectures and panel 19:00-21:30. We are happy to be guests at VONK, the innovation centre of the municipality of Rotterdam.

Find the outline of the program below. Latest information and RSVP via our Meetup-page.

Looking forward to see you in Rotterdam!

About the theme:

Doing ethics in Smart City Tech/ The good, the bad and the acceptable

Ethics in smart city technology is not something you assess at one specific point in time in a tech’s lifecycle and then can forget about it. In the project Human Values for Smarter Cities, researchers, designers, civil servants (The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam), and citizens look for ways ethical principles can be interwoven in the articulation, making, deployment and adjustment of smart city technology.

Ethics for smart technology is also not a set of fixed values. We try to see ethics “as a process, as a verb, as doing ethics. Ideally, we organize collaborative and iterative processes that make room for ethical reflection, inquiry, and deliberation and that involve thinking, feeling, and action: your head, your heart, and your hands.” (Steen, 2023, p. 8).

In the project, the central focus lies on what we can do to do ethics, to facilitate this process, and when to do this in the life cycle of a specific technology, preferably with various stakeholders. In this ThingsCon Salon we zoom in on methods that facilitate participants to uncover, discuss and weigh negative and positive aspects of smart city technology. We explore how these methods work, but also what participants learn in these processes. We share findings and learnings from the research project and invite practitioners with experience applying ethics in their design practice. In a panel, we discuss with all speakers and participants ‘doing ethics’ in the way presented and how they relate to ethical values.

Overview program

The preliminary program for the Salon:

Workshop – Agonistic Machine Vision Development (16:00-18:00)
A Tangible Approach to Involving Citizens in the Development Phase of Machine Vision Systems for Scan Cars by Laura de Groot.

The workshop will be limited to 20 people. RSVP via a separate meetup-event can be found here.

18:00 – drinks and bites

Meetup Doing ethics in Smart City Tech/ The good, the bad and the acceptable (19:00-21:30)
by Iskander Smit (ThingsCon) and Jorgen Karskens (HvA CID)
__Introduction of VONK
by Gerard Nijboer of the municipality of Rotterdam
__Pitches Human Values for Smarter Cities project 
Mike de Kreek and Tessa Steenkamp
__Lessons learned from the afternoon workshop
Anna Noyons, founder and creative director of social design agency (ink)., on Social Design in Practice, and 
Douwe Schmidt, project manager public tech at Municipality of Amsterdam, initiator of Tada, on ‘the ethical leaflet’ in Amsterdam
__Panel Discussion
with Anna Noyons, Douwe Schmidt, Tessa Steenkamp en Mike de Kreek
__Wrap up & Drinks

Find the latest information and RSVP via our Meetup-page.

About the speakers

Anna Noyons

Anna is a strategist with a strong aesthetic sense.
She believes in creating a positive impact through design. At (ink). They create products, services and systems that bring out the best in people, helping organisations (small and large, commercial and governmental) reach their goals and make a positive impact by improving their strategies, products and services. Combining design, psychology and a start-up mentality to transform big societal challenges into concrete solutions.

Douwe Schmidt

Douwe Schmidt is Project Manager Public Tech at the City of Amsterdam. Before that, he was a board member at Bureau Tada, worked as a privacy officer at Fairphone and security trainer at Greenhost. He also enjoyed working with Waag and followed the Fabacademy there, among others.

He founded the Privacy Café for Bits of Freedom, organised numerous other meetings on the internet and politics and researched privacy-enhancing technologies for De Correspondent.

Mike de Kreek

Mike de Kreek is an action researcher in the Human Values for Smart Cities project. Mike’s focus lies on civic participation and engagement in articulating, making and evaluating smart city technologies.

Tessa Steenkamp

Tessa Steenkamp is a digital designer and urbanist. Her studio Bits of Space shapes the interactions and relations between people, place and technology. Through research and design interventions, Tessa aims to democratise the digital systems integrated into our cities. She gives a peek into the complexity around us and invites people to engage and take ownership.

More details on the workshop

Workshop – Agonistic Machine Vision Development 

A Tangible Approach to Involving Citizens in the Development Phase of Machine Vision Systems for Scan Cars by Laura de Groot.

Laura on the workshop:
For my master thesis (MSc Design for Interaction – TU Delft) I explored opening up the discussion about the acceptability of a machine vision system during the development phase, using the scan car development process in Amsterdam as a use case. Acceptability is explored based on various trade-offs made during this development phase (e.g., Accuracy versus Interpretability and Precision versus Recall).

While these trade-offs at first might seem purely technical, human judgment is involved. This human judgment should not only involve developers but also other stakeholders to legitimize certain decisions made (König and Wenzelburger, 2021). So how could we involve other stakeholders, specifically citizens, to be part of this complex and abstract discussion about acceptability?

The final prototype is a tangible user interface to explore the machine vision model in its complete system. By providing a tangible approach to explaining and interacting with the system, this game improves the understanding of non-experts citizens about machine vision systems and nurtures a deliberative debate.

More about the project can be found here:

The workshop will be adapted to be able to cater to 20 participants. We will start at 16:00, doors open at 15:45.