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Session Overview
Roundtable-15: The path to a social and ethical IoT
Saturday, 13/Oct/2018:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Location: Sheraton - Salon 7

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The path to a social and ethical IoT

Jatinder Singh1, Leonie Tanczer2, Christian Djeffal3, Alison Powell4

1Dept. of Computer Science and Technology, University of Cambridge, UK; 2Dept. of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy, University College London, UK; 3Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Germany; 4Dept. of Media and Communications, London School of Economics, UK

The Internet of Things (IoT) concerns bringing the physical world online. The grand vision is often described as a highly-connected environment, in which the physical and digital worlds blend to transform our homes, workplaces, businesses, hospitals, and cities---leaving no aspect of society untouched.

Though such a vision raises many social and ethical concerns, in practice, these aspects are rarely properly considered by those actually producing the technology. As such, the aim of this roundtable is to explore the challenges and means for embedding social and ethical considerations into the IoT’s design, development and deployment.

The nature of the topic means an interdisciplinary approach is crucial. As such, we will begin the session with a series of short IoT perspectives from the participants (see author list), who span a range of backgrounds, before opening up to audience participation. Specifically, these perspectives include:

* The nature of the IoT as a ‘systems of systems’, and the points for technical interventions (Jat - technology)

* The role of law, as not only as imposing restrictions, but as a language to mediate competing concerns in the IoT’s development (Christian - law)

* Impacts on disadvantaged, excluded, and potentially endangered groups, through tech-abuse and tech-misuse (Leonie - politics/gender)

* The nuances and mismatches between public perceptions, ethical considerations, and specific technical practices (Alison - ethics)

Charles Ess, who has extensive social-ethical-techno experience, has agreed to both moderate and contribute to the discussion.

Post-event, the participants aim to publish a paper summarising and drawing conclusions from the discourse. This is to ensure a reach beyond the session’s audience, as such considerations will only grow in prominence as the IoT continues to emerge.

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