ThingsCon is a global initiative to explore and promote the development of fair, responsible, and human-centric technologies for the IoT and beyond.
We organize events, and create resources and tools for a diverse community of practitioners to promote ethical, considerate, responsible and human-centric practices across IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning and related technology with a human impact.
We help organizations of any size explore issues of agency, inclusivity, fairness, public good, responsibility, and openness in a world of technologically-driven complexity. See our Trustmark for IoT, the Trustable Technology Mark initiative.
Our publications are free to access and provide practitioners with an open environment for reflection & collaborative action. Read our State of Responsible IoT 2018 report.
Our yearly conference is in Rotterdam on December 6-7th 2018. Smaller, more frequent ThingsCon Salons and other events take place throughout the year across the globe. You’re invited to join us.
We’re happy to announce that we set up ThingsCon e.V.—a Germany-based membership association—to further promote ThingsCon’s mission: To foster the creation of a human-centric & responsible IoT.
Why a membership association? Having this structure will help us interface with other organizations more easily in terms of advocacy and funding.
Our 7 founding members (in alphabetical order):
- Prof Andrea Krajewski (Hochschule Darmstadt)
- Emanuel Schwarz (ThingsCon)
- Max Krüger (ThingsCon, Global Innovation Gathering)
- Michelle Thorne (Mozilla Open IoT Studio)
- Peter Bihr (ThingsCon, The Waving Cat)
- Ricardo Brito (The ThingCast, IoT Service Kit)
- Simon Höher (ThingsCon, Current Collective)
The full Articles of Association (Satzung) and Regulations of Contribution are available here. They were adopted by the founding members on 17 February 2017.
We’re very happy that our little rebel alliance for responsible IoT keeps growing and maturing. It now includes a “core” ThingsCon group made up one association in Germany and the Netherlands plus local organizers, plus (helping out wherever needed) the founders’ companies (The Waving Cat in Germany and The Incredible Machine & info.nl in the Netherlands). And we work very closely and side-by-side with a number of other organizations with aligned values and mission statements including the Just Things Foundation, Mozilla Foundation, and many others.
With this organically grown, trust-based setup we’re in a great position to do what we set out to do: Promote a responsible IoT and make sure that IoT works well for everyone.
Foundation ThingsCon Amsterdam
ThingsCon Amsterdam started with a one day conference on 7 November 2014, inspired by the successful format of that year’s first Berlin edition. In 2015 we grew into a conference with about 250 attendees and we felt that we needed to keep growing the Dutch community by also organising smaller focused events; the Salons. In 2017 we organised our first research trip to Shenzhen. In 2018 we organised the 5th edition of the ThingsCon Amsterdam conference, with an international line-up of top notch speakers and about 30 sessions and 70 speakers on different aspects of making a meaningful impact through product and service design of connected products, with around 300 attendees.
Find the impressions from ThingsCon Amsterdam 2016 and 2017. We continued to organise the Salons in 2018.
ThingsCon Amsterdam became a foundation in 2017 and was founded by Iskander Smit (Info.nl), Marcel Schouwenaar (The Incredible Machine) and Monique van Dusseldorp (Van Dusseldorp).
Our mission and values
We believe that responsible technologies
- value people’s agency by providing empowering, transparent, and supportive means to help people have meaningful and deliberate choice and ways of changing their minds when it comes to use of their data.
- facilitate fairness by promoting just and mutually beneficial systems, that often affect power-dynamics, inter-dependencies, and long-term effects on individuals and communities.
- are human-centric, inclusive, and need to be designed with all stakeholders in mind. This means treating people not merely as customers, but also as neighbors, citizens, family members, coworkers, children, minorities, and diverse, multicultural communities.
- should strive for openness and decentralization as strategies to increase resilience, to mitigate unintended consequences of connected products, and to help address complexity, prudence, and diversity.
ThingsCon believes that any participant should be able to feel welcome, included, and safe at our conference. That means anyone, irrespective of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, dietary requirements, or childcare requirements. We’re trying to address this two ways: First, we pledge to try our utmost to accommodate people’s needs. Second, we won’t tolerate staff, speakers, or attendees engaging in behaviour that excludes people, whether that’s harassment, bullying, overt or covert racism or sexism. (Not tolerating means we’ll eject people, without refund, if we have to.)
Please note that this does not mean just that we will fight aggressive behavior, but also aim that we are willing to go the extra mile for anyone with special needs (be it dietary, child care or anything else). Please talk to us. We cannot promise to solve every issue, but sure will try to make it all work.
As proponents for ethics in technology and responsible IoT we try to practice what we preach in our own tools we use for organizing the activities and events we do.
We don’t ever share your data unless legally required to, and in fact don’t collect any personal information other than the necessary data for specific activities, like registration data for our events and communication data to send out our newsletter.
For those activities we use tools and try to monitor and control the collection of data outside our control.
We use MailChimp for our e-mail newsletter to keep you informed on the events and activities we organize. In our database we have your name and e-mail address. As soon as you indicate to unsubscribe we will delete all these information from the database.
Our website is built on WordPress, using the Fudge-theme. We don’t use personal data in our WordPress-website.
For the registration of the conference, we use Eventbrite. We only ask data we need for your registration. Via the management system of Eventbrite we are able to get an overview of the data of attendees:
invoice address (in case that is entered)
For our ThingsCon Salons we use Meetup to announce the Salons and register attendees. All profile data on Meetup is stored within the Meetup environment. We as organizers can download the RSVP list of all members of our group and RSVPs per Salon. In this data, we can only see you account name as shown on the website moment of RSVP. We don’t have access to your e-mail or other personal data. Communication, like sending out announcements, always happens via the tooling of Meetup.
Meetup has updated its privacy statement according to GDPR. Find it here https://www.meetup.com/privacy/