Aug 27, 2018 · 3 min read

The ThingsCon report The State of Responsible IoT is an annual collection of essays by experts from the ThingsCon community. With the Riot Report 2018 we want to investigate the current state of responsible IoT. In this report we explore observations, questions, concerns and hopes from practitioners and researchers alike. The authors share the challenges and opportunities they perceive right now for the development of an IoT that serves us all, based on their experiences in the field. The report presents a variety of differing opinions and experiences across the technological, regional, social, philosophical domains the IoT touches upon. You can read all essays as a Medium publication and learn more at

A lot has happened since we published the first ThingsCon State of Responsible IoT report in 2017: Responsibility and ethics in tech have begun to enter mainstream conversations, and these conversations are having an effect. The media, tech companies, and policy makers all are rethinking the effect of technology on society.

The lines between the Internet of Things (IoT), algorithmic decision-making, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML), and data-driven services are all ever-more blurry. We can’t discuss one without considering the others. That’s not a bad thing, it just adds complexity. The 21st century one for black and white thinking: It’s messy, complex, quickly evolving, and a time where simple answers won’t do.

It is all the more important to consider the implications, to make sure that all the new data-driven systems we’ll see deployed across our physical and digital environments work well — not just for the users but for all who are impacted.

Things have evolved and matured in big strides since our last State of Responsible IoT. This year’s report reflects that evolution, as well as the enormous breadth and depth of the debate. We couldn’t be happier with the result.

Table of Contents

Content listed in alphabetical order, by first names. The links go out to Medium (see notes on other available formats as well as licensing info below).

Christian Villum: Solid advice for you IoT gunslingers and quacksters out there: Time to change your business model

Dries de Roeck: IoT and Value. A dangerous game.

Prof. Dr. Eduardo Magrani & Dr. Ronaldo Lemos: Governance of Internet of Things and Ethics of Intelligent Algorithms

Ester Fritsch, Prof. Dr. Irina Shklovski & Dr. Rachel Douglas-Jones: The Manifesto Moment in IoT

Prof. Dr. Gaia Scagnetti: Learning to avoid users infantilization

Holly Robbins on behalf of the Just Things Foundation: Where Does the Responsibility Lie: A Case Study

Iohanna Nicenboim, Prof. Dr. Elisa Giaccardi & Dr. James Pierce: More-than-Human Design for the Future of AI in the Home

Prof. Dr. Irina Shklovski: Responsibility in IoT: What does it mean to “do good”?

Iskander Smit: Things As Citizens in the future Cities of Things

Dr. Laura James: Responsible and trustworthy IoT

Luca van der Heide: IoT — upcoming challenges for digital ethics

Maya Indira Ganesh: A-words: Accountability, Automation, Agency, AI

Peter Bihr: Tech, Trust, Transparency: The Trustable Tech Mark

Prof. Dr. Seyram Avle, David Li & Prof. Dr. Silvia Lindtner: Responsible IoT after techno-solutionism

Simon Höher: Observing Things — Responsibility and the Internet of Things

Practical information / how to access and use the report

The report is available as a publication on Medium as well as a PDF download.

The report is published by ThingsCon e.V. and licensed under Creative Commons (attribution/non-commercial/share-alike: CC BY-NC-SA). Images are provided by the author and used with permission. Please reference the author’s or the authors’ name(s).

ThingsCon is a global community & event platform for IoT practitioners. Our mission is to foster the creation of a human-centric & responsible Internet of Things (IoT). With our events, research, publications and other initiatives — like the Trustable Tech mark for IoT — we aim to provide practitioners with an open environment for reflection & collaborative action. Learn more at

The State of Responsible IoT 2018

Experts from the ThingsCon community explore current…

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