Executive summary: Alien Energy

Renewable energy has in recent years become a central part of our all lives. This might surprise statistically, since renewable energy covers only a fraction of the global energy production, with oil, coal and gas still dominating while wind, water, biological and other electricity barely visible on the graphs. With man-made climate change already in effect, scientists, environmentalists, governments and many sections of the public in the west have come to the conclusion, that something has to be changed. The direction hereby is quite clear: Renewable energy is the future.

While renewable energy production might be the way forward, energy production is a competitive market. With Oil and Gas companies trying to defend their fossil fuel sources, it is an imperative to policy makers and environmental activists to convince the public of more sustainable methods of production. Changing public opinion is a door-opener in democracies, because ultimately only they can create the pressures necessary for long-term change. This is why we are proposing some alternative methods of convincing people to rethink energy productions.

Policy change resulting in laws and regulations that can curb fossil energy sources and promote renewables eventually depend on the people. Changing public perception of renewable energy, and it’s visible counterparts, the infrastructure is necessary to enable policy changes that favor renewable energy technologies. This leads to educational campaigns, and other integrations of ‘renewable energy’ as topic into the everyday life of citizens being of key importance.

Successful research is mainly facilitated in the European Union, the UK and the United States, who constitute major players in researching and testing new technologies, and in educating the public through campaigns. This is also a very competitive market, with many projects running at the same time, start-ups appearing and dying or being bought, ideas being created, prototypes tested, and successes planned, while in some cases those innovations get forgotten.

Tackling negative associations is part of the endeavour to educate the public on renewable energy sources. The researchers Laura Watts and Brit Winthereik face the question of how to redefine public understanding of the infrastructures that support our lives.  Renewable energy infrastructures often appear vastly different than conventional energy infrastructures. They occupy the landscape, sometimes nearly invisible, sometimes jarring, but seeming alien to people’s collective perception. They are alien in the sense that they are unfamiliar, new and strange to us. This can lead to misconceptions and negative attitudes that policy makers have to target.

How do we sway the public opinion then towards appreciating the importance of considering the role of renewable energy technologies and infrastructures in the future? Watts and Winthereik employ new approaches to draw our attention towards these infrastructures. For example, Winthereik envisioned the “Energy Walk”, a journey throughout a Danish coastal village accompanied by a walking stick with an embedded set of headphones. Embarking on the walk whilst listening to the audio recordings played from the digital walking stick is akin to an aesthetic experience: it asks the participant consider various things they encounter related to energy and infrastructures along the way, and to consider their past, future and alternatives.

It is necessary to remember the strides that have been made in renewable energy technologies. Watts points out on her blog that Orkney, an Island-chain at the north-eastern end of Scotland, has in the last couple of years been a hub for research and development of water and wind energy projects alike. Orkney has served as a testing site for smart grid technology research for almost a decade. While its rough, windy and wavy climate supports the creation of energy, sadly Orkneys electricity grid is separate from that of the mainland. This means energy created on the island stays trapped there. Furthermore, the UK National Infrastructure Commission proposes the development and linking of technologies abroad that already have been prototyped at Orkney. Instead of consigning “old” technologies to oblivion, it would be more sensible to build on top of them. In order to stay efficient one should not overlook prior investments and successes.

Investing in renewable energy sources might be a necessary step forward, in that amending policy is the only way forward, but politics often is not a straight, logical process. The Alien Energy project strives to explore ways of focusing public attention towards the infrastructures that shape our understanding of this issue. Projects such as those on the islands of Orkney serves as warning to forgetting existing infrastructure and technology.

Executive Summary by Sannebr

Energy production is a contested field. With Oil and Gas companies trying to defend their fossil sources, it is an imperative to policy makers and environmental activists to convince the public of more sustainable methods of production. With manmade climate change already in effect, scientists, environmentalists, governments and many sections of the public in the west have come to the conclusion, that something has to be changed. The direction hereby is quite clear: To combat climate change, renewable energy is the future. But there is also the political obstacle, in that policy is the only way forward, but politics often is not a straight, logical process.

Changing the public’s minds is a door-opener in democracies, because ultimately only they can create the pressures necessary for long-term change. This is why we are proposing some alternative methods of convincing people to rethink energy productions. Renewable Energy has in recent years become a central part of our all lives. This might surprise statistically, since renewable energy covers only a fraction of the global energy production, with oil, coal, and gas still dominating while wind, water, biological and other electricity barely visible in statistics.

Successful research is mainly facilitated in the European Union, the UK and the United States, who constitute major players in researching and testing new technologies, and in educating the public through campaigns. This is also a very competitive market, with many projects running at the same time, start-ups appearing and dying or being bought, ideas being created, prototypes tested, and successes planned, while in some cases those innovations get forgotten.

Actual change through policy, resulting in laws and regulations that can curb fossil energy sources and promote renewables eventually depend on the people. Changing public perception of renewable energy, and its visible counterparts, the infrastructure is necessary to enable policy changes that favor renewable energy technologies. This leads to informative educational campaigns and other integrations of ‘renewable energy’ as a topic into the everyday life of citizens being of key importance.

Tackling negative associations is part of this endeavor. researchers face the question of how to redefine the public’s understanding of the infrastructures that support our lives.  Renewable energy infrastructures often appear vastly different than conventional energy infrastructures. They occupy the landscape, sometimes nearly invisible, sometimes jarring, but seeming alien to people’s collective perception. They are alien in the sense that they are unfamiliar, new and strange to us. This can lead to misconceptions and negative attitudes, that policy makers have to target.

Projects on the islands of Orkney, an Island chain at the north-east end of Scotland, serves as a warning to forgetting existing infrastructure and technology. As a researcher points out on her blog, Orkney has in the last couple of years been a hub for research and development of water and wind energy projects alike. While it’s rough, windy and wavy climate supports the creation of energy, sadly Orkneys electricity grid is separate from that of the mainland. This means energy created on the isles stays trapped there.

There is another factor of waste at play here. It is necessary to remember the strides that have been made in renewable energy technologies. Orkney has served as a testing site for smart grid technology research for almost a decade. Despite that, the UK National Infrastructure Commission proposes the development and linking of technologies abroad, that already have been prototyped at Orkney. Instead of consigning “old” technologies to oblivion, it would be more sensible to build on top of them. In order to stay efficient one should not overlook prior investments and successes.

How do we sway the public opinion then towards appreciating the importance of considering the role of renewable energy technologies and infrastructures in the future? Researchers employ new approaches to drawing our attention towards infrastructures. For example, researchers have envisioned the “Energy Walk”, a journey throughout a Danish coastal village accompanied by a walking stick with an embedded set of headphones. Embarking on the walk whilst listening to the audio recordings played from the digital walking stick is akin to an aesthetic experience: it asks the participant consider various things they encounter related to energy and infrastructures along the way, and to consider their past, future and alternatives.

Big data executive summary

 

Society as we know it is being reshaped through the emergence of digital infrastructures. The digitization of the public sector makes way for a wide range of opportunities for government practices using big data, which at the same time causes some challenges, such as how do we secure citizens’ privacy. Therefore it is important to comprehend how data is being created and how it can be used, and how the government is more commonly using data. We suggest a public website for citizens gain information about the processes and steps the government takes to secure their data.

Data is generated from people’s everyday life, as data is being created through all of their online devices. Some of this data will end up at a governmental desk, and increasingly more of the data generated by the citizens will become available to the government. Thus it is important that the government is prepared to handle these data with a presumed care. An informed public sector is thus expected to be up to date with the latest strategies and tactics of handling big data, able to handle the formation of digital infrastructures in the public sphere, and furthermore to come up with a generalized structure of this procedure. A website for debate, mediation and intervention is therefore a vital organ for this information gathering process.

This website draws on studies, reflections and theory from studies all around the world, and more specifically subprojects made in the project process. Additional to regular and easy accessible information this website serves to navigate the complexity of big data usage in public sector decision-making, and furthermore demonstrates how universities can innovatively combine the tasks of research, education and outreach.

Everyday life is surrounded by data-saturated environment and people wear personalized data-generation devices on the bodies; not just smartphones but also sensor-embedded wristbands, clothing or watches. These devices humans carry around daily are also invested with and sends out continuous flows of personal information. Personal information including geolocation information, personal images, biometric information and more. However, these devices also leak data outwards, transmitting them to private or public cloud servers. This happens in real-time continuously every day and sometimes without the users’ knowledge or consent. This raises important questions about the security and privacy of the very intimate information that these devices generate, transmit and archive.

These questions turn into Political issues concerning data ownership. Asymmetries in the access of citizens to digital datasets (including their personal data) and that of government and commercial entities.

It is fair to assume that individuals recognize they are consumers of data and producers of data by the constant usage of technological devices. Most of them, know this data is used to some extent by companies and the government to extract information about their users. However, the way the information is processed, the context it is associated to is totally out of control of the users.

Big Data is not representative data. Big data is usually collected from websites such as facebook and twitter. However, these sites favor a certain type of people that have a habit of using such sites. People who are less likely to be on social media sites, as well as any other type of website, creates a divide in the data. There is also a divide in the type of research performed. Furthermore, companies are also not obliged to share all of their data. Some websites will only share a certain percentage of their total data (a so-called water hose). Researchers have no way for telling the quality of data they are getting, which could affect the outcome of their research.

In order to gain an insight into how big data is used and viewed and the digital infrastructure in government institutions a practice-based methodology founded on anthropological principles is used. Furthermore, a plethora of digital tools to compare and contrast the findings from fieldwork inquiries and observations is applied. The digital tools used are mainly open-source and used in sociological studies of science, technology, and innovation.

Executive Summary – tiagocph

Society as we know it is being reshaped through the emergence of digital infrastructures. Big Data brings to the table the digitization of the public sector creating opportunities for government practices. However, doing so, causes some challenges. One of the main challenges is that the public-sector digitization is not clear and practices for using new data sources have not been set yet. It is then crucial to comprehend the new data-driven society, moved by how data is created and used, and making sure the government can adapt to this new scenario.

 

Everyday life is surrounded by data-saturated environment and people wear personalized data-generation devices on the bodies; not just smartphones but also sensor-embedded wristbands, clothing or watches. These devices carried around daily are constantly sending and receiving continuous flows of personal information. It includes geolocation information, personal images, biometric information and more. However, the destination of this data is not clear, going to either private or public sectors or both. This happens in real-time, every day and sometimes without the user’s’ knowledge or consent.

 

Questions of security and privacy turn into Political issues concerning data ownership. Asymmetries in the access of citizens to digital datasets (including their personal data) and that of government and commercial entities.

 

It is fair to assume that citizens recognize, to some extent, data they share and generate by the constant usage of technological devices goes somewhere. Citizens, know companies and the government, look into this data, to extract information about their users. However, the way the information is processed, the context it is associated to is totally out of control of the users. A parallel can be made to food, as the one can choose what to eat, but loses control over what happens to the content of the food in their bodies as the processes of digestion take place. The same happens with fata, we choose the applications we use, but as users our agency ends there, becoming both data-ingesting and data-emitting in an endless cycle of generating data, never sure what becomes of it.

 

This generated information will inevitably end at a governmental desk, and it is fair to assume that it will only increase in the future. The question is raised, how should the Government deal with this situation. Right now, there are not available tools to access this generated data correctly, social-media sites provide only a glimpse into the present, as they lack way to access archived information, or the data collected might not be entirely accurate due to a variety of causes, such as: pre-processing done, sensors used and so on.  Therefore, it is important that the government is prepared to handle this data with care. An informed public sector is thus expected to be up to date with the latest tactics and strategies of handling big data. There needs to be a site for debate, mediation and intervention is therefore a vital organ for this information gathering process.

 

This site would work as a toolbox that draws from studies, reflections and theory all around the world, and more specifically subprojects made in the project process. In addition to regular and easy to read information this toolbox would serve to navigate the complexity of big data usage in public sector decision-making, and demonstrate how universities can innovatively combine the tasks of research, education and outreach.

 

In order to gain an insight into how big data is used and viewed and the digital infrastructure in government institutions a practice-based methodology founded on anthropological principles is used. Furthermore, a plethora of digital tools to compare and contrast the findings from fieldwork inquiries and observations is applied. The digital tools used are mainly open-source and used in sociological studies of science, technology, and innovation.

Executive summary by Alexcecilie

Data is often described as “the new oil”, which implies its newfound value in modern society. With the emergent increase of new technologies and thus more data, large companies can gain almost unlimited access to knowledge about the citizens’ preferences, habits, and whereabouts. This is happening without individual citizen participation as the data collection is happening in non-transparent terms, which makes data handling an ethical issue. This report will propose the importance of making the data collection happen in more plain terms, where the power will be given back to the individual – a responsibility placed on large organizations, as they are the ones producing the software, which collects the data. As there is so much data which is used worldwide, this report argues that one law cannot satisfy all stakeholders – instead, the way of handling data and privacy issues should be to make individual privacy settings possible.

The interconnection between technologies is referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT). This implies that all technologies are connected and can exchange data, e.g. the smartphone can be connected to the car. This creates great possibilities and efficiency for the individual. Imagine finding a destination on your smartphone, then go to your car and connect it to your phone, so it can show the way on the car’s’ GPS.

Findings related to consent policy show a clear lack of specification and consistency, making them hard to understand and locate. For example, IoT devices such as fitness watches and home electricity devices lack a keyboard or touchscreen, which means that it cannot ‘ask’ for user consent. The user must actively search for the consent form online, which studies show, is extremely difficult to find. Furthermore, the ambiguous language used in consent forms makes it tough for users to know exactly what they are accepting. Lastly, the policies are inconsistent in access, modification and deletion rights for the user.

Drifting away in the possibilities of IoT, one may forget the fact that it has not been engineered to actually protect data security. Yet another crucial finding within this project is the issue of the vulnerabilities of these IoT devices to hacking and other security breaches. What has been discovered is that there often exists a trade-off between battery efficiency and device security, from the manufacturers perspective. This absence of thinking about security can lead to new ways of attack, data being breached, stolen and compromised. What IoT does, is merely to turn everyday life objects into an information security target, while distributing those targets far more widely than the current version of the Internet – thus enhancing the risks of security.

Intrusion on privacy has been recognized as yet another interrelated challenge with IoT. The issue originates in different things, such as the user being unaware of the quantity and detail of gathered data, and the extensive profiling capabilities of the ever more data that is generated by IoT. The Smart Home as an example, is a home made up of a variety of consumer sensor devices, including thermostats, internet, television, energy management, security etc., all generating piles of data that can be assembled, further analyzed, and reveal specific aspects of habits, behaviors and preferences of the people living there. Gathered data that is considered very sensitive. The challenge of privacy is also bound in the users’ lack of control over their data. This is especially clear when third-party monitors are used, as they may not even ensure the data to be used for the original purpose(s).

Privacy and security policies within the IoT network needs to be up to date and clear to users. This is not only in the best interest of the user but also the enterprises offering IoT devices, who avoid lawsuits and complaints by satisfying privacy and security needs through a clear and concise policy framework.  Organizations, who fail to meet needs and demands in an increasingly digitized and technological future, will become outdated and redundant.

With the ethics surrounding IoT, tailor-made solutions are the best way to integrate privacy regulations into companies as well as to the individual citizen. The report proposes a way to allow users to take control of their own privacy measures. Every user should judge for themselves what type of data should and should not be shared. For this to work, companies need to be transparent in their handling of data and enhance education for users. Especially those who are not as computer affine as the younger generation are required to make well-informed decisions about their privacy settings. An initial advancement in privacy policy framework, SecKit, offers a software program, which allows users to use pre-existing policies or completely customize their own.

 

 

Executive Summary – TOJO

Humanity’s energy needs have set the world on a course toward inevitable collapse, but in our hands lie the power to change our path towards a brighter sustainable future.  Our ever increasing energy needs have depleted our resources and polluted our world with the byproducts of our antiquated energy sources. A change must come, if we hope to preserve our way of life for our children and all the generations to come. But change is newer achieved without opposition and to meet this opposition, new tools must be adopted, and these tools are exactly what the Alien Energy research project has to contribute.

The new forms of energy that seem poised to take over from fossil-fuel are sun, wind and wave. These energy sources, while less energy dense, are endlessly renewable and, almost as importantly, completely natural. Harnessing the natural forces of our world is costly, and demand engineering talent and dedication, but the payoff – endless energy and the reduction of wasteful by-product, most notably CO2 – means the investment in these types of energy should be a given. Unfortunately our prior investments and the tried and true nature of fossil-fuel, lead too many to oppose this transition.

The fossil-fuel based energy-industry is an economic and political juggernaut, meaning that any high level political discussion of the new energy sources cannot happen without the shadow of economic repercussions.  And the repercussions are not only happen on a societal scale, but also on a personal level, since too many political officials rely on industry donation for their reelection funding and may even have personal holdings interfering with their objectivity. Add to that the daunting and expensive task of implementing a new section of energy production and the infrastructure to support it, and the discussion of renewable energy too often end in political gridlock. In summary, change on this scale cannot depend solely on a scientific elite or a politically influential minority; change of this kind must happen bottom up.

Examples of people influencing energy policies (Nuclear power in DK)

How infrastructure starts with societal perception.

Creating societal investment

The importance of emotional connections

The energy walk

Using similar processes in a wider context

Call to action + conclusion

Copenhagen and Data utilization

Generation of data in society is happening at all times through constant use of web pages, mobile phones or other devices connected to the Internet. The data can be everything from pollution stats to how satisfied they are with their doctor. A trend in the private sector is utilizing data in order to tailor advertisement and services to consumers. It is from here the government needs to draw inspiration and look into the technical developments happening. Utilizing data will help generate new jobs and improve the services delivered to the citizens. For an efficient solution, the municipality of Copenhagen needs to develop guidelines for data usage in the public sector.

Citizens constantly produce data in society, in both private and public sector, especially with the increased digitization of public services and usage of gadgets and phones. Utilizing data generated from this in an efficient way will become central to the government if they are to deliver quality services to its citizens. An example of this is the Danish tax authority, SKAT, who knows its citizens through modelling and predictions. This allows for predictions of future behavior and can create knowledge of new kinds of state-citizen relations as the state increasingly relies on computation in its relation to citizens. The reality is however, that most sectors of the government do not utilize the data. The challenge lies in figuring out how to best utilize the data in a way so it adds value to the society. Therefore, there is a need for research on how to optimization data usage in the public sector on a broad scale.

To address this need, Consulting Group X created a bespoke Big Data Methodology that, if done right, will result in guidelines applicable for any given part of the municipality. It will contain information of how to think about data, its importance, and how to utilize it. Another aspect is the transparency; teaching the citizens about how their data will be utilized in order to enhance their experience with the municipality to improve the relationship between citizen and state.

To find the pillars needed to create a more efficient state usage of data, Consulting Group X, between 24.03.2017 and 31.03.2017, have conducted a literature study on the field, consisting of four articles and seven URLs. The study has consisted of reading all of the writings, and then gathering and connecting the most crucial information into the blueprint that make up the guidelines that will guide the different sectors of the Copenhagen municipality. This includes both usage of the data itself and pedagogical principles for passing this knowledge on to the citizens. The guidelines help unravel the opportunities that lie within data utilization.

Consulting Group X’s findings identify several influences on data usage and the urgency for the municipality of Copenhagen to rethink their efforts and strategies towards it. As data is everywhere in today’s society, the methodology suggests covering everything from the digital divide to knowledge production; resulting in useful cross-functional guidelines for the municipality.

Big Data adds another layer to the complexity that is governance. This layer, can if used correctly, help unravel some of the complexities through data mining. By analyzing the data, extracting information and making it understandable, the government can enhance the relations between citizens and state. The questions that need investigation is how the citizens utilize data-services, what data is stored, how the public view these services and the potential opportunities of optimizing these. Further, this raises questions about how to analyze the data in regards to the subjectivity and the ethical side of it. Bigger is not always better, at least not if one cannot make sense of the data.

This usage relates to the constant production of data that is happening in today’s society. The government and its functions need to educate the citizens about how their data-production can affect their daily life. Another perspective is for the government to restructure the laws regarding the utilization of the data of its citizens. These aspects can affect the insurance granted by private companies to the citizens, based on the data they have collected on them. Citizens are losing control over their data once produced. Policies regarding the citizens’ right to control their own data is not in place, and it is therefore urgent that to carry out studies in this regard.

Big companies as Apple and Facebook are currently investing into Denmark to host their data-centers. Therefore, it is a need to conduct studies of the data-laws, the effects hosting the data will have, and the impact it will have on both the digital infrastructure and the social aspect. Having a clear plan and deep understanding of these regulations will help the government optimize this cooperation. Data centers might become a valuable asset for Copenhagen, and the municipality might need their own if the trend of data generation keeps on going.

In this new age technology, it is crucial that governments are following the technical developments happening. Citizens are demanding more tailored experiences and better quality in services from the municipality. Therefore, it is important to spread the knowledge of the potential data utilization can have in order for Copenhagen to better itself. Research on how to make guidelines for better data utilization is important if the municipality of Copenhagen is to deliver the best possible services for its citizens.

How to save the world from IoT

Excutive summary

 

Why we should care about The Internet of Things

Data is now the foundation of many modern business models. Corporations are selling intelligent object for their costumers which are specifically designed for extracting valuable data about their behavior. This phenomenon has been coined the Internet of Things (IoT) and includes products like smart watches, phones, cars and fridges. It is a business practice that has been growing silently without being questioned in terms of its ethical consequences for the users of the intelligent objects. As a consequence; citizens, corporation and politicians are left unaware and paralyzed has to how exactly they are to respond to the internet of things so it fosters prosperity for society as whole.

The aim of Project Virtue-EU is to clearly identify the challenges of IoT and offers solutions to these so it nurtures prosperity for all affected stakeholders

Corporations are using data for betting segmenting, creating innovation and grow their business.

 

IoT describes the incorporation of intelligent objects in citizens daily life, such as smart watches, that can track and store data on their behavior.

 

This virtually invisible practice has been growing the last decade without being questioned in terms of their ethical consequences for citizens. The project VIRT-EU was thus launched to clearly identify the

 

Virt-EU is an project that addresses ethical implications of the Internet of Things (IoT) for EU citizens. IoT describes the incorporation of intelligent objects in citizens daily life, such as smart watches, that can track and store data on their behavior. By reviewing academic papers in the field of IoT, the project identifies three main ethical implication of IoT: (1) lack of personal data privacy (2) lack of data security (3) data being monetized without fair compensation. When addressing these implication the challenge is to balance corporation’s economic growth created by citizen’ data and the citizens data privacy and security. The project therefore argues for a solution that is composed in collaboration with several stakeholders, including corporation, legislators, citizens and the academic community.

The scientific community recommends corporations to adopt an “ethical design” in their products that by design secures the user’s data security and privacy. The aim is to contextualize new technological designs taking into consideration, the ethical, legal, economical and technical aspects of smart objects both addressing users and companies producing them. However, the project argues for legal measures to implement such ethical design if corporation are unwilling to comply. Legislations remains a very effective tool to secure the rights of citizens and can be necessary. The challenge is in this regard is to create awareness of the ethical implications of IoT, so it becomes an agenda among the politicians of EU.

Privacy Law is unprepared

Protecting user’s privacy when using Internet of Thing devices is challenging because of the ease of identifying personal information. Even if the data does not include name, address or other obvious information, it would be relatively easy to re-identify the person. Assuming you are using a smartphone or wearing a health tracking device, someone can easily determine your identity, simply based on the data they retrieve from sensors installed in smart phones or the devices. The reason is straightforward: each of us has a unique characteristic like the  style of walking and where we walk.

Research suggests that anonymization of Internet of Things data is extremely difficult to  achieve, and to re-identify user’s information is far easier than expected. Researchers at MIT recently analyzed data from 1.5 million cell-phone users in Europe over fifteen months. They found that it was relatively easy to extract complete location information about the individual from an anonymized dataset. Due to the fact that advances in computer science makes it possible to attack and identify supposedly ‘anonymized’ databases. Thous making it insufficient to protect privacy with anonymity.

Privacy do not catch the interest of authorities. Corporate counsel, regulators, and legislators have yet to face the reality that Internet of Things user’s private data may all be identifiable. In short, privacy law—both on the books and on the ground ???– is unprepared for the threats created by the Internet of Things. To address this issue, a set of regulation should be prepared.

Some researchers suggest that we should distinguish information of user interacting with Internet of Thing to personal identifiable information and other data that is presumed not to reveal identity. This way, we can clearly identify which data that should be protected by rules, through a radical re-working of current laws and practices.

Conclusions

Overall the perfect solution has not yet been found why it demands more research within all stakeholders ranging from corporations, legislators, citizens and the academic community. One thing stands clear, we need to keep momentum, increase awareness and most importantly make the general public and its contributors care about privacy in relation to IoT. Over time we see an agreement by all shareholders rejoining in using one type of privacy methodology in how we will use and collect data in the future.

Executive Summary – antr

Energy production is a contested field. With Oil and Gas companies defending their fossil sources, which however are devastating the planet, so it is not sustainable. It is imperative for policy makers and environmental activists to convince the public of more sustainable methods of production. Changing the public’s minds is a door-opener in democracies, because ultimately only they can create the pressures necessary for long-term change. This is why we are proposing additional alternative methods of persuading people to rethink energy productions.

Renewable Energy has in recent years become a central part of our all lives. This might surprise, since renewable energy statistically covers only a fraction of the global energy production, with oil, coal and gas still dominating. With man made climate change already in effect, scientists, environmentalists, governments and wide ranges of the public and private in the West alike have come to the conclusion, that something has to be changed. The direction hereby is quite clear: Sustainable, renewable energy is the only alternative. But there is also the political obstacle, in that policy is the only way forward, putting political problems at the core of the issue of change.

Research is predominantly centred in the European Union, the UK and the United States, who constitute major players in researching and testing new technologies, and in educating the public through campaigns. This is also a very competitive market, with many projects running at the same time, start ups appearing and vanish again, ideas pop up, prototypes tested, and sometimes successes achieved, while in some cases those innovations get forgotten.

With actual change depending on the perception of the people, tackling negative associations with renewable energy is part of this endeavour. Researchers face the question of how to redefine the public’s understanding of the infrastructures that support our lives. Renewable energy infrastructures often appear vastly different from conventional energy infrastructures. Wind turbines and solar panels occupy landscapes, sometimes only slightly, while sometimes jarring. However those new infrastructures seem foreign to people’s collective perception. They are ‘alien’ in the sense that they are unfamiliar, new and strange to us. This can lead to misconceptions and negative attitudes, that policy makers have to target.

Examples of how do we sway the public opinion then towards appreciating the importance of considering the role of renewable energy are constantly being developed. Watts and Winthereik employ a new approach: They envisioned the “Energy Walk”, a journey throughout a Danish coastal village accompanied by a walking stick and a set of headphones. One journeys through infrastructure whilst listening to the audio recordings played the equipment explaining ones surroundings and shedding light onto the invisible or alien. This is framed as an aesthetic experience: it asks the participant consider various things they encounter related to energy and infrastructures along the way, and to consider their past, future and alternatives.

On the other hand, neglected projects on the islands of Orkney serves as warning to forgetting existing infrastructure and technology. As Watts writes on her blog, Orkney, an Island-chain at the North east end of Scotland, has in the last couple of years been a hub for research and development of water and wind energy projects alike. While it’s rough, windy and wavy climate supports the creation of energy, sadly Orkneys electricity grid is separate from that of the mainland. This means energy created on the lies stays trapped there.

There is another factor of waste at play here. It is necessary to remember the strides that have been made in renewable energy technologies. Orkney has served as a testing site for smart grid technology research for almost a decade. Despite that, the UK National Infrastructure Commission proposes the development and linking of technologies abroad, that already have been prototyped at Orkney. Instead of consigning “old” technologies to oblivion, it would be more sensible to build on top of them. In order to stay efficient one should not overlook prior investments and successes.

The reason these projects are being neglected again is lacking public awareness. With more consciousness towards these, the UK Government would be reminded to include those. This is one of the reasons, that Watts and others released a poetic book called ‘ebban an’ flowan’, that thematises Orkney and it’s projects.

As demonstrated above, changing public perception of renewable energy, and it’s visible counterparts, the infrastructure is necessary to enable policy changes that favour renewable energy technologies. This usually leads to educational campaigns, and other integrations of ‘renewable energy’ as topic into the everyday life of citizens, but artistic works like exhibitions and books can also do their part, and their effect on the public should not be underestimated.

VIRT-EU project: executive summary

This report provides an overview of the key findings from the VIRT-EU research project (“Values and Ethics in Innovation for Responsible Technology in Europe”). The recently completed project, steered by six academic research institutions, has examined ethical concerns in the design and development of ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) technologies. Tomorrow’s technology is challenging personal data protection regulations currently in place, as they are not designed to protect societies in times of an all surrounding connectivity with IT devices. In order to address emerging issues in the IoT innovation, this research assessed ethical behaviour of IoT producers (innovators, developers, etc). Understanding the production stage in this supply chain has been seen as a promising starting point to guide future IoT innovation towards being more compliant with ethical values in Europe.

IoT technology is rapidly evolving and the number of new products brought to the market is growing exponentially year over year. From mobile phones tracking a user’s location at every step, smart home devices analysing every movement in your own four walls, to wearables such as the Google Glass prototype augmenting reality – the Internet of Things utilizes Big Data to grow touch points around every human behaviour. Yet as this technical evolution is seen as beneficial for more effective and efficient communication and logistics, the continuous interconnectivity between humans and IT artifacts holds risks of breaching data privacy regulations or negatively affecting citizens living together in a society.

Cases as South Korea, currently leading worldwide in IoT technology, show that possibly not far from now smart individuals will live in smart housing complexes in smart cities. With enormous amounts of big data sets around human activity stored in clouds, regulating bodies are facing new challenges. Policymakers have to do the splits between empowering the growth of this new technology but also setting limitations at the very same time. If there will be no effective governance in the evolution of IoT in our society, data privacy is at risk, also in Europe where personal data protection is highly valued.

European policymakers have to build a guiding ecosystem for the development and design of the Internet of Things, otherwise the technological innovation will evolve far off European ethical, societal and cultural values.

In order to solve the root of the problem governance has to be located at the root of the production – in IoT these are innovators and entrepreneurs as well as software and hardware engineers. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is currently assessed as ineffective to cope with those risks, as it is focusing on setting up restrictions on what is allowed and what is not. A reactive action plan can only reduce risks, not solve them.

Overall, a change in perspective of policymakers is needed towards building an ethical design and development framework that steers IoT innovation into a compliant direction with European values. Developers need to be provided with services and tools that encourage their critical self-assessment questioning they are doing the right things, when making decisions about data sets and coding scripts. Guiding IoT producers but also empowering IoT consumers to self-assessment by affective technology governance in Europe is key to consolidate innovation management in an ethical way.