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Christopher

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Christopher

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Charity Environment Search Engines

Ecosia 🌍

What is Ecosia?

Simply put, Ecosia is a search engine that plants trees with its profits.

💻📱 👉 💷💲 👉 🌱🌳

Which Search Engine Does Ecosia Use?

Ecosia is an organisation and search engine in its own right, but its results are powered by Microsoft Bing. Bing itself is carbon neutral and the whole of Microsoft are looking to go green by committing to be carbon negative by 2030.

How Green is Ecosia?

Ecosia recognise the impact the internet has on the environment of our planet. Ecosia runs on renewable energy, meaning your searches aren’t negatively impacting the planet.

“If the internet were a country it would rank #3 in the world in terms of electricity consumption” – Ecosia, 2018

In fact, searching with Ecosia is actually positively impacting the planet, with each search removing CO2 from the atmosphere. How? Because they plant trees with their profits.

As mentioned above, Bing (which powers Ecosia) is carbon neutral, so searching using Ecosia is a win-win from the perspective of your carbon footprint 👣

How Does Ecosia Make Money?

Like Google, Ecosia don’t make money from search results, they make their revenue from the ads that sit alongside the results.

Every time you click on an advert on Ecosia, you contribute to their revenue, which ultimately leads to trees being planted somewhere around the world

Ecosia tree tracker

They have a helpful counter on their search results to show you how many trees you’ve personally contributed towards.

So far they have planted over 100 million trees worldwide, supporting projects in 15 countries.

Why am I Promoting Ecosia?

The reason I wrote this article is because I think Ecosia awesome. They’re an organisation trying really hard to do the right thing and they’re clearly having an impact.

Congrats Ecosia on your success and thank you for what you’re doing for the world 🙏🎉🎊

Ecosia.org 🌍 give it a go 😊

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Technology

Hacker Cultures

EASST

The European Association for the Study of Science and Technology held its annual conference in August, and a veritable feast of information it turned out to be (as is their website).

In particular though I would like to point readers towards a podcast series, based upon a panel held during the conference.

The podcast series is called Hacker Cultures. From the website:

This year, Covid-19 turned most conferences virtual, so to combat Zoom-fatigue, we decided to try another format and turn a conference session into a podcast. This series comes to you from the 2020 joint Society for Social Studies of Science/European Association for the Study of Science and Technology conference, titled “Locating and Timing Matters: Significance and agency of STS in emerging worlds” which took place from August 18th-21st. Among hundreds of panels, papers and sessions, the Hacker Cultures panel rounded up all sorts of researchers who study what it is to be a hacker, and what hacking, programming, tinkering and working with computers is all about. The hosts of this podcast are Paula Bialski, who is an Associate Professor at the University of St. Gallen, and Mace Ojala, a lecturer at the IT University of Copenhagen. On-site recording and production was done by Heights Beats at Hotmilk Records. The theme song is titled “Rocky” by Paula & Karol. Funding for the editing of this podcast comes from the University of St. Gallen.

The episodes are in the style of an interview rather than a lecture, easy to follow and really interesting.

What is on Offer?

Episode 1: Morgan G. Ames – Throwback Culture: The Role of Nostalgia in Hacker Worlds
Episode 2: Minna Saariketo & Mareike Gloss – In the grey zone of hacking? Two cases in the political economy of software and the Right to Repair
 Episode 3: Annika Richterich – Forget about the learning: On (digital) creativity and expertise in hacker-/makerspaces
 Episode 4: Alex Dean Cybulski – Hacker Culture Is Everything You Don’t Get Paid For In the Information Security Industry
 Episode 5: Jeremy Grosman – Algorithmic Objects, Algorithmic Practices
 Episode 6: Stephane Couture – Hacker Culture and Practices in the Development of Internet Protocols
 Episode 7: Ola Michalec – Hacking infrastructures: understanding capabilities of Operational Technology (OT) security workers
 Episode 8: Sylvain Besencon – Securing by hacking: maintenance regimes around an end-to-end encryption standard
 Episode 9: R. Stuart Geiger & Dorothy Howard – ‘I didn’t sign up for this’: The Invisible Work of Maintaining Free/Open-Source Software Communities

Really entertaining, informative and featuring lots of well known experts, 15 to 20 minutes each, well worth a browse.

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Technology

The Past, 20/20 and FUTURE of ICT Standardisation 2 – 3 September 2020

The Future of ICT Standardization

If you are free this week, why not register for the Standards and Innovation in Information Technology Conference? The event is online, takes place on 2 and 3 September, and is free!

The conference is made up of six online panel discussions on important current topics, featuring lots of well-known experts. Issues addressed will include (but not be limited to) the role of ICT standardization in combatting Covid-19, the question of whether Standardization can help ensure fair competition with the tech giants, global trade and digital trade barriers, Big Data, AI and inclusivity.

This is a conference of the highest level, so it should be extremely informative and provide good debate.

Registration is available here.

Overview of the Panels and Presenters:The Role of ICT Standardisation in Combatting Covid-19


Time and Date: 2 September 2020, 15.30 – 16.30 CEST, 6.30am – 7.30am US PDT
Organiser: Jochen Friedrich, IBM, DE
Panellists:
Emilio Davila Gonzalez, European Commission, BE
Edgar Guillot, Orange (Chair, ETSI E4P project), FR
Jenny Wanger, Linux Foundation, US
Zhou Ping, CESI, CN
Experience panel:
Frank Karlitschek, NextCloud, DE
Alexandre Zapolsky, Linagora, FR

The Future of Intellectual Property and Standards — What Do the Data Tell Us?
Time and Date: 2 September 2020, 17.00 – 18.30 CEST, 8.00am – 9.30am US PDT
Organiser: Jorge Contreras, U. of Utah, US
Panellists:
Justus Baron, Northwestern U., US
Rudi Bekkers, TU Eindhoven, NL
Tim Pohlmann, IPlytics, DE
Tim Simcoe, Boston U., US
Tom Cotter, U. of Minnesota, US

Can API Standardisation Ensure Fair Competition with the Tech Giants?
Time and Date: 2 September 2020, 19.00 – 20.30 CEST, 10.00am – 11.30am US PDT.
Organiser: Ken Krechmer, Isology, US
Panellists:
Joe Decuir, University of Washington, US
Kalle Lyytinen, CWR U., US
David Reed, U. Colorado Boulder, US
Jill Van Matre Dupré, U. Colorado Boulder, US

Standards and Global Trade: TBT vs. Digital Trade Barriers?
Time and Date: 3 September 2020, 15.00 – 16.15 CEST 6.00am – 7.15am US PDT.
Organiser: Donggeun Choi, KSA, KR
Panellists:
Gloria Pasadilla, Leadership Design Studio Pte Ltd., SG
Joshua Paul Meltzer, Brookings Institution, USA
Heejin Lee, Yonsei U., KR
Devin McDaniels, WTO, CH

Big Data and AI Standards as Contributors to UN SDGs
Time and Date: 3 September 2020, 16.30 – 17.30 CEST, 7.30am – 8.30am US PDT (pending confirmation).
Organiser: Ray Walshe, DCU, IE
Panellists:
Ray Walshe – Dublin City University, IE
Paul Foran – Huawei Ireland Research Center, IE
Satyam Priyadarshy, Halliburton, US
Tomas Malik, UNECE, CH (tbc)

Re-designing Standardisation for Inclusivity
Time and Date: 3 September 2020, 18.00 – 19.30 CEST 9.00am – 10.30am US PDT.
Organiser: Carl Cargill, US
Panellists:
Wendy Seltzer, W3C, US
Linda Garcia, Georgetown U., US
Michael Spring, U. Pittsburgh, US

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Series Technology

Part 10, The End of the Book Series

I hope you enjoyed the series and the book. My thanks and congratulations go to everyone who followed. I would be pleased to hear about your experiences through the comments section below.

In this final post I hope to draw the final message of the book together.

Aim of the Book and Series

As noted in the introduction to the book, its aim was to open a discussion that sees narration and aesthetics as central to daily decision-making practices in small scale production processes, be those artisanal working or scientific working situations.

The idea is that people working in such environments learn not only the technicalities of their work, but also co-construct the narrative through which decisions are made and possibilities are granted or excluded. This could be described as the narrative of doing things right, a concept that is constructed within the place of work through daily work talk. It is negotiated and fluid, refers to a shared understanding of a narrative framework and is recognized and codified through the appreciation of the values seen in the product. The narrative allows the framing of the decision-making process and the sharing of a language that allows thos working in the process to talk about it and share their appreciation.

In the case of craftwork, the shared understanding can be seen as expressed through an appreciation of the functional beauty of the work. Each object has its own functional beauty, defined by different criteria and affected by the amount of resources available, objectives and resources, meaning that the appreciation of beauty cannot be transferred from one to another without modification. No two processes are the same, as resources are different, meaning that the construction of their appreciation must also be different, even if the framework through which it is drawn in terms of the narrative is similar.

I call this a form of poiesis intensive production, this shared understanding of aesthetics is a driving force within the decision-making process, as its appreciation leads to the construction of networks of both colleagues and suppliers of materials, technology and tools, ideas and information, that are necessary for the production process.

To summarize; ideas of responsibility, narrative and the aim of the process may be related, I would say intertwined, and talked about in everyday chat at work.

Although in the science lab the language may be different, precision is discussed more than beauty, there are similarities in that precision is functional precision, as beauty is functional beauty. Functional precision relates to purpose and function. It is one facet of a functional goal, very much as beauty is for the upholsterer.

Overview of the Book

The book is divided into seven self-standing chapters, each representing a narrative from a particular perspective. It can be broadly seen as divided into two larger sections. The first section offers a representation of the current state of the art in RI research. Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4 are all related to this construction, narrating the development of the concept of RI from different perspectives. The construction of this broader narrative (my own RI narrative) leads to the second section, based upon an argument (outlined above) that sees the sharing of a concept of functional beauty in terms of its position within a workplace narrative and its relevance to decision-making processes.

The second section is split into three chapters, the first offering an overview of methodology and argument, followed by two case studies. The first case study involves a furniture restorer in South Manchester (UK) and the second a surgeon developing 3D bio-printing techniques in Utrecht (NL).

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Series Technology

Part 9, Case Study 2, The Scientist’s Narrative

Chapter 7 of the book is dedicated to Prof. Jos Malda, a world leading biotechnologist based in the Netherlands.

The Laboratory

Prof. Jos Malda heads a research group that focuses on biofabrication and biomaterials design, in particular for the regeneration of (osteo) chondral defects. The team is investigating regenerative means for repairing damaged joints in humans and animals, with particular interest in the knee. The team works alongside and within both the medical and veterinary facilities at Utrecht University, studying wear on both animal and human joints and have designed and built a production facility that allows for the 3D printing of living cells to make live repair implants that can be surgically implanted.

The chapter recounts the work from Malda’s perspective. He has long been involved with responsible innovation and its practices, and trains all of his team in ethics.

The chapter takes the model and issues addressed in the furniture restoration workshop and compares them to the laboratory and the narrative that Malda offers through recorded interviews.

The use of tools and the layout of the laboratory is compared, with the use of skilled visions and similarities in problem solving techniques also highlighted. The comparative shows how research in the lab can be seen as following similar lines of development to those in the workshop. The use of different generations of tools, based on a nuanced understanding of their capabilities and possibilities, the practice of building tools for specific uses, the application of techniques from other fields in problem solving and the view of the finished product within its lifespan (an implant seen not as a finished product but as something has to grow and survive wear, very much as the restorer sees the choice of materials and techniques used in the workshop).

Malda’s own Words

The second half of the chapter (like those previous) offers an interview transcription with Prof. Malda himself. He describes the reaction to his laboratory producing a 3D printed skull that was fitted to a young woman, delving into the problem of expectations for future medical treatment, the printing of organs and the thin line between repair and enhancement.

Malda narrates the network capacity necessary for such work, reflecting the furniture restoration experience from the previous chapter, the value of teamwork (ditto) his visions and aims and financial value of his work for the university. He describes his push towards standardization which leads him on to EU funding and finally protocols, which leads us to the very point of the book and this series: Some are international but others are internally created within the project!

This brings us back to the conversation with the furniture restorer. The protocols that are created within Malda’s project reflect the philosophies and goals and aims and personal beliefs of the team. Just as the restorer carries out unseen work, reflecting the workshop philosophy (workshop protocol), the scientists also share an understanding, and it is one which they themselves create. Both teamleaders are striving for the right way of proceeding, within their own set of beliefs that is constructed through their networks. They are both using a set of tools, many of which they have constructed themselves, and they both see their work within a broader and longer term view.

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Series Technology

Part 8, Case Study 1: Furniture Restoration

Chapter 6 of the book Responsible innovation, A Narrative Approach is dedicated to fieldwork carried out in Manchester UK with a furniture restorer. This is a descriptive chapter, based on recorded conversations that took place in a workshop I used to work in myself. The question that the whole book tries to raise is about why certain people choose to work in particular ways, while others do it differently. This is fundamental for the question of responsibility.

The Restorer’s Narrative

The use of the word ‘narrative’ in the book title relates to how people narrate their working practices and how they make their decisions and choices, this chapter presenting the first of two extended narratives. The second comes from a scientist, with my personal question asking how closely the narratives of a furniture restorer match that of a scientist, the first carrying out high quality restoration work and the second biotechnology experiments.

Both chapters contain photos, as one aspect that appears similar is the layout of the workspace and how this both reflects and enables particular forms of working practices. The restoration workshop is compared to other workshops in the area, and as I am a furniture restorer myself, I draw conclusions based upon the relationship between tidiness and quality (I have 17 years’ experience in the trade).

The chapter contains an explanation of tacit knowledge acquisition (as discussed in part 7 of this series) within a setting that I know well, before the question that forms the central pivot of the book as it is applied to working practices; what matters to people and why? Ideas such as ‘for the good of all parties involved’ come up, as does the concept of skilled vision from chapter 5.

The skilled vision of the restorers allows them to share and talk about the workmanship and choices made during the restoration process using beauty as a measurement. A piece can only be beautiful if it has been done technically correctly, with flair and style, no corners cut, and with all of the decisions taken during the process in mind.

Only if the right questions were asked and the right decisions made, the work done well and the end product of high quality and fitting for the house that it will live in, can it be beautiful.

If any of the above is not right, it is not beautiful. Aesthetics as a measurement of correctness and quality, but also morality (no corners were cut, even though the customer will not and cannot know that).

The Recordings

The second half of this chapter consists of the transcription and analysis of several hours of recorded conversation between the furniture restorers and myself. They are discussions rather than interviews, wide-ranging and based upon shared understandings and shared knowledge. Topics covered include:

  • The relationship between the community and a small business
  • Aims, goals and company policy
  • Work as an art form
  • Investing unseen time
  • Using the ‘correct’ methods (doing it right)
  • The importance of style
  • Customer relations
  • The importance of being able to share your reasoning with others
  • The importance of having learned the work through an apprenticeship (situated learning, tacit understandings and knowledge)

Although all of this might seem far from technology and innovation, it is not really. All of the above relates to decision-making at work, driven by values rather than rules. In cutting-edge scientific research and innovation settings we find similar situations occuring, in this case driven by the fact that the rules have not been made yet. The process is driven by the values of the researchers, they strive for a goal that is much bigger than just a result and within a framework that is constantly being constructed in the workplace.

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Series Technology

Part 7, Poiesis-intensive Innovation

Poiesis-intensive Innovation

The concept of poiesis-intensive innovation has been developed by Piero Bassetti, President of the Bassetti Foundation, over the last decade. It is central to the book, as it brings responsibility within innovation into the workplace. The short chapter in the book explains its importance as an analytic framework that can be used when looking at processes constructed at work.

We can think of poiesis as the addressing of ethical and aesthetic issues combined via a production process. This is an idea that comes from Plato, and we can see it as related to the modern world of the maker: the making addresses every aspect of being, so not merely producing something but making something in a way as if it grows out of both knowledge and skills, but also philosophies, beliefs and aims.

This form of innovation is driven by soft forms of knowledge such as design, function, organizational patterns, aesthetics and worldviews, and is often associated with small worplaces such as workshops and small-scale laboratories.

It relies on the situated learning of tacit knowledge.

The Role of Tacit Knowledge

We can see tacit knowledge as knowledge that cannot be explained, but is either shown or seen, learned through the experience of working in a particular setting. If we think of an apprenticeship or someone who goes to work in a small research group we can imagine that they learn how to proceed through the experience of being in the situation, things are not necessarily explained but are experienced.

It’s not just technical skills that we are interested in here though. The junior member of the group also learns why things are done in this way, the reasoning behind everyday choices and decisions and also aims and goals. They learn through being a member of a community of practice, with this learning experienced and understood through the practices lived.

If we think a little broader, we can apply this idea to research settings and to many situations where innovation is carried out. If the learning mechanism described here can be applied to these settings, we might be able to find something that we might call poiesis-intensive innovation; an innovation process driven through shared understanding of the goals, aims and ways to proceed, through the application of a broad range of skills held by those involved.

From here we can make a leap to thinking about poiesis-intensive responsible innovation, an innovation form that reflects the various models of responsible innovation that we have seen so far in this series, but is not based on following a set of rules. It grows out of the working practices and beliefs held in the workplace.

This communication (within the workplace) requires a language and a mechanism for appreciating and communicating actions taken. In the book I use the concept of ‘skilled visions’ to describe one possibility. A skilled vision is shared by those in the workplace, it is the learned ability to see the choices made during the process in the product but also within the process. It is vision based, fellow workers see the process and the decisions made during the process and understand how they were made and more importantly why.

Why was a particular material used? Why was it sourced from here and not there? Why was a particular standpoint on privacy taken? Each individual working in the process sees what happens and can interpret developments within the (understood through practice but not explained) aims of that particular project.

Case Studies

Chapter 5 in the book also contains two short case studies, Roadrunner Engineering and Officina Corpuscoli.

Roadrunner Engineering produces bespoke prosthetic legs and feet, using an interesting mix of high technology, personal experience and old-school mechanics and engineering skills. Their approach is personalized, but at the same time pushes research in the field to the limit. They publish the findings of their research online, open-access, and operate within a philosophy that we might imagine is driven by the aim of making life better for users of their products.

Officina Corpuscoli works within the field of synthetic biology, synthesizing fungus that are used to produce a host of different materials for both industrial, artistic but also educational use. Reflecting the responsible innovation approach, projects include trying to produce materials that will be able to degrade plastic in order to turn it into an energy source, provoking public debate around synthetic biology and environmental issues, and replacing plastics wherever possible.

All the links for further exploration are in the book.

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Series Technology

Part 6, What do European Union Funded Projects look like?

SMART-Map

To link part 5 and part 6 of this series together, today we will take a look at two responsible innovation projects that were funded by the European Union (part 4) and have an Italian connection (part 5). Both projects were funded under the Horizon 2020 call, (2013 – 2020), while the book chapter offers descriptions of projects funded and completed in the previous (FP7) calls (from p.70). These newer projects build upon the experiences and results of those that went before.

See my previous post here for an overview of the EU vision on research and innovation.

SMART-Map

SMART-map (RoadMAPs to Societal Mobilisation for the Advancement of Responsible Industrial Technologies) was financed by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Programme.

From the website we learn that its goal was to define and implement concrete roadmaps for the responsible development of technologies and services in three key game-changing fields: precision medicine, synthetic biology and 3D printing in biomedicine.

Synthetic biology is an emerging science that could be extensively employed in industries. Some governments are already pushing for its employability but these new technologies bring about controversial impacts that could influence or violate existing normative values.

Precision medicinehas been growing in the last few years and is still expected to grow extensively. It allows people to map their genome not only to understand their genetic history but also to infer their disease risk profile. This is attractive to citizens as well as to industries that are hence investing always more in this field.

3D printing consists in producing 3D objects by superimposing layers of chosen materials. It is thought by some to be a revolution in the manufacturing industry because the objects resulting from 3D printing can meet the customers’ needs accurately. 3D printing has been also being employed in the biomedical field but it is already facing tremendous societal challenges.

The project aimed to develop a new format for open and collaborative dialogues between industry and societal actors (Industrial Dialogues) allowing the co-design of a tool (a SMART Map) that could help companies to address the questions of social and environmental responsibility they face in their innovation processes. The project tested these SMART Maps in actual industrial settings, ensuring that innovators can use them easily within their existing

The project produced industrial dialogue and materials alongside an E-book, a series of recommendations and the final road-maps. As with all projects all of these materials are made freely available to potential users.

ROSIE

The ROSIE project aimed to improve skills among entrepreneurs and innovation actors to promote responsible innovation in companies based in Central European countries where a lack knowledge, skills and policy frameworks to encourage responsible innovation may slow its developments. In order to address these issues the project developed and tested tools and training methods whose aim was to improve capacity to implement innovation responsibly.

This project grouped together various public administration and governance bodies with Chambers of Commerce and commercial and not for profit organizations from Crotatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Germany and Italy.

The project has a workbox website that includes introductory videos to responsible innovation, self-assessment tools, implementation plan and toolkit, consultancy and training materials. The workbox website also contains a series of training videos that address such issues as the setting up and running of a living lab and how the STIR methodology can be used to raise awareness and promote change in business.

The video I made that you can watch in part 2 of this series was produced for this project with the Bassetti Foundation playing roles in both.