Ethical tools and living together with difference

Annelie Berner, VIRT-EU’s principal investigator at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID), has been working on digital prototypes part of VIRT-EU ethical toolset. This collection of tools is intended to help designers of IoT products and services to reflect throughout their design process. Her work has been a collaborative endeavor combining findings from different consortium members, which inform the tools with technical, ethnographic, and legal findings. To know more about this work, we visited Annelie while she was testing one of the tools for VIRT-EU’s Design Challenge.

Only three minutes’ walk from Amalienborg Palace, we found CIID. Annelie met us in the second floor and took us to a room where she had collected all her working materials including some of her favourite books about ethical design. Once we turned on the camera and audio recorder, we asked Annelie to introduce herself and to walk us – and our viewers – through the tool she was working on in collaboration with her team and other members part of the VIRT-EU consortium.

While we were recording the interview, a construction site next door produced hammering sounds, managing to reach us. Regardless of the background noise, we had a great meeting with Annelie and got to know more about the tool that CIID was testing in collaboration with the participants of VIRT-EU’s Design Challenge.

The Design Challenge
In order to address the Challenge’s brief, organizers of this competition have tried to highlight how to better address living with difference through the design of IoT.

In Annelie’s own words: “We are interested in living with difference in the connected home, so if you have for example just a multigenerational family living together in a home, what kind of connected devices could help facilitate the experience of sharing that home together?”.

The organizers of VIRT-EU’s Design Challenge wanted to remain neutral when inviting people to participate and pitch their ideas. Once participants had been selected in the first round, organizers sent participants the ethical tool that aimed at bringing up questions and ethical reflections to the ideas and works that contestants were building for the final round. The intention was to challenge each participant in considering their values and processes from an ethical perspective.

This week at ORGcon 2019 selected participants will be able to share their experiences working with the tool and meet representatives from the jury and the VIRT-EU consortium. Surely this meeting will bring up interesting conversations about the use of ethical tools in the process of designing IoT products and services.