From Smart Homes To Smart Cities: Ethics And Decision-Making Behind Technological ‘Smartness’

We are excited to publish the latest article interviewing one of workshop trainers for Youth Global Forum in Dubai, Dr. Delfina Fantini van Ditmar. Dr. Fantini will be travelling all the way from Santiago, Chile to share her knowledge and inspire participants at the event. Dr. Delfina Fantini completed her PhD at the Royal College of Art in Innovation Design Engineering. Her work investigates how complex, lived, human experience is represented within the quantified approaches inherent in current notions of ‘smart’ technology.

Her research questions and critically analyses the above quantitative approach which is starting to permeate into our bodies and the central infrastructure of our homes and cities.

Dr. Fantini will be hosting a workshop entitled, The Importance of Ethics in the Process of Digitilization of Life”.

This pre-event interview aims to provide Youth Global Forum participants with added insight and understanding as to what they can expect from the workshop, in addition to learning how to best prepare for the event.

Dr. Fantini, we are very pleased to welcome you to the Youth Global Forum in Dubai in just a few short weeks. Would you share with us a short introduction about yourself?

I have a BA in biology, during my scientific studies my main interest was the complexity of human mind. During my PhD at the Royal College of Art in London through my design practice-based thesis I investigated the socio-political issues of the digitalization of life. My work critically analyses the above quantitative approach which is starting to permeate into our bodies and the central infrastructure of our homes and cities. My research focuses in questioning how algorithms model the environment and represent human beings through data.

What excites you most about the Youth Global Forum and how does the mission of the event align with your own interests and values?

I am very interested in engaging with the new generation, specifically in regards to the digitalization of life. Through the workshop I am interested in contributing generating a platform to discuss and reflect about an ethical approach towards the algorithmic age.

Please share with us a brief description on what your workshop entitled “The Importance of Ethics in the Process of Digitilization of Life” is going to be about.

The workshop will be focused in questioning and analyzing ‘smart’ technology once it is embedded in our surrounding. The workshop will be based in the context of the ‘smart’ home by using the figure of the ‘SMART’ fridge. Through a real-time ‘SMART’ fridge-user simulated interaction we will analyze possible issues and socio-political implications of embracing human complexity and subjectivity through algorithmic processes.

What lessons will participants be able to take with them after attending your workshop and how can they apply them in the future?

After a short introduction in which we will analyze technological ‘SMARTNESS’, the participants will gain knowledge of smart cities, the smart home and the quantifying self. Through the interaction with the ‘SMART’ world the audience will be able to reflect upon the ethics and decision-making behind technological ‘smartness’. It is expected that through the workshop the participants will develop a critical understanding of technological ‘smart’ interactions and envision the main challenges of the digitalization of life.

Do you have any tips or advice to offer participants who intend to attend your workshop at the Youth Global Forum?

Start reflecting on the ‘SMART’ world that they are living today and think of the repercussions and challenges of the digitalization of life in the coming years.

Do you have any other points to make about the Youth Global Forum, your workshop or advice to participants?

Start asking which are the main benefits and the main issues of Internet of Things technology.

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