Open Space Technology
In an email Paul sent me after he attended the World Summit on the Information Society, he mentioned the InDIITA workshop organized by IEEE in Bengaluru. InDIITA stands for Dignity, Inclusion, Identity, Trust and Agency. Since I am working near Bengaluru, immediately I took the chance to attend the workshop. The location of the workshop was in the beautiful Ramanujam building within the IIIT-B Campus. For setting the two days agenda, the Open Space Technology concept was used, which was totally new to me, and to be honest, I could not imagine how such a workshop would be like. Before beginning each day, the agenda was dynamically set by the participants themself. Topics and talks were proposed and put into time slots spread throughout the day. Afterward, participants could freely move between sessions. I really liked the four principles
- Whoever comes are the right people
- Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
- Whenever it starts is the right time
- Whenever it’s over, it’s over
and the law of Open Space Technology
- The law of two feet/motion & responsibility - If you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, respectfully get up and go somewhere that you will be!
To be honest, I was a little bit nervous at the beginning. Thoughts like “What if there are only a few participants and everyone comes up with a really nice session except for me?”, “Everyone is rooted in the Indian tech scene, except for me, hopefully, I can connect with people.”, or “Are during the workshop also that many cultural events like candle lighting or dance performances?”.
A colleague and good friend at the college where I am volunteering told me before I headed to Bengaluru that I should have no expectations and just go with whatever comes to benefit the most from the workshop end enjoy every moment. It is hard to adapt that kind of thinking anyways, but yea, she was totally right, and it also aligned pretty well with the four principles and the one law of Open Space Technology.
The sessions were an interesting mixture of topics about various technical and social aspects. Since participants came up with really interesting topics, it was really sad that I could not attend all of them.
- Blockchain and Web 3.0 - Intro to Metaverse
- Multi Party Privacy
- Interested in Standards in the area of Security in Biometrics
- Intrusion Detection System
- Algorithmic Bias/Industrial AI
- Introduction to Foundation ID
- Fairness in Platform Labour
- Privacy and AI
- Identity v/s Privacy
The first day started with a really interesting session and also a discussion about Blockchain and Web 3.0. The team from Lumos Labs did a great job in introducing Blockchain, how Blockchain works, NFTs, and Web 3.0 to a mixed audience of people who already know and also people who are totally new to those topics. They are really passionate about Web 3.0 and also about educating and spreading knowledge about that important topic. In a distributed future, Blockchain indeed plays its role, but is not every time the solution of any use case and/or problem. There are also other concepts, not only but also the Fediverse, that should also be taken into consideration when building some decentralized applications to solve a specific problem. Another interesting tool for building distributed applications is the Distributed Application Runtime (Dapr). There is a really great talk from Rodrigo Díaz Concha about Dapr and .NET at the NDC Porto 2022.
Beckn is an open protocol that allows local businesses across any industry to be discovered and engaged by any beckn-enabled application.
Another interesting session on day 1 was “Fairness in Platform Labor”. Please do not mistake me - all sessions were really interesting. The team from Fairwork introduced the project’s goal, principles, how companies get rated, and some ratings of platform work companies that make business in India.
Our goal is to show that better, and fairer jobs are possible in the platform economy.
(The Fairwork project)
The rating or scoring is based on the five principles fair pay, fair conditions, fair contracts, fair management, and fair representation. Points for the fulfillment of the next principles will be only given if the previous principles are fulfilled (e.g. if fair pay is not fulfilled, then there cannot be any points for the next principles like fair conditions, fair contracts, …). In India the most common mobility-as-a-service providers (e.g. Uber, Ola) score 0 points in the ratings of 2021 in India. If you are interested, there are also ratings for companies in Austria in 2022.
The gig economy is growing fast, but workers on these platforms often experience low pay, poor conditions, and a lack of job security.
(The Fairwork project)
If you are interested in supporting the work of Fairwork, check out (or even join) the pledge on their website.
- Build your first decentralized application
- Biometric Device Identity
- Identity in IoT
- Cost of Privacy
- IEEE P2989 Authentication in a multi-server environment/Privacy Preserving Machine learning
- Technologies for Transparency in Governance
- Agriculture - The Good, Bad, Ugly of the Technology
- No Laptop, No Problem - Utilize Smartphones to bring software development to everyone
At the beginning of the second day, it looked like we have to finish the day early because only a few people showed up at the start time. But this was only caused to the mixture of the rain together with the heavy traffic in Bengaluru on that day. So after a while, people came and at the end of the day, we even struggled to finish all sessions on time.
Again, the team of Lumos Labs held a nice interactive workshop on how to deploy a smart contract using Ethereum. We used Solidity for creating the smart contract and used a bootstrapped project from the Scaffold-ETH GitHub repo.
Afterward, there was a really interesting introduction to a new standard P2989 for authentication in a multi-server environment, that is currently in work. The working group is still being formed, and there will be a kick-off meeting this July in 2022.
I also got the chance to speak a little bit about what I am currently doing at a rural college in Andhra Pradesh and to show some insights and experiences I collected so far. On this day I also got a second gift. Some really tasty chocolate that looked like Ferrero Rocher, but it was an Indian brand called Only Chocolate.
Overall, it was a really nice experience and I enjoyed the company for two days of so many passionate people who want to use technology to improve peoples lives and help society a lot. It really motivates me to continue finding solutions and exploring new things on how to include as much people as possible in the education of Software Development. All sessions were really interesting and also interactive. A lot of discussions happened during the sessions and also during breaks. I also got many new connections and someone shared an interesting platform provided by the Indian government about knowledge sharing, that I will definitely check out more. The platform is called Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing.
A huge thanks to the organizing team and the awesome participants who, together, created such an awesome and memorizable workshop. I am already looking forward to the next awesome event. Hopefully it will be also based on the Open Space Technology! Of course, I will keep you posted.