I am an engineer and a social scientist. After several years of working in the implementation of internet infrastructure, I turned to the fields of science and technology policy and social studies of technology. Currently, I investigate the involvement of users in the construction of decentralised data infrastructures drawing on studies of infrastructure and a combination of online and 'offline' methods. From 2017 to 2019, I was a member of the Ethics and Governance Action Group at the University of Edinburgh’s Internet of Things initiative. My research interests include responsible research and innovation, ethics of information and communication technologies, internet and society, digital platforms and data infrastructures.
(2016-2020) PhD. Science and Technology Studies, University of Edinburgh
(2015-2016) MSc. (by research) Science and Technology Studies, University of Edinburgh
(2012-2013) MSc. Technology and Innovation Management, University of Queensland
(2004-2005) Eng. Electronics and Telecommunications, Escuela Politécnica Nacional
Awards and Funding
NTNU Center for Technology and Society, Visiting Research Grant 2020 (postponed due to Covid19)
Visiting Research Fellow at the Weizenbaum Institut, Research group 6: Responsibility in the Internet of Things
Senescyt Excellence Universities Scholarship 2015-2019
Previous professional Experience
Jun 2015 – Sep 2015: Director of Technology Transfer
Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Quito – Ecuador
- Managed a team of 6 analysts and 1 post-doc
- Drafted technology transfer and innovation policy
- Fostering industry-academia links in the oil and petrochemical industry
- Produced and socialised the national science, technology and innovation indicator
- Launched a program for incubation and acceleration of innovative projects
Oct 2013 – May 2015: Research and Development Specialist
Yachay City of Knowledge, Urcuquí - Ecuador
- Implementation of the new technology licensing and commercialisation office
- Design of R&D and intellectual property processes and policies
- Implementation of a Fablab and Medialab
- Design of start-up and entrepreneurship programs
Oct 2009 – Feb 2012: Senior Engineer
Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Quito – Ecuador
- Network Engineering and equipment commissioning within the Optical Networks product line
- Team leader for medium and large-scale network implementation projects for carriers, including the national broadband network
- Project planning and implementation for transmission networks
Social Shaping of Internet and Society Internet Studies Internet of Things Users Innovation Studies Ethics and Governance of IoT Responsibility Responsible Innovation Platform Society
Weizenbaum Institut, Research Group 6: Responsibility and the Internet of Things
Research project: Mapping the IoT Scene in Berlin. Gathering perspectives from politics, education, community involvement, industry and academia.
Ethics and Governance Action Group at the University of Edinburgh's IoT initiative
Project: Research and drafting of principles and procedures for the use of the University's IoT infrastructure. http://iot.ed.ac.uk/governance-and-ethics-action-group/
Qualitative research on "Sensing Infrastructures" for CANDID (Checking Assumptions aND promoting responsibility in smart Development), a EU2020 project exploring the future of smart technologies from an interdisciplinary perspective. https://candid.w.uib.no/
2019/2020 University of Edinburgh
Tutor in Design Informatics Projects
Tutor in Internet, Society and Economy
Prof. Robin Williams
Dr. James Stewart
Emerging low-power wireless networks are being used for a range of data collection systems such as asset tracking, environmental monitoring, smart agriculture and smart city facilities. The relatively low costs of hardware components, modular network architectures and open standards are allowing a diversity of new actors (including users, independent developers, citizen science groups and researchers) to engage with the construction of ‘internet of things’ (IoT) networks and applications. Various branches of research within management studies, critical theory, design theory, feminism and science and technology studies (STS) have explored collaborative modes of technology development among heterogeneous groups of actors and addressed questions of how and why users become involved in technology development. There is however scant empirical and theoretical work on the involvement of ‘users’ and other non-conventional actors in contemporary data-oriented infrastructures such as the IoT. Conjointly, most policy roadmaps concerning the rise of pervasive data networks rely primarily on industry-oriented analyses and quantitative forecasts and hence remain blind to the involvement of non-corporate actors in the shaping of technological futures. Building on an STS-inflected framework, this thesis contributes to bridging this gap with a micro-level enquiry into collaborative work practices in the realm of the IoT
This thesis explores the case of The Things Network, an initiative to build low-power wireless networks in a decentralised fashion with a strong reliance on geographically dispersed contributors. The initiative is far removed from traditional top-down infrastructure implementation strategies and faces a range of ambivalences related to organisation, growth and sustainability. The study is concerned with the questions of what types of work, social organisations and artefacts are subsumed in the initiative? why/how contributors organise and operate local networks? whether and how control is exerted by the project owners? and how the uneven actions of users and other non-conventional actors are implicated in the generation of technical improvements and outcomes? The methodology comprised a multi-site ethnographic exploration over two and a half years with the practitioners who contributed variously to the construction of data networks and the development of IoT solutions within the initiative.
An ecological analysis is developed, drawing on theories and concepts from infrastructure studies and the social shaping of technology framework. The evolution of the initiative is traced throughout the stages of inception, early scaling up and global expansion. Through conceptualising low-power networks as ‘data infrastructure’, the analysis foregrounds the challenges and dilemmas associated with scaling up in the context of decentralisation. The concept of ‘distributed infrastructuring’ is proposed as a means to capture the orchestration of the piecemeal work of disparate and dispersed actors operating autonomously with a common network architecture. Finally, a genealogy of users and a sociotechnical map of complementary spheres of action is schematised. The findings suggest that this mode of infrastructuring is symptomatic of an industry trend towards an increasing fragmentation and distribution of professional development activities among a range of actors. We conclude that policy and practice would benefit from a nuanced recognition of the diversity of contributions, positionalities and preferences in the broad landscape of IoT.
Domínguez, A., Klein, E., Raab, C., Stewart, J. "Ethical and Responsible Internet of Things: The Edinburgh Initiative" 1, 24. submitted for review at European Journal of Law and Technology.
Silvast, Antti, Robin Williams, Charles Raab, Andrey Elizondo, Andres Dominguez, Kjetil Rommerveit, Alessia Tanas, and Niels van Dijk. 2017. “Promoting Responsible Designs and Users in Smart Grid Projects” Deliverable D2.2, no. CANDID Scientific Publication (November). https://candid.w.uib.no/files/2017/12/D2.2.pdf
09/05/2019 - “Distributed infrastructuring in IoT”, 2019 STIS/ISSTI PhD Days at St Cecilia’s Hall - Concert Hall, Edinburgh.
20/02/2019 - “Ethics and privacy in IoT design”, invited talk to the IoT Hackathon part of the Festival of Creative Learning week 2019 at the University of Edinburgh
08/02/2019 - “Civic sensing infrastructures”, invited lecture at the seminar Designing and regulating the internet of things, part of the Controversies in the Data Society seminar series, organised by the Edinburgh Futures Institute
26/07/2018 - “Data infrastructures for all: the case of community networks and the DIY IoT Scene” EASST 18 Panel A28 Socio-technical encounters in the city: Urban spaces, data infrastructures and new modes of civic engagement.
15/06/2018 - “The DIY Internet of Things Scene”. Technoscience from Below. Track 19: Media and networks from below: amateurs, users, and marginal groups.