actor network theory

The Human Agency Driverless Cars Must Preserve

ELIOT SALANDY BROWN ReD Associates KATY OSBORN ReD Associates In 2016, we set out to understand the future of driverless mobility—and specifically, how a mobility company can build products and services that will optimize the relationships between people and advanced assistive systems in an increasingly automated future. This case study will shed light on how an ethnographic approach inspired by actor-network theory allowed us to look closely at human-system interactions, build a unique perspective on the forms of agency people value most, and understand how mobility companies can harness this understanding to build automated systems that strengthen their relationships with consumers. Drawing from the core tenets of actor-network theory, our research placed an emphasis not on individuals or even broader social ecologies—but rather, shifting networks of relationships between humans, objects, ideas, and processes. We divided our resources between two research tracks: i) human mobility, studying the complex network of relationships...

Following the Invisible Road Rules In The Field: Using ANT For CTF

AMITY LATHAM Federation University Australia JOHN MCDONALD Federation University Australia KEIR REEVES Federation University Australia Australian grain growers look to technologies of farming and cropping systems to maximise their productivity. Zero tillage cropping, variable rate inputs, soil moisture probes, and precision planting are a few practices that farmers may adopt to support their farming practices. To implement cropping technologies, and to achieve the outcomes promoted by the technological innovators, farmers need an alignment of machinery, mobile connectivity, knowledge, skills, farm services support, finance and people on the farm to make it happen. This paper shifts the focus beyond binary and hierarchical notions of humans versus technology and human versus nature, to insider research into the farming practice, alliances, and neighbourly relations to specifically examine how agency makes farmers enact a precision farming technique called controlled traffic farming. Using an actor network approach this paper...

Digital Trust: An Analysis of Trust in the Adoption of Digital Support Services

EMILIE GLAZER, ANNA MIECZAKOWSKI, JAMES KING and BEN FEHNERT Adoption of digital support services is mediated by varying experiences of trust. This paper deconstructs the notion of trust in technology through a design-led research project on the long-term adoption of a telehealth service – a context at once complex and fragile. The investigated daily experience of patients and healthcare practitioners in the UK and Germany revealed negotiations of trust that blurred boundaries between domestic and medical, and between system smartness and individual responsibility. Implications extend to the role of technology in changing healthcare landscapes, what trust means in developing digital support services more generally, and how appreciating the fragility of trust can bring both risk and hope in uncertain and evolving worlds....

Service Infrastructures: A Call for Ethnography of Heterogeneity

ROGERIO DE PAULA, VICTOR CAVALCANTE and CLAUDIO PINHANEZ This paper investigates the notion of heterogeneity, inspired by Latour’s work on Actor Network Theory, as a lens for understanding daily work practices in a large service delivery organization. To this end, we present and discuss the findings from an ongoing research where we unpacked how system-administrators manage and negotiate incident resolution requests as part of service delivery practices. In particular, we looked into how performance metrics, such as, service level agreements (SLAs), mediated those practices. This paper contributes to the studies of infrastructure and explores the critical synergy between quantitative and qualitative methods in support of large-scale work practice research....

Reassembling the Visual

LUCY KIMBELL In her presentation to EPIC, Kimbell reflects on how data are visualized and how they are experienced. Drawing on work in the visual arts and design, she considers what practices that seem to be gathering and visualising data are actually doing, from installations such as her project ‘Physical Bar Charts’ (2005-8) to methods such as cultural probes. These examples are combined with ideas from Science and Technology Studies (STS), which foregrounds the empirical and the mundane, and questions how accounts of the social are constructed. Writers in this tradition have emphasized the ways that public experiments are used to assemble data and paid attention how data are visualized. The discussion includes work from a recent public experiment in which Kimbell was involved, as organiser of an exhibition of work by artists and designers as part of an academic workshop in Oxford entitled ‘Imagining Business’. Together, these different ways of thinking about visualising and experiencing data raise questions for ethnographers...