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Aside from the fact that this is a really nice policy report between science and the humanities, it contains this quote for anyone following new / emerging / novel things: “Professor Agar explains how data-driven decisions are older than commonly thought, and how concerns about privacy and automation go back much longer than any data revolution. He emphasises that policymakers focus too much on governing new technologies, when it is often the older ones that really matter.”
Posted: 12 October, 2017
Contra this, ‘the people tend to be one or two rings down, who have actually spent the time creating technologies and now find themselves trying to extract themselves from it’. > “It may or may not be relevant that Rosenstein, Pearlman and most of the tech insiders questioning today’s attention economy are in their 30s, members of the last generation that can remember a world in which telephones were plugged into walls. It is revealing that many of these younger technologists are weaning themselves off their own products, sending their children to elite Silicon Valley schools where iPhones, iPads and even laptops are banned. They appear to be abiding by a Biggie Smalls lyric from their own youth about the perils of dealing crack cocaine: never get high on your own supply.”
Posted: 7 October, 2017
A couple of things interesting to STS: 1. The question about ethics and political power of the technology he builds becomes one of whether people are comfortable about acceleration. 2. ‘Democratise’ here means spread as far as possible. Of course they’re just snippets of an interview transcript but they seem familiar patterns. And of course, he is the CEO. It would be unprecedented if he acknowledged what a lot of people see as a critical position had any validity.
Posted: 7 October, 2017
“This can be achieved by, for example, using open processes in the planning stage of power plants that allow the public to comment on and influence the terms and consequences of models, or by including forms of international peer review for national modeling assumptions.” This is one of my discomforts with my own work and others in the field. That we are essentially saying, when we make recommendations like this, that such processes are less likely to a) fail or b) produce catastrophic failure if they do. But this is even less testable than the accuracy of models and comes with a significant burden. The next sentence does suggest a way forward — finding ways to protect the poor — but this is not a technologically-specific solution but a question of equity.
Posted: 1 October, 2017
"Now it is the turn of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, 3D printing and quantum computing to transform the global economy."
Posted: 16 July, 2017
A suggestion from a guardian columnist about how to deal with megacompanies. Note the reference to knowing the future in the Nature paper. Interesting.
Posted: 8 July, 2017
This is the staying with the trouble lecture by Donna Haraway.
Posted: 16 April, 2017
Neat article about the relationship between modern preference-based and travel apps and their relationship to aesthetics.
Posted: 8 March, 2017
Of course, it's human error! More machines please!
Posted: 12 February, 2017
A historian talking about the idea of science producing goods, and the shifts that it entails.
Posted: 31 January, 2017
Interesting because after the fall comes acquisition by Gingko.
Posted: 25 January, 2017
An old piece of writing by Anil Dash about the internet and how it changed. It's a nice example of how to turn critique into something constructive. Reminders of normative turn in STS, particularly because he talks about alternatives and future apps and web services that will 'look different' (he uses this term).
Posted: 1 January, 2017
At the Grand Challenges Annual Conference is a guy from the Gates foundation talking about how to fund global health challenges with a choice hyping quote about being able to treat all disease.
Posted: 30 November, 2016
A quietly depressing piece about the amount of money going into the Gates' foundation grand challenge scheme, name checking a person talking about global health and talking up the fact that what they fund are technological fixes.
Posted: 29 September, 2016
"To increase public understanding and energise the political debate, we need more than facts – we need a programme that resonates with people’s everyday experiences, offering not just warnings but opportunities and improvement." On first read, this seems like a weird conflict, between facts and people's experiences. On a second read, it seems much closer to STS.
Posted: 7 September, 2016
The first complete chromosome to be published from the Synthetic Yeast 2.0 project. Interesting because it stands in contrast to many visions of synthetic biology: It employed a team of undergraduates instead of robots.
Posted: 18 August, 2016
A website from ASU and other people about the future that looks good. Not sure what to do with it, other than remember it exists at the moment.
Posted: 16 May, 2016
Article that links to the release of the Research Council's budget new budget. The headline thing is the launch of the global challenges research fund.
Posted: 9 May, 2016
Amazing description of synthetic biology PhD from Alistair Elfick at Edinburgh
Posted: 7 April, 2016
Crazy case of humans intervening in bird breeding
Posted: 6 April, 2016
iPhone and privacy is a neat example of how technology embeds political decisions - here regarding privacy
Posted: 3 March, 2016
Neat little post about how the same knowledge can be used differently. Of course, he doesn't talk about how you could also use social changes to address it, and he doesn't talk about the contested links between the symptoms and the disease.
Posted: 26 February, 2016
Early vision of autonomous cars and how we went down a different trajectory
Posted: 26 February, 2016
Artemisinin drug isn't really doing anything to stabilise the drug supply because of a glut in agriculturally produced artemisinin, with a name check for Claire Marris.
Posted: 25 February, 2016
Contestations over who owns CRISPR Cas 9 in the scientific community
Posted: 24 February, 2016
In this video, Craig Venter announces his 'synthetic organism'. Around 13 minutes in he talks about philosophical stuff and ethics. The ethics is about policy and open access, the philosophy is about quotes about life in. Interestingly if you pull out his quotes you can probably say something about his philosophy.
Posted: 23 February, 2016
This is what I think happened. The IAP is the global body for the national science academies. They produced a report on Synthetic Biology in 2014, which was fairly sensible. There was also a special issue in Nature in which the chair of that report wrote a silly article that essentially undermined the report. This letter - signed by 21 people including Jasanoff, Jane, Andy Stirling etc. - is a response to that commentary.
Posted: 2 February, 2016
Nice little video from Risk Lab at CNS, ASU about Gene Drives. Presumably from someone working with Andrew Maynard?
Posted: 25 January, 2016
Good website about cities
Posted: 14 January, 2016
This is interesting. Seems like first cloning of pet?
Posted: 26 December, 2015
This is a useful webinar from an entomologist as part of the US National Academy of Sciences inquiry into Gene Drives. It's really good. Interesting stuff in here because he sits in a weird position where in some cases he says there are really important social / environmental consequences that we need to be aware of because of the characteristics of the populations being manipulated and the locations that they're in. In other situations he seems less concerned.
Posted: 17 December, 2015
some nice graphics that correlates vaccine introduction with disease reduction. note the Smallpox one, which has a really long lead in time.
Posted: 7 December, 2015
Again, this is Katie Scotts website. It's really nice
Posted: 4 December, 2015
Katie scott does design and illustration about how we understand nature. In this video one of the things that she talks about is 'where those categories of nature break down' - e.g. slime moulds
Posted: 4 December, 2015
Nice article in Aeon about how technology (Internet) is designed to produce compulsive behaviours. Also some graphics about imagined uses vs actual
Posted: 25 November, 2015
Hatchet job of the Nurse research council review published in November 2015
Posted: 23 November, 2015
This was an early project (from 2008) funded by BBSRC with scientists and social scientists. It looks a little like the 2015 infrastructure project. It has some useful stuff on it
Posted: 19 November, 2015
Really cool web-app that shows the infrastructure behind the internet - mainly under sea cables.
Posted: 19 November, 2015
This could be a new STS case study. It has lots of hallmarks and it's only subtly in the news
Posted: 18 November, 2015
This is an overview that Bev sent of teaching models that is 'bread and butter' for learning theorists. People generally focus on the Cognitive domain but affective also interesting. Useful for future reference
Posted: 17 November, 2015
Website built by a Historian of Science and some other people, with Nik Rose on Advisory board about medical biotechnology.
Posted: 16 November, 2015
Amazing ambivalent article about rose tinting / branding a sometimes shit but romantic (not in the soppy way) experience. And how that experience is being used by companies to hide behind.
Posted: 11 November, 2015
Might be interesting, might be really basic, but worth a look
Posted: 9 November, 2015
About a guy who planned to dam the Mediterranean in the 1930s to create a supercontinent, a large amount of tidal power, and a moderated climate in Africa which would allow political harmony
Posted: 8 November, 2015
Anti-microbial Resistance is picking up steam in the high brow press...
Posted: 8 November, 2015