Automation, Robotics and the Promise of an Easier Life
Presenter: Professor Judy Wajcman (London School of Economics)
The contemporary fascination with artificial intelligence, big data and robotics tells us a great deal about how our culture envisages the relationship between humans and machines. But what does it mean for women? Feminists have long recognized that technologies are not neutral tools that emerge independently of society. Rather, their design and use both reflect and shape gender power relations. The fourth industrial revolution promises to make our lives easier from organizing our calendars to providing companions for our elderly parents. Yet we have never felt more pressed for time. How do we explain this conundrum? And why is it that machines designed for today’s service economy often resemble gender stereotypes? This lecture will argue that a technofeminist analysis is needed to challenge the future on offer from the evangelists of Silicon Valley.
Judy Wajcman is the Anthony Giddens Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics. She was previously Professor of Sociology in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. Professor Wajcman is a Fellow of the British Academy and she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oxford Internet Institute in 2018.
She has recently been appointed as Turing Fellow and Principal Investigator on the Women in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence research project at the Alan Turing Institute. Professor Wajcman has published widely in the fields of science and technology studies, feminist theory, work and organizations. Her books include The Social Shaping of Technology, Feminism Confronts Technology, Managing Like a Man: Women and Men in Corporate Management, TechnoFeminism, The Politics of Working Life, The Sociology of Speed, and Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism, which was awarded the 2017 Ludwik Fleck prize by the Society for the Social Studies of Science.
Drinks and canapés will be served following the lecture so please advise of any dietary requirements.