Wednesday, April 5, 2023
11:30 am – 1 pm
Sage Lab 5711
Rider Foley - Associate Professor of Science, Technology & Society at University of Virginia
Engaging People in Technology and Politics: Design, Implementation & Maintenance
Politics and technology are inseparable. Human values are integrated into technological designs and extend throughout the long-term maintenance of devices and systems. This research presentation shares three cases studies—dealing with groundwater pollution, natural gas pipelines, and networked computing—to explore how people, who are routinely excluded, seek to intervene in the design, implementation, and maintenance of technological systems. Taken together, the cases make power structures visible and demonstrate how the theory of techno-politics can be extended across multiple scales by drawing upon the analytical framing of infrastructure. The theory of responsible innovation offers a normative framing to assess the injustices and inequities when diverse perspectives are excluded, and success is narrowly defined. In closing, I offer lessons for engineers, policymakers, community organizations, and scholars that seek to foster justice in the designs and maintenance of technologies.