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Social Studies of Science

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https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28466752/what-makes-a-robot-social
#1
Raya A Jones
Rhetorical moves that construct humanoid robots as social agents disclose tensions at the intersection of science and technology studies (STS) and social robotics. The discourse of robotics often constructs robots that are like us (and therefore unlike dumb artefacts). In the discourse of STS, descriptions of how people assimilate robots into their activities are presented directly or indirectly against the backdrop of actor-network theory, which prompts attributing agency to mundane artefacts. In contradistinction to both social robotics and STS, it is suggested here that to view a capacity to partake in dialogical action (to have a 'voice') is necessary for regarding an artefact as authentically social...
April 1, 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28406392/the-right-to-a-human-in-the-loop-political-constructions-of-computer-automation-and-personhood
#2
Meg Leta Jones
Contributing to recent scholarship on the governance of algorithms, this article explores the role of dignity in data protection law addressing automated decision-making. Delving into the historical roots of contemporary disputes between information societies, notably European Union and Council of Europe countries and the United States, reveals that the regulation of algorithms has a rich, culturally entrenched, politically relevant backstory. The article compares the making of law concerning data protection and privacy, focusing on the role automation has played in the two regimes...
April 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28406391/a-material-political-economy-automated-trading-desk-and-price-prediction-in-high-frequency-trading
#3
Donald MacKenzie
This article contains the first detailed historical study of one of the new high-frequency trading (HFT) firms that have transformed many of the world's financial markets. The study, of Automated Trading Desk (ATD), one of the earliest and most important such firms, focuses on how ATD's algorithms predicted share price changes. The article argues that political-economic struggles are integral to the existence of some of the 'pockets' of predictable structure in the otherwise random movements of prices, to the availability of the data that allow algorithms to identify these pockets, and to the capacity of algorithms to use these predictions to trade profitably...
April 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28406390/search-engine-imaginary-visions-and-values-in-the-co-production-of-search-technology-and-europe
#4
Astrid Mager
This article discusses the co-production of search technology and a European identity in the context of the EU data protection reform. The negotiations of the EU data protection legislation ran from 2012 until 2015 and resulted in a unified data protection legislation directly binding for all European member states. I employ a discourse analysis to examine EU policy documents and Austrian media materials related to the reform process. Using the concept 'sociotechnical imaginary', I show how a European imaginary of search engines is forming in the EU policy domain, how a European identity is constructed in the envisioned politics of control, and how national specificities contribute to the making and unmaking of a European identity...
April 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28406389/the-informational-turn-in-food-politics-the-us-fda-s-nutrition-label-as-information-infrastructure
#5
Xaq Frohlich
This article traces the history of the US FDA regulation of nutrition labeling, identifying an 'informational turn' in the evolving politics of food, diet and health in America. Before nutrition labeling was introduced, regulators actively sought to segregate food markets from drug markets by largely prohibiting health information on food labels, believing such information would 'confuse' the ordinary food consumer. Nutrition labeling's emergence, first in the 1970s as consumer empowerment and then later in the 1990s as a solution to information overload, reflected the belief that it was better to manage markets indirectly through consumer information than directly through command-and-control regulatory architecture...
April 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28056721/controlling-new-knowledge-genomic-science-governance-and-the-politics-of-bioinformatics
#6
Brian Salter, Charlotte Salter
The rise of bioinformatics is a direct response to the political difficulties faced by genomics in its quest to be a new biomedical innovation, and the value of bioinformatics lies in its role as the bridge between the promise of genomics and its realization in the form of health benefits. Western scientific elites are able to use their close relationship with the state to control and facilitate the emergence of new domains compatible with the existing distribution of epistemic power - all within the embrace of public trust...
April 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28025902/what-can-science-and-technology-studies-learn-from-art-and-design-reflections-on-synthetic-aesthetics
#7
Jane Calvert, Pablo Schyfter
In this paper we reflect on a project called 'Synthetic Aesthetics', which brought together synthetic biologists with artists and designers in paired exchanges. We - the STS researchers on the project - were quickly struck by the similarities between our objectives and those of the artists and designers. We shared interests in forging new collaborations with synthetic biologists, 'opening up' the science by exploring implicit assumptions, and interrogating dominant research agendas. But there were also differences between us, the most important being that the artists and designers made tangible artefacts, which had an immediacy and an ability to travel, and which seemed to allow different types of discussions from those initiated by our academic texts...
April 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28195030/extra-terra-incognita-martian-maps-in-the-digital-age
#8
Lisa Messeri
Science and technology studies (STS) and critical cartography are both asking questions about the ontological fixity of maps and other scientific objects. This paper examines how a group of NASA computer scientists who call themselves The Mapmakers conceptualizes and creates maps in service of different commitments. The maps under construction are those of alien Mars, produced through partnerships that NASA has established with Google and Microsoft. With the goal of bringing an experience of Mars to as many people as possible, these maps influence how we imagine our neighbouring planet...
February 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28195029/the-problem-of-epistemic-jurisdiction-in-global-governance-the-case-of-sustainability-standards-for-biofuels
#9
David E Winickoff, Matthieu Mondou
While there is ample scholarly work on regulatory science within the state, or single-sited global institutions, there is less on its operation within complex modes of global governance that are decentered, overlapping, multi-sectorial and multi-leveled. Using a co-productionist framework, this study identifies 'epistemic jurisdiction' - the power to produce or warrant technical knowledge for a given political community, topical arena or geographical territory - as a central problem for regulatory science in complex governance...
February 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28195028/academic-judgments-under-uncertainty-a-study-of-collective-anchoring-effects-in-swedish-research-council-panel-groups
#10
Lambros Roumbanis
This article focuses on anchoring effects in the process of peer reviewing research proposals. Anchoring effects are commonly seen as the result of flaws in human judgment, as cognitive biases that stem from specific heuristics that guide people when they involve their intuition in solving a problem. Here, the cognitive biases will be analyzed from a sociological point of view, as interactional and aggregated phenomena. The article is based on direct observations of ten panel groups evaluating research proposals in the natural and engineering sciences for the Swedish Research Council...
February 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28195027/the-anthropo-scene-a-guide-for-the-perplexed
#11
Jamie Lorimer
The scientific proposal that the Earth has entered a new epoch as a result of human activities - the Anthropocene - has catalysed a flurry of intellectual activity. I introduce and review the rich, inchoate and multi-disciplinary diversity of this Anthropo-scene. I identify five ways in which the concept of the Anthropocene has been mobilized: scientific question, intellectual zeitgeist, ideological provocation, new ontologies and science fiction. This typology offers an analytical framework for parsing this diversity, for understanding the interactions between different ways of thinking in the Anthropo-scene, and thus for comprehending elements of its particular and peculiar sociabilities...
February 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28195026/from-academic-laboratory-to-the-market-disclosed-and-undisclosed-narratives-of-commercialization
#12
Adi Sapir, Amalya L Oliver
This paper examines how the Weizmann Institute of Science has been telling the story of the successful commercialization of a scientific invention, through its corporate communication channels, from the early 1970s to today. The paper aims to shed light on the transformation processes by which intellectual-property-based commercialization activities have become widely institutionalized in universities all over the world, and on the complexities, ambiguities and tensions surrounding this transition. We look at the story of the scientific invention of Copolymer-1 at the Weizmann Institute of Science and its licensing to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which subsequently developed the highly successful drug Copaxone for the treatment of multiple sclerosis...
February 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28195025/the-depth-of-fields-managing-focus-in-the-epistemic-subcultures-of-mind-and-brain-science
#13
David Peterson
The 'psy' sciences emerged from the tangled roots of philosophy, physiology, biology and medicine, and these origins have produced heterogeneous fields. Scientists in these areas work in a complex, overlapping ecology of fields that results in the constant co-presence of dissonant theories, methods and research objects. This raises questions regarding how conceptual clarity is maintained. Using the optical metaphor 'depth of field', I show how researchers in all fields marginalize potential threats to routine scientific work by framing them as either too broad and imprecise or too narrow and technical...
February 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28195024/post-truth
#14
Sergio Sismondo
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
February 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28150527/-this-is-what-we-got-what-would-you-like-aligning-and-unaligning-academic-industry-relations
#15
Jane Bjørn Vedel, Alan Irwin
This paper explores academic-industry relations from the perspective of research managers in the pharmaceutical industry. While current policy discourse on academic-industry relations has emphasized the potential of creating stronger alignment between academic research and industrial R&D, scholars have also drawn attention to the fundamental misalignment of the two domains and the inherently problematic aspects of over-close ties. In this paper, we address the articulation of alignment and 'unalignment' in academic-industry relations and explore how industrial participants reflect on their relationship with academic research...
January 1, 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28105894/clinical-prediction-and-the-idea-of-a-population
#16
David Armstrong
Using an analysis of the British Medical Journal over the past 170 years, this article describes how changes in the idea of a population have informed new technologies of medical prediction. These approaches have largely replaced older ideas of clinical prognosis based on understanding the natural histories of the underlying pathologies. The 19(th)-century idea of a population, which provided a denominator for medical events such as births and deaths, was constrained in its predictive power by its method of enumerating individual bodies...
January 1, 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28050931/scientists-as-citizens-and-knowers-in-the-detection-of-deforestation-in-the-amazon
#17
Marko Monteiro, Raoni Rajão
This paper examines how scientists deal with tensions emerging from their role as providers of objective knowledge and as citizens concerned with how their research influences policy and politics in Brazil. This is accomplished through an ethnographic account of scientists using remote sensing technology, of their knowledge-making activities and of the broader socio-political controversies that permeate the detection of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Strategies for mitigating uncertainty are central aspects of the knowledge practices analyzed, bringing controversies 'external' to the laboratory 'into' the lab, making these boundaries conceptually problematic...
January 1, 2017: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28032532/the-missing-the-martyred-and-the-disappeared-global-networks-technical-intensification-and-the-end-of-human-rights-genetics
#18
Lindsay A Smith
In 1984, a group of Argentine students, trained by US academics, formed the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team to apply the latest scientific techniques to the excavation of mass graves and identification of the dead, and to work toward transitional justice. This inaugurated a new era in global forensic science, as groups of scientists in the Global South worked outside of and often against local governments to document war crimes in post-conflict settings. After 2001, however, with the inauguration of the war on terror following the September 11(th) attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, global forensic science was again remade through US and European investment to increase preparedness in the face of potential terrorist attacks...
December 1, 2016: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28032526/it-s-not-just-about-speed-reviewing-the-recumbent-bicycle-once-more
#19
Bernhard Wieser
Why did the recumbent bicycle never become a dominant design, despite the fact that it was faster than the safety bicycle on the racetrack? Hassaan Ahmed et al. argue in their recently published paper that the main reason for the marginalization of the recumbent bicycle was semiotic power deployed by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). Here, I demonstrate that the authors drew their conclusions from an incomplete application of the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) framework. Understanding the diffusion of alternative bicycle designs requires considering more than speed, and more than the UCI as a powerful actor...
December 1, 2016: Social Studies of Science
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28032525/the-breakdown-of-galileo-s-roman-network-crisis-and-community-ca-1633
#20
Paula Findlen, Hannah Marcus
Rome has long been central to the story of Galileo's life and scientific work. Through an analysis of the metadata of Galileo's surviving letters, combined with a close reading of the letters themselves, we discuss how Galileo used correspondence to build a Roman network. Galileo initially assembled this network around the members of the Lincean Academy, a few carefully nurtured relationships with important ecclesiastics, and the expertise of well positioned Tuscan diplomats in the Eternal City. However, an analysis of Galileo's correspondence in the aftermath of the trial of 1633 provides us with a unique opportunity to interrogate how his altered circumstances transformed his social relations...
December 1, 2016: Social Studies of Science
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