Although technological innovation in digital and robotic applications are increasingly touted as vital to addressing the expanding care needs of aging European populations, research taking an ecosystems approach to comparing stakeholder expectations is sparse. Identifying misalignment of expectations can enhance national research programmes and improve prototyping, but is also needed to embed responsible innovation practices which can go beyond the usual calls for more engagement and consider the wider ecosystem in which such activities are taking place. Using preliminary data from a UKRI-funded Trustworthy Autonomous Systems pump priming project, I will discuss using LEGO Serious Play as a method for collecting data on socio-technical “imaginaries” (identified by Jasanoff and colleagues as collectively achieved, systemic visions of social transformation through technology) held by roboticists and care academics, council administrators, carers, care users and general publics about the future of robots in the UK health-social care ecosystem. What is included in these imaginaries and what is left out? By examining where imaginaries cohere and conflict before robotic care becomes commonplace, this exploratory research hopes to contribute to more desirable, resource-aware development trajectories, avoiding technologically deterministic scenarios which may only serve to increase the vulnerability of those needing care, as well as creating new burdens for care staff.
Stevienna de Saille is a Lecturer in Sociology at the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield. Her research interests lie in the nexus of science and technology studies, social movement theory and heterodox economics, all through an intersectional lens. Her MA looked at women’s adaptation of the architecture of Livejournal.com to maintain pre-existing online networks and question racial exclusion within the science fiction community. Stevie is currently leading the ‘Human Futures’ theme in iHuman, where she is developing a programme of research on Robots in a Human Future and continues to publish in the area of human genome editing.
We are looking forward to seeing many of you at the talk!