“When I encountered discriminating IT-systems and did not want to take it anymore”: deconstructing affective entanglements in society-technology relations
The workshop will be held on the JKU campus, room t.b.a.
When using technologies, we often find ourselves in a paradox: we struggle with how they endanger our privacy, restrict our agency by limited options and how they materialize discriminatory worldviews — at the same time, we love engaging with tech that inspires new ways of sociality, co-creation and collectivity. When creating systems, we encounter a similar conundrum: we are urged to capitalize on the available data to make decision processes more efficient and to generate economic prosperity; we want to develop sound technical methods and deliver elegant solutions to real-world problems — at the same time, norms of technical feasibility limit our inventiveness on how computing can contribute to social change and equality.
In recent years, countless cases have shown how algorithms, machine learning and AI objectify existing discrimination and amplify social injustice in terms of sexism, racism, classism and ableism (e.g. Allhutter 2019, West el al. 2019). Many of us users, developers and citizens feel the need to stand up for equality and justice in our digitized world. Yet, our own embeddedness in systemic power relations often leaves us puzzled and paralyzed.
This workshop uses the deconstructive method of mind scripting to help us understand the grip that even technologies that we reject and technological practices that we find questionable may have on us. Using our own memories as an experimental resource we will explore our affective entanglements in society-technology relations and ask how discrimination and privilege materialize in our sociotechnical everyday practices. This exploration aims at developing collective agency and activisms.
If this resonates with your experience, please drop a line to email@example.com by September 1, additionally to your workshop registration.
Allhutter 2019. digitalsts.net/essays/of-working-ontologists-and-high-quality-human-components/
West, et al. 2019. ainowinstitute.org/discriminatingsystems.html
Doris Allhutter works at the ITA, Austrian Academy of Sciences, and teaches at JKU Linz and TU Wien. She researches how social inequality and difference co-emerge with sociotechnical systems and explores how practices of computing are implicitly normative and entrenched in societal power relations.