"Automation, robotics and the promise of an easier life" with Prof Judy Wajcman

03 March 2016

Technologies are not neutral tools that emerge independently of the society that invents them. Rather, their design and use reflect as much as shape society. So what does the contemporary fascination with humanoid robots and automation more generally tell us about how our culture envisages the relationship between humans and machines?

In this lecture Professor Judy Wajcman, Visiting Professor at the Oxford Internet Institute, will examine the ways in which robotics embody the desire to save valuable time by enabling us to complete tasks ever faster and more efficiently. They are supposed to make our lives easier. Yet we hear constant laments that we are pressed for time, and that the pace of everyday life is accelerating. How do we explain this conundrum? And why is it that machines designed for today’s service economy often resemble gender stereotypes? Perhaps we need a female Doctor Who to provoke a feminist reimagining of robotics, one that challenges the future on offer from the evangelists of Silicon Valley.