Science & Technology Studies <div class="region region-content-intro"> <div id="block-block-6" class="block block-block"> <div class="content"> <p>Science &amp; Technology Studies is an international peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the advancement of scholarly studies of science and technology as socio-material phenomena, including their historical and contemporary production and their associated forms of knowledge, expertise, social organization and controversy. This includes interest in developing Science and Technology Studies' own knowledge production techniques, methodology and interventions. 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Due to the fact that Science &amp; Technology Studies is not responsible for the availability or accuracy of these outside resources or their contents, you should review the terms and conditions and privacy policies of these linked sites, as their policies may differ from ours.</p> <p>Last revised: 3 Aug 2020</p> Thinking Like a Machine <p>As part of ongoing research bridging ethnomethodology and computer science, in this article we offer an alternate reading of Alan Turing’s 1936 paper, “On Computable Numbers”. Following through Turing’s machinic respecification of computation, we hope to contribute to a deflationary position on AI by showing that the activities attributed to AIs are achieved in the course of methodic hands-on work with computational systems and not in isolation by them. Turing’s major innovation was a demonstration that mathematical and logical operations could be broken down into elementary, mechanically executable operations, devoid of intellectual content. Drawing out lessons from a re-enactment of Turing’s methods as a means of reflecting on contemporary artificial intelligence (AI), including the way those methods disappear into the technology, we will suggest the interesting question raised in “On Computable Numbers” is less about the possibilities of designing machines that “can think” (cf. Turing, 1950), but the practical work we do, and which is made possible, when we ourselves set out to think like machines.</p> Dipanjan Saha Phillip Brooker Michael Mair Stuart Reeves Copyright (c) 2023 Dipanjan Saha, Phillip Brooker, Michael Mair, Stuart Reeves 2024-05-15 2024-05-15 37 2 66 88 10.23987/sts.122892 Introduction <p>The authors in this special issue present case studies of socio-cultural responses to technologies in terms of their relationships with ‘ethics’ and ‘politics,’ to ecologies, and to the ways in which those technological processes are framed as empowering, alienating, dispossessing, transformative or destructive. This introduction elaborates some connections between the papers, focusing on the ways that technology both creates, and becomes part of, ethical and political struggles over visions of the future. Technology is frequently used to increase the extent and range of control, and to impose a politicised order upon others in villages, towns, environments and landscapes, although this control cannot be guaranteed. Technology can also become part of the rhetoric used to persuade people of the inevitability, validity and desirability of imagined futures, while leaving other factors to be ignored. Technology, ethics and politics are not always separable, and the results of their interaction may not always be predictable.</p> Jonathan P. Marshall Rebekah Cupitt Copyright (c) 2024 Jonathan P. Marshall, Rebekah Cupitt 2024-05-15 2024-05-15 37 2 2 12 10.23987/sts.141478 Lost Futures <p class="BodyA"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size: 11.5pt;">Embedded within large-scale resource extraction projects is a tension between the immobility of the resource and the mobility of the people who inhabit the surface over which the resource is found. The limited ability to negotiate the place of extraction, and the destruction of prior ecologies, can generate significant hardship to local populations and pose particular ethical dilemmas, as in the small village of Wollar located at the New South Wales coal frontier. Here, the supposed ethical imperatives of coal-based power and energy have dismantled and sacrificed communities as the coal mining industry has advanced and intensified its operations. Looking at both social and environmental ecologies, the paper analyses how imagined coal-centred futures, and progress, is phrased (or not phrased) as an ethical and political issue, and the consequences of that coal-based future, psychologically, emotionally, imaginally and cosmologically on those who live near the mines. What once carried a felt ambience of being home has, through technological and political deployment, become a <em>non-place </em>of transience, anonymity, and change. In this unbalanced political conflict, a natural environment and lived ecology are subject to developmentalist and technological ecologies in ethical-political dispute with a diminishing sense of home, and produce suffering because of unequal power relations which derive from the success of the destructive technologies. Searching for a language to capture the sense of sacrifice and suffering that happens in the shadow of large-scale mining, I propose a new concept: ‘eritalgia’. Eritalgia expands the existing duad of nostalgia and solastalgia, capturing the sense of lost future self in place, emphasising the role of power and discursive hegemony in shaping experiences of and well-being in place. </span></p> Hedda Askland Copyright (c) 2024 Hedda Askland 2024-05-15 2024-05-15 37 2 13 30 10.23987/sts.120924 Coal Exists, Therefore it Must be dug up <p>As the world’s second largest exporter of coal, Australia has been notoriously reticent to facilitate the technological transitions required to alleviate climate change. The influence of the mining lobby has been well documented, as have the machinations of successive governments, who have had little success in overcoming this influence, or determination to do so. Yet communities in coal mining regions of the Hunter Valley are increasingly, and actively, questioning the morality of the industry. From conflicts over land use, to the impacts that burning coal has on climate change, the coal industry is aware of the tenuous nature of its social license to operate. In response it has invested in campaigns which emphasises the role of the industry in building the local ecology: not only of the local regional economy, but also in building historical and cultural value, in an attempt to ‘lock-in’ mining’s particular values and ethics. As the pressure on coal from international forces increases, this restrictive view is challenged, with the nation committed to the technologies and pollutions of the past and left behind as others move towards cleaner sources of energy. Power and ethics shape not only visions of the future, but the capacity to engage with the likely social and physical outcomes of those actions.</p> Vanessa Bowden Copyright (c) 2024 Vanessa Bowden 2024-05-15 2024-05-15 37 2 31 47 10.23987/sts.120930 Technologies of Ecological Mediation <p>Different world views and ontologies require different technologies to deal with environmental issues. Land reclamation plans in Bali’s south, meant to open up new space for tourist development, triggered strong but varied responses in the Balinese population, from rejection to enthusiasm. All actors claim to aim towards a prosperous Bali, and at the protection of a degrading environment, but notions of prosperity and protections and the means and technologies used differ tremendously which leads to ethical conflicts. This paper identifies three actor groups based on the technologies they use to mediate relationships in the ecologies they inhabit. Drawing on modern interventionist technology and development and implied universal moralities, scientists aim to manage environment and normalize ecologies for economic benefits or environmental protection. In contrast, religious Balinese actors, for whom environments are dwelling places of spirits and gods, make use of their bodies as means of mediation to communicate with the non-human and restore the balance between environment, humans and god. A third kind of technology used in the reclamation case is a broad mix of media, from traditional theatre to new social media, that are meant to mediate between locally rooted ontologies and global activism, communicate resistance to a broad public, and thus save a (sacred) environment and Bali. In the Bali case, technologies appear ambivalent as they contain contradictory forces and their relationship with the environment is highly complex, which makes consequences quite unpredictable and ethics quite diverse.</p> Birgit Bräuchler Copyright (c) 2024 Birgit Bräuchler 2024-05-15 2024-05-15 37 2 48 65 10.23987/sts.120760 Ermoshina Ksenia and Musiani Francesca (2022) Concealing for Freedom: The making of Encryption, Secure Messaging and Digital Liberties Samuele Fratini Copyright (c) 2024 Samuele Fratini 2024-05-15 2024-05-15 37 2 89 91 10.23987/sts.129060 Caton James Lee (ed) (2022) The Economics of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency: A Transaction Costs Revolution Jongheon Kim Copyright (c) 2024 Jongheon Kim 2024-05-15 2024-05-15 37 2 92 94 10.23987/sts.132094