Accepted paper:

The 'future' in media technology innovation processes

Authors:

Debora Lanzeni (Monash)
Elisenda Ardèvol (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper we propose embrace ‘future’ as an analytical vector to unveil the complexity of the social forms surrounding processes of creating digital technologies in which media are involved in order to create new relations and connections from an anthropological perspective.

Paper long abstract:

Imagining and innovating for `future´ are the two guiding tropes in the development of digital media technologies. The media designed today are conceived for the future society, the innovation today is located in the everyday people's future. Current discussions about innovation in digital media technologies uphold a divergence between two models of creating, designing and production for this `future´. On one hand, open innovation model that pleads for a broad participation in the processes of making media technologies where common citizens could/should take part of the design production and turn innovation into a social practice. On the other, solution-oriented innovation model understands that processes of design have to be guided for social needs, user's wants and market demands but participation is handled by designers and developers. Both models identify designers and citizens as contrasting or complementary and innovation as a specific realm. These understandings bolster ideas of media technologies as split-of other social processes. Our ethnographic fieldwork among media technology designers in ` innovation labs´ in the European context poses some intriguing questions about understanding `innovation´, `media', `technologies´, `design´, `users´ and ` citizens´ and the importance of images of futures in broad social processes. Thus, we propose 'future' as an analytical vector to unveil the complexity of the social forms in which media are involved in order to create new relations and connections from an anthropological perspective.

panel P065
Media futures: media anthropology of, for and through the notion of 'future' (Media Anthropology Network)