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Hype cycles of the promissory economy: an STS perspective 
Neil Pollock (University of Edinburgh)
Yusun Cheng (University of Edinburgh)
Louison Carroue (Sciences Po)
Robin Williams (The University of Edinburgh)
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Hype is back on the agenda once more, especially in the context of AI technologies. Hype was once labelled 'dangerous' and 'noise'. Yet, merely identifying and problematising hype is no longer sufficient. We need to study hype empirically to understand its persistence and evolution.

Long Abstract:

This panel brings together STS perspectives on hype. Hype has recently become the focus of renewed interest. But how should we understand and study the new hype surrounding, for instance, intelligent technologies like artificial intelligence? Hype first came to widespread attention during the early 2000s Internet boom. Because of the mass of unverified and overblown claims surrounding dotcoms, it was considered ‘dangerous’ and 'noise'. As a result, there was no shortage of studies underscoring its detrimental aspects or pointing to the 'moral' dimensions surrounding hype. However, we argue that it is no longer interesting or enough to merely point hype out. We need to turn hype into more of an empirical research agenda where scholars shift from demonstrating its existence to investigating how and why hype continues to proliferate. This includes how the social insertion of hype is changing over time. Hyped expectations no longer seem the same as they once were, especially as depicted in early or ‘first-wave’ studies surrounding the Internet boom. In line with the conference theme, we invite contributions that examine how hype underpins the making and doing of transformations and disruptions. We are interested in how hype is operationalised in the digital or broader economy. By this, we mean how it is produced, consumed and evaluated. We invite papers that specifically focus on hype. Topics may include but are not limited to:

-The relationship of hype with other related constructs like visions, promissories, and imaginaries.

-Methodologies for analysing and understanding hype.

The roles and responsibilities in evaluating hype: Who ensures innovators live up to their hyped expectations?

The uniformity of hype: Does every community perceive and experience hype similarly?

The origins and platforms of hype: Who are the architects of hype? Do all technologies experience the same intensity and type of hype?

Accepted papers: