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Accepted Contribution:

Against digital fatalism: Resisting technology hype through hopeful and creative interventions with immersive futures  
Andrés Domínguez (The Alan Turing Institute) Peter Winter (University of Bristol) Ola Michalec (University of Bristol)

Short abstract:

We reflect on the learning from ‘Against Digital Fatalism’, a critical digital literacy initiative linking STS with art to address emerging technology’s social and ethical issues. The project blends creativity and critique to envision grounded, just, and hopeful futures with immersive technologies.

Long abstract:

Technology hype has been the object of STS critique at a time of grossly inflated expectations and promises about artificial intelligence, the metaverse and other technological ‘frontiers.' Such critical work has been vital to begin to challenge the soft power hype has in materially shaping the future and creating a downstream sense of inevitability, fatalism, or false hope. In resisting hype, STS scholars are now faced with the world-building imperatives implied in the field’s current turn to making and doing: What kind of practices and narratives could meaningfully supplant hype? How do we transition from just calling out snake oil and bull*hit, to creating more grounded, just and hopeful visions of the future? How can STS work empower diverse audiences to engage in critical thinking about the social, political and ethical aspects of emerging technologies? In our project ‘Against Digital Fatalism,’ we engage with these questions through an experimental and collaborative exchange with artists and creative practitioners. The project materialised in three artworks which touch on specific social and ethical issues linked to extended reality and the metaverse, namely digital escapism and injustice, power and financial speculation in virtual worlds, and hopeful and inclusive engagements with the digital. In this contribution we invite the audience to interact with each of these artworks and join us in a playful and collective exchange about hopeful futures.

Combined Format Open Panel P189
The ends of hope: post-optimistic futures worth working towards
  Session 2 Friday 19 July, 2024, -