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Opening and Keynote: Sarah Pink "Anthropology and Emerging Technologies: learning to play in the futures space" 
Sarah Pink (Monash University)
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Melissa Parker (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)
Start time:
6 June, 2022 at
Time zone: Europe/London
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

How can we ethically, responsibly and inclusively investigate and intervene in possible futures? What is the place and role of anthropology as artificial intelligence, automated decision-making and other emerging connected and smart systems and technologies are increasingly part of our present and imagined futures?

Long Abstract:

In this lecture I argue that to engage with, intervene in and indeed survive as a discipline in our futures, we need a radically new strand of anthropology. We need a new generation of anthropologists who are equipped to research and engage in the futures spaces that are currently occupied by engineers, futurists, economists, forecasters and consultancies. That is anthropologists should start to play, and to be players who bring an anthropological perspective and ethics to bear on the futures envisioned in dominant societal narratives. This requires an anthropological practice and theory that is capable of working in, with and through the possible, the unknown, the hoped for and the imaginary. To do so involves going beyond the existing anthropologies of the future, anticipation and the imagination, towards anthropologies in possible futures, that generate imaginaries and which are themselves anticipatory.

I propose an interdisciplinary design anthropology with emerging technologies, and outline the theoretical, conceptual, methodological and ethical stakes that this involves. In doing so I draw on a series of futures-focused ethnographies, experiments and documentary filmmaking projects in which my colleagues and I have researched, and collaborated with people to create and collaborate in the sites of possible everyday futures.