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Accepted Paper:

Negotiating techno-imaginaries in the clinic: the future of “good lives”  
Sophie Wagner (University of Bern)

Paper short abstract:

The image of how the semi-automated technology for type 1 diabetes works, and how patients actually experience it, differ to a great extent. It is time to address these incongruencies in the understanding of care and come to terms with how patients and technology co-create knowledge and experience.

Paper long abstract:

Technological advances in medicine, based on Big Data and AI, allow for faster decision-making processes, precision, radical new definitions of prevention and therapies designed for individuals based on their distinct markers. But not only do these developments come at a certain, often hidden cost – knowledge is being centralized, private companies are endowed with often enormous power while responsibilities shift – but also many of the promises, which are made with regards to AI, simply cannot be kept.

Doing research with type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients on their treatment with (hybrid) closed loop systems in a clinic in Austria, it becomes visible how narratives about the potential of developing technology often clash with individual experiences. T1D is a high maintenance chronic disease that demands the patient’s (or their caregivers) time, effort, expertise, and nerves 24/7. But empowered with the right equipment, patients can now take over full responsibility and consciously manage their bodies – so the story goes. The reality of the lifeworlds of T1D patients often looks rather different: it demands ad-hoc adjustments and reactions to context specific requirements and is indeed much more messy than the standardized technology suggests. From patients experience we can draw a picture of care that differs greatly from the techno-imaginary of the new systems: it is ongoing, open-ended, done by multiple actors (see Mol 2008) and thus allows for radical different future-making options. We need to address these incongruencies in order to work towards the “good lives” of the chronically ill in the future.

Panel P01b
AI and interdisciplinary Futures Anthropology
  Session 1 Tuesday 7 June, 2022, -