Source: @lemurph February 01, 2017 at 09:16AM

This is a link to a short feature on the Today programme on 30th January. It’s just two minutes long, so definitely worth a listen. Dr Chris Papadopulos explains that culturally sensitive robots are those who appreciate an individual’s culture. The robot will be programmed to have an understanding, based on ‘best evidence and best theory’ about particular cultural groups, in order to make care more effective. It’s about transferring a principle prevalent in evidence-based literature on nurses’ care of the elderly to robots.

I very much liked the evidence-based approach of this. Although I worry a little – despite Dr Papadopulos’ stress on evidence-based understandings of ‘cultural sensitivity’ – about how closely this is bound up in questions of power and privilege.

(Confusing) Tweets and posthumanism


Source: @lemurph January 25, 2017 at 04:24PM

This is the quote I’m referring to in my tweet:

Technology is only a tool if it can be used properly to inspire a student – Anthony Salcito, vice-president of Worldwide Education at Microsoft

embedded tweet

It’s a weird set of words to put together – it’s ambiguous, and it’s taken me a few goes of reading through it to understand what it means. (I’m still not sure I do.) But if I were a proper critical posthumanist, what would I make of it?

On one hand, the technology is seen as exclusively material: it’s even further removed from being a ‘tool’, because it’s only a ‘tool’ if it meets certain conditions. So, not only does it require a separation of the material/technological and social, its status is dependent upon its being ‘used’ by humans in a certain way. Ergo: instrumentalist technology.

On the other hand, the technology has a ‘proper’ use – there is a way to use it properly, and if we humans are cognisant of this and able to use properly, it will ‘inspire’ our students. Ergo: determinist technology.

I’m also troubled by the use of this word ‘inspire’ – it’s so subjective, it privileges the human, it’s anthropocentric, and it’s difficult to see how it might escape a value judgment about what ‘learning’ is.

So technology-enhanced inspiration? Technology-inspired learning? No, thank you!