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Future touch in industry: exploring sociotechnical imaginaries of tactile (tele)robots

Barker, N; Jewitt, C; (2022) Future touch in industry: exploring sociotechnical imaginaries of tactile (tele)robots. Futures , 136 , Article 102885. 10.1016/j.futures.2021.102885. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper explores sociotechnical imaginaries for industrial robotics. It is motivated by the prospect of promoting human-centred industrial futures. Investigating the tactility of labour through a critical social perspective the research attends to the future of tactile (tele)robots and elaborates on the concepts of pedagogic, collaborative and superhuman touch. These concepts are offered as starting points to foster productive dialogues between social scientists, roboticists, environmentalists, policy makers, industrial leaders and labourers (e.g. union representatives). This paper is framed through literature and ethnographic fieldwork that contextualises and maps the dominant sociotechnical imaginaries for a future touch in industry, identifying the role of a comparative-competitive frame in sustaining a splintering of the imaginary towards utopic and dystopic extremes. Against this, the paper draws on interviews with leading roboticists to chart alternative futures where humans and robots may work together as collaborators, not competitors.

Type: Article
Title: Future touch in industry: exploring sociotechnical imaginaries of tactile (tele)robots
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.futures.2021.102885
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2021.102885
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Sociotechnical imaginaries, industrial futures, tactile robotics, telerobotics, touch, manual labour
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Learning and Leadership
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10140111
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