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Against Technoableist AI

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Mar 11

Date and time: 11 March 2024, 15:00-16:00 CET
Speaker: Ashley Shew, Associate Professor in Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech (US)
Title: Against Technoableist AI

Meeting ID: 695 6088 7455

Moderator: Joakim Lilliesköld,
Administrator: Emil Björnson,

Watch the recorded presentation:


Abstract: There are many dangers of having parts of your body owned, managed, or maintained by companies and/or managed care — to be cyborg is to be tracked and surveilled as a regular feature of being a disabled person. I’ll speak about state programs that use electronic visit verification for personal attendant care, about a bionic eye company that went belly up (and left people without sight), about a company that shifted away from a product for lower income folks and left people with unusable cochlear implants in their heads (and no support for repair or replacement), about social media surveillance in denying people disability benefits, about where increased use of AI will overlook some disabled people and look extra hard at others (with implications for education, jobs, and public life).

Some of these cases are to help us think about future AI (and don’t constitute AI themselves), but I think are important to understanding the context of being disabled in our society, and regularly living with and relying on technologies. We need historical and lived context for considering, evaluating, and setting prudent policies forth for AI development.

Biography: Ashley Shew is an Associate Professor in Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech (US). Her current research is about disability-led narratives about technology. Ashley’s past work has been in philosophy of technology with particular interest in technological knowledge, animal studies, and emerging technologies. She is a current co-editor-in-chief (with Kirk Besmer) of Techné, the journal of the Society for Philosophy and Technology.

Ashley Shew is author of Against Technoableism: Rethinking Who Needs Improvement (2023) and Technological Knowledge and Animal Constructions(2017) and co-editor of three philosophy of technology volumes: Spaces for the Future (with Joe Pitt, 2017), Feedback Loops (with Andrew Garnar, 2020), and Reimagining Philosophy and Technology, Reinventing Ihde (with Glen Miller, 2020). Her recent book has been shortlisted with the Non-Obvious Book Awards and featured as part of a number of favorite/best lists for 2023.