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RE-VISITING THE NEUTRALITY OF TECHNOLOGY (SIGs III, IFP, HFIS)

Nadia Caidi, Kalpana Shankar, Marija Dalbello, Thomas Froehlich

Sparking Synergies: Bringing Research and Practice Together @ ASIST '05 (ASIS&T 2005)
Westin Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina, October 28 - November 2, 2005


Abstract

Is technology amoral? Is design value-laden but code neutral? Philosophers, technologists, science and technology studies (STS) scholars, and social critics continue to debate whether or not information technologies are a neutral and autonomous force acting independently of other social processes. Yet, these discussions are rather only marginally addressed in Information studies, although discussing these issues is of compelling importance for the training of the next generation of information professionals. The differing assumptions and values about the social nature of technology have implications in the context of research and practice, and are of compelling importance from an ethics, design, globalization and policymaking perspective. This panel will address the varying approaches (e.g., instrumental theory of technology versus more interpretive approaches) and discuss the implications of technological (non) neutrality in a variety of settings, including ubiquitous computing, health care technologies, digital library development, and others.

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