Prometheus: Vol 36, No 3 (2020)

Choose Issue
1
Sort by
Filters Sort
Editorial
By Stuart MacDonald In this, our third issue with Pluto Journals, we have two papers that express reservations about the value of mode 2 and the triple helix. Mode 2 built on an imaginary academe in which academics were independent entities whose love of knowledge made them and their learning valuable to society. Mode 1 never did exist, of course, but the theory helped support the new mode 2, devised by the likes of Michael Gibbons, Helga Nowotny and Peter Scott in the 1990s (e.g., Gibbons et al., 1994; Gibbons, 2000). Their concept described the strengthening relationship between the production of knowledge in universities and its use in the world beyond. If mode 1 depicted science speaking to society, mode 2 saw society answering back and providing a context for the knowledge production of scientists. It all seemed clear enough at the time, but questions had been begged. If university knowledge were expected to be useful mainly outside the university, then was using this knowledge within the university less useful, perhaps even useless? Could – should – mode 1 and mode 2 coexist? If so, would not the very acceptance of mode 2 drain resources from the intellectual dilletantes of mode 1 to academics able and willing to create real value in the real world? page: 215 - 216 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 3 SKU: 360301
Paper
By David J. A. Foord and Peter Kyberd We examine concepts of new knowledge creation and embedded research in a case study on the i-limb, the world’s first commercial prosthetic hand with five independently powered digits. Although the case demonstrates many elements of the mode 2 concept, that does not adequately describe the influence of context. In addition to the forces of contextualization, we argue there was also a strong influence on the R&D process and product from the embedding of scientific research and technology development in a location of use, specifically a prosthetic clinic in a hospital. We use the literature on embedded research to supplement our examination of this case of new knowledge creation. We contribute to the literature on mode 2 knowledge production and contexts of application by applying the literature on embedded research to explain the creation of new knowledge in locations of use. page: 217 - 234 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 3 SKU: 360302
Paper
By David Emanuel Andersson and Åke E Andersson A dynamic model that distinguishes between slow and fast processes shows that a triple helix model is impossible as a tool for promoting interdependencies among science, industry and government. We present a theorem to demonstrate that a triple helix strategy is logically impossible as a means of funding scientific research in universities. In spite of this logical impossibility, national and regional triple helix strategies to improve productivity and innovative capacity have been favoured by politicians of almost every ideological stripe. Coordination of science and industry by governments is not new; it harks back to the mercantilism of seventeenth-century Britain and France. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, triple helix policies have led to a short-term bias in favour of applied technological research. Several examples, ranging from the military use of scientists in World War II to Chinese high technology parks show how triple helix strategies tilt playing fields, suppress academic freedom0 and expose scientists to the whims of politicians. page: 235 - 252 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 3 SKU: 360303
Paper
By W. David Holford Numerous organizations are placing great emphasis on such techniques as evidence-based protocols to automation and artificial intelligence (AI) with the aim of improving efficiency and maximizing profitability. Such instrumental techniques attempt to formalize all manner of environmental phenomena through abstraction and categorization. They have also reduced organizational capability to deal with dynamic environmental complexities, uncertainties and ambiguities. The aim of this paper is to examine organizational approaches relying heavily on formalized/automated protocols in aviation, medicine and other professional domains targeted by AI development. Such approaches repress the human capability known as mètis, which organizations require to deal successfully with dynamic ambiguities in the form of unexpected emergencies. Mètis is briefly explained, and examples of organizational barriers preventing its manifestation are given. page: 253 - 276 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 3 SKU: 360304
Review Essay
By Giles Birchley In 1968, the philosopher Martin Heidegger noted: Thinking does not bring knowledge as do the sciences. Thinking does not produce usable practicalwisdom. Thinking does not solve the riddles of the universe. Thinking does not endow us directlywith the power to act. (Heidegger, 1968, p.159) It is this apparent limitation in the usefulness of thinking that is one motive for developing empiricalbioethics as an innovative approach to addressing philosophical problems in healthcare. Equally, there are less prosaic motivations for innovation in the field, such as the need to explain to funders precisely what their money is being used for by bioethics researchers. This new collection, broadly speaking, addresses both of these motivations. page: 277 - 288 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 3 SKU: 360305
Book Review
By Steven Umbrello At times uncanny, yet thoroughly unsettling, Nolan Gertz’s Nihilism and Technology is an unquestionable synthesis of Nietzschean philosophy of nihilism brought to bear on our often overlooked uses and co-construction of technologies. Nihilism and Technology is, more often than not, a forceful analysis of how the human-technosocial world is becoming ever more nihilistic. Gertz eschews the overdone and clichéd positions of techno-optimism and techno-pessimism in favour of a reimagining of Nietzsche’s evaluation of nihilism with an analysis of human-technology relations. What results is a graceful marriage of traditionally convinced Nietzschean concepts and postphenomenology; something that has yet to be achieved with modern technology. page: 289 - 290 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 3 SKU: 360306
Book Review
By Barbara Henry The core of the book is whether smart technologies could re-engineer humanity and make people act like simple machines. The authors critically analyse current trends in internet technology, which make people’s life easier, at the same time taking control of it, and explain how the idea of designing programmable worlds is closely related to the engineering of predictable and programmable humans. Having said that, the book is an example of a reasoned and well-balanced set of arguments, neither an alarmist screed, nor an additional voice among the detractors of human enhancement. Frischmann and Selinger are fully aware of the worries and troublesome prognosis regarding what machines can do, especially the risk that machines might sap our humanity, issues which have been widespread for as long as machines have existed. In modern and contemporary times, an instrumentalist view of existence in a broad sense has increasingly and pervasively influenced our understanding of ourselves and has shaped accordingly the kind of societies we build up and live in. ‘Techno-social engineering refers to processes where technologies and social forces align and impact how we think, perceive, and act’ (p.4). Quid novi? page: 291 - 293 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 3 SKU: 360307
Book Review
By William Kingston The speed and volume of Far-Eastern – especially Chinese – innovation in business and technology have left Western economies reeling. Western scholars of innovation have also been struggling to keep up. An outstanding exception amongst these is the author of this book, John A. Mathews, of Macquarie University in Australia. The book has already been recognized, first as the source of two articles in Nature, and more recently by the award of the prize offered by the international Joseph Schumpeter society for the best book on economic innovation. Schumpeter, as most readers of Prometheus will not need to be reminded, is the founder of economic innovation studies. Many of his insights on this topic remain uncontested – the most devoted members of the society that exists to promote his teaching would even claim some to be incontestable. page: 294 - 295 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 3 SKU: 360308
Book Review
By Francien Dechesne In the years since the publication of this volume, the field of ethics of technology has become central to public debate. A prominent example is the debate around the development and application of artificial intelligence (AI). In June 2018, the European Commission installed a high-level expert group (HLEG) of representatives from academia, civil society and industry to include ethical considerations in the implementation of the European strategy on AI. The HLEG published Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI in April 2019. The process and its outcome have been both an inspiration and a source of fierce debate over the most effective way to deal with ethical issues raised in the development, application and broad societal entrenchment of (emerging?) technologies (see Metzinger, 2019; Metcalf, Moss and Boyd, 2019; Bietti, 2020). The ethics of technology has become a topic high on the agenda of national governments, transnational institutions such as the EU and the United Nations (2020), and professional standards organizations (IEEE, 2020). Big technology companies, such as Google and Facebook, have installed oversight boards.1 Growing public awareness and concern about how technology impacts and interferes with our interpersonal relations and societal institutions has led to growing demand for experts who can interpret and anticipate the ethical issues around the development and use of technology. page: 296 - 298 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 3 SKU: 360309
Book Review
By Neil Yorke-Smith The first decades of the twenty-first century are marked by artificial intelligence entering the mainstream of public attention. The question is not whether AI will impact various domains of human interest and endeavour, but how AI will impact them and how it should do so. page: 299 - 302 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 3 SKU: 360310
Book Review
By Antonio Lopez I’ve been teaching an undergraduate media and the environment class for a dozen years. When I first started, it was challenging to find works in media studies that connected media with environmental issues. This is partially owing to a Western cultural legacy based on the body/mind duality, which leads to a belief that anything related to thoughts, images or ideas is primarily immaterial. The dearth of environmental connections is also related to the way that the media ecology tradition inspired by McLuhan and Postman has evolved. Their exploration of how medium reshapes perception has led to a convoluted understanding of media environments as purely technological and abstracted from their physical ecologies. To this day, the average media scholar (based on anecdotal evidence) still does not immediately grasp the intimate connection between media and their impact on the environment (and if you are wondering what that is yourself, I will get to it shortly). page: 303 - 306 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 3 SKU: 360311
Book Review
By Rocci Luppicini Media Ethics and Global Justice in the Digital Age (henceforth Media Ethics) provides an elegant juxtaposition of key concepts from contemporary work in media ethics, communication theory and the philosophy of technology. Coming from a philosophy of technology and interdisciplinary studies background, this review provides a reading of Media Ethics slightly different from recent reviews coming from media and communication studies (e.g., Cortes, 2020; Roberts, 2020).
page: 307 - 308 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 3 SKU: 360312
Book Review
By Robin L. Zebrowski Sitting in my basement, a Zoom workshop about compassion for student trauma while teaching online during a pandemic on one screen, and a livestream of day 70 of well-equipped, highlytechnologized, militarized police violence enacted on journalists and peaceful protestors in Portland Oregon on another, I can’t help but feel the weight of the technological matrix in which I find myself already embedded. Much like the early empiricists understood our senses to be the fundamental mediator between us and the world, it makes just as much sense to point to our technologies as the meaningful mediator of our everyday lives. Of course, this idea is hardly new or generally insightful on its own, but when the world shuts down almost overnight and many schools and businesses transfer their operations to peoples’ homes, with vast wealth inequality reflected in who must remain in the risky, uncontrolled pandemic world and who gets to sit comfortably back and interact with the world safely from a technology-mediated distance, these questions press more heavily on all of us. page: 309 - 314 Prometheus: Critical Studies in Innovation Volume 36, Issue 3 SKU: 360313