1. What is the criticism known as ''Structural Exclusion''? Illustrate this criticism with the example provided in the article of Facial Recognition Is Accurate, if You’re a White Guy (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/09/technology/facial-recognition-race-artificial-intelligence.html).
2. Define exhaustively the concepts of actor-network, blackbox, and technoscript (analysis). What conceptual parallel (similarity) can be drawn among these three concepts?
3. How can we apply ANT to analyze the foreseen impacts of Peak Oil as sketched in the documentary of A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash(2006), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qGM9ypR-UI&ab_channel=RemarkableEncounters. How do these impacts provide an illustration of the breakdown of an actor-world?
Please watch the documentary on the provided link to answer question 3.
To get the full mark to answer question 3, you need to mention the following in your answers :
- Define ANT
- What is Peak Oil?
- Impacts: Political, Economic, Social, and Technological (PEST) Impacts
- Oil acts as a non-human actor
4. How many technoscript analysts does it take to change a lightbulb?
What is Structural Exclusion?
The structural exclusion is the social relegation and disadvantage to the societal fringe. This is the process where the peoples or the individuals are blocked symmetrically from various of rights, resources and opportunities. This resources, rights and the opportunities are available to the different group members in a social integration and human rights within a particular type of group. The outcome of the structural exclusion can affect the communities or the individuals that are restricted from fully join in the communal, financial and the political life of the society in which these individuals are living. This lead to a resistance in a typical form of protests, demonstrations and lobbying from the peoples who are excluded.
One of this example is that the facial recognition system failed to detect or misidentifies the faces mostly when the body tone or the skin colour is not white. This fact of the structural exclusion is explained briefly in the article “Facial Recognition Is Accurate if You're a White Guy". The face recognition technology is one of the emerging technology which has been renovated in recent times. The contribution of this technology in society is on security purposes. Though it is one of the emerging technology, the recent researches have been shown that it is an ineffective technology due to the fact that it has been failed in many times. This failure of the facial recognition system leads to the fact of criticism of structural exclusion (Kramer & Ritchie, 2016). The excluded peoples are the peoples who are having the black skins in this case but still they are able to get same experience which the white peoples got.
From the data of facial recognition system it has been determined that in wide usage the success rate is mainly with the males and majority of them are white. This system fails to do the proper job with the black females. This is not actually a fault in the technology, but it has been occurring due to the algorithm of the facial recognition technology which is written by the humans. That means while developing this technology. The developers failed to address the user attributes which needed to be taken into consideration. In this case, the developers believed that as it is working for the white peoples, then it should be working for the black-skinned peoples in the same way. That indicates the code which is used for the facial recognition system is not the ethical one. As this technology is now accepted broadly in society, then it might be using some ethical codes when it will be developed further in future generations (Lohr, 2018). Till that time this type of unethical code can create a huge inequality in technological device or system which is considered as the structural exclusion.
Non-Human Actors and ANT Theory
The theory of the actor network demonstrates how the assembly of the sociotechnical elements have been done. This theory also demonstrates how the social structures which are actually large, works using the stabilized materials which forms a network itself. Actually this is the theory of methodological and theoretical approach of the social theory. This theory comprise the concept of the theory is that everything of the natural and social world is continuously shifting networks of relationship (Actor Network Theory, 2018). The ANT theory or the actor network theory is also contributed towards the social theory. By contributing towards this the ANT theory successfully shown how the artefacts and the technology contributed in the process of patterning and in ordering the social aspects. According to this theory the actor can be anything which is having ability to act. There are two types of actors which are non-human and the human actors. In this theory the network act as a joint of a two systems of associations. In most of the cases this systems are the peoples and the things. By using the network each of the actor connects, influences, shapes, depends and strengthen the position each other’s position. Actor denotes the non-human and the human-actors and the network denotes the shape of this actors by virtue the relationship with the one another (Pages, 2018). It assume that there is nothing outside the relation of networks. It also suggest that there is no difference among the ability of the humans, technology, animals and the other non-human acts. As the actor engages with a network it caught up in the relations of the web and become an entelechy part.
The blackbox is considered as a sealed type of network which contains the things and the peoples. According to the Bruno Latour the blackbox is the technical and scientific work which is invisible due to of its own success. It does not matter that how complex the blackbox is and how the history is contested within it. The blackbox is stable enough that it can be treated like the artefact in which only the output and the input is counted. The approaches of the social constructivist to the technology and the science which includes the social construction of the technology (SCOT). This SCOT is often goes around the black box opening (Larose, 2018). The opening of the blackbox is actually the process of the measuring program’s effect without the examination of the nature of the program. In this evaluation process it is determined what the peoples thought and what they do after the process of the intervention in the blackbox. In many of the cases a post-intervention comparison has been done to assess what the peoples know and what they have done before the process of the intervention ("Opening the Black-Box to Evaluation", 2018). Actually, the evolution of the blackbox doesn’t help in the understanding of replicating the past results in future. This is because it is not determined previously that what will be changed of the program to get better results.
Exploring Peak Oil
While considering the techno script, the scripts elaborates that it is process how the technical objects constrain or enables the relationship among the peoples and the things which includes the human relationships. This consists two things which are the designer’s inscription and the user’s de-scripition. The designer’s inscription defines actors with various types of tastes motives, competences, political prejudices and aspiration and the actor assumes that technology, morality, economy and science that evolves in a particular way. It implies that the engineers and the designers builds new type of artefacts using simple or complex technologies that includes a script.
The actor-network theory or the ANT demonstrates how the elements related to the socio-technical is assembled. The actor is considered as something which has the ability to act. Considering the ‘Network', it is capable of tie-up two different systems together. These include designers, distribution, construction and the use of objects. The network also connects the peoples by including the material object. Considering the ANT, this helps to link the non-human actors, and the human actors as all of the actors can shape, influence and can strengthen the position of each other. The actor-network theory also contributes to the theory of social by describing how the artefacts and the technology contribute to making the society in a specific order. This theory faces main criticism with the selection as it is the responsibility of the analyst to determine what the actors wanted to follow and where the actors want to stop. For a technological evolution, recognizing the non-human actors are very much essential as this non-human actor plays an important in the technological functions. That indicates human actors are significantly dependant on the non-human factors for the technological function completion. To show the similarity documentary can be analysed which is the “A Crude Awakening”. This shows the relationship among the human actors and the non-human actors. The human actor is the peoples of the society, and the non-human actors are the crude oil in this case. This relationship shows that the human economy is dependent on the usage of the crude oil as it is non-renewable energy and the consumption of it is in the peak position. In a broad way, the human actors include the oil consumers, government officials and the workers in the oil industry while the non-human actors are the oil industry, machinery and the crude oil. In the network part, it includes machinery, peoples, electricity and the oils which are required for maintaining the functionality. To stabilize the entire network, all the actors must be involved together.
Impacts of Peak Oil
The ANT or the actor-network theory is able to enable the non-human actors including the artefacts and the technologies to affect the orders and the patterns of the social worlds of the humans. In the case of the “A Crude Awakening” documentary, the theory of the ANT is applied, and it has been analysed one of the major non-human actors will be finished in the near future ("Even the International Energy Agency expects peak oil now", 2018). This non-human actor is the crude-oil itself. As this major non-human actors will be finished the entire actor-network will be broken.
In the documentary, the peak oil represents that the crude oil extraction is in the peak condition. That means after this peak condition decline in the crude oil reproduction will occur. That means the crude oil will be finished in the near future. As the crude oil will be finished this non-human actor will be removed from the entire actor-network and the whole network will be collapsed. Though it is the peak oil condition now, still the oil industries failed to realize that how much they are dependent on the crude oil (Peak Oil News and Message Boards | Exploring Hydrocarbon Depletion, 2018). As the production is declining over time while the demand is increasing, the price of the crude oil is increasing, and this is having a negative effect on the global economic condition.
As the amount of crude oil is decreasing with the time new sources of energy are now being discovered, though there are many new sources for the energy they might not be compatible with the current technology or those sources might not be useful till the oil drained. The documentary “A Crude Awakening” showed that different sections of the world depend on the crude oil energy in a different way. This huge demand of the oil has raised the production, and this is leading to faster depletion of the crude oil. In this case, the black box is a significant factor for the ANT that is able to describe why crude oil is so important for society. The society only cares about the production and the usage of the crude oil, but they forgot to consider the global crisis of the crude oil which will eventually occur in the near future ("Even the International Energy Agency expects peak oil now", 2018). Continuous ignoring this will invite the assessed crisis, and the black box will be shuttered totally.
In the case of the techno script, it will also be going to be affected due to the oil production. As the production of the oil will be declined, the technological artefacts will be affected as these artefacts are defined in the relationship between the actant and the actors through the description of the user and the inscription of the designer considering the oil. The original scripts are changing due to the constant change in the oil needs and due to the advancement in the technology. This scripts will be adjusted when some another source of energy will replace the oil. Also, the technological frames will be changed due to the production minimization of the oil. The main concern is that the countries which completely rely on oil production will face a huge problem in both political and economical way when the production of the oil will be stopped.
The light bulb changing task cannot be considered on the analysis of the techno script. It does not matter that how many analysts are present there. The analysts only describe the information and represent the examination done on the designs and the issues. This actually clears that the task of changing the bulb physically is the job of some other peoples but not the analysts. The analysts can take one techno script to assess the best way of changing the light bulb. More ideas can be incorporated together to determine a more efficient way of changing the bulb.
Actor Network Theory (2018). Retrieved from https://www.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/5222_Ritzer__Entries_beginning_with_A__.pdf
Even the International Energy Agency expects peak oil now. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/even-the-international-energy-agency-expects-peak-oil-now/article1462033/
Kramer, R. & Ritchie, K. (2016). The trouble with facial recognition technology (in the real world). Retrieved from: https://theconversation.com/the-trouble-with-facial-recognition-technology-in-the-real-world-69685
Larose, S. (2018). Criticisms of SCOT (November 6). SOC 3116 B - Technologies, World and Societies.
Latour, B. (2018). Technology is society made durable. Retrieved from https://www.bruno-latour.fr/sites/default/files/46-TECHNOLOGY-DURABLE-GBpdf.pdf
Lohr, S. (2018). Facial Recognition Is Accurate, if You’re a White Guy. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/09/technology/facial-recognition-race-artificial-intelligence.html
Opening the Black-Box to Evaluation. (2018). Retrieved from https://stephenjgill.typepad.com/performance_improvement_b/2012/10/opening-the-black-box-to-evaluation.html
Pages, T. (2018). A Brief Summary of Actor Network Theory. Retrieved from https://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2011/12/02/a-brief-summary-of-actor-network-theory/
Peak Oil News and Message Boards | Exploring Hydrocarbon Depletion. (2018). Retrieved from https://peakoil.com/
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