The main argument of the author is that even though there are various misinterpretations regarding technological determinism, which ultimately leads to either refuting or for subtle analysis of the phenomenon, she asserts that the characteristics of technological determinism still exists. She also argues that how STS for 25 years was refuting the primary premises of technological determinism the same way as technological development is taking place outside of the social world, but failed to understand technological determinism as a whole. She argues for a serious discussion around technological determinism
As we already discussed, he is putting forward a new idea for analysis of computation called actor-network theory. The core of the article is why there is a need to have conceptual tools to understand computation, by discrediting the conventional technicist interpretation.
i. The author starts his ideas through a preliminary step of critiquing computer revolution, as an academician, he distances himself from the common sense hype given to computation as the only causal factor for social and economic change, on the other hand , he argues that it is the change in social and economic processes impacts upon technology.
ii. The alternative theoretical paradigm proposed by the author gives an account of how new technology aka computation have a correlation with gender, race, political economy and skills rather than focusing on the nature of work. The overall understanding of these factors, either their stability or change gives a complete picture of change of the nature of work particularly and the society in general iii. It is not the proposition of technology that must change, the society that a paradigm shift happens. It is the actor's need that defines such a situation and what technology should be implemented under sociocultural straining factors. The author further explains this as "Who cares whether computers are really changing society? The fact that employers think this is true means that they are more open to thinking about the way those information systems can affect organizational culture, which means more opportunities, like participatory design, for us anthropologists to have an impact"
I. Problematizing the standard view of technology: The desocialisation done by common sense Modernism and the standard view technology reduces the overall creativity and aesthetics of the the relationship between social structures and artefacts (products of technology) same way, the Standard View also "dissocializes the meaning of technological artefacts", by reducing the meaning of it into its alleged function, where cultural and social meanings are considered superficial.
II. According to Binford (1965), there are two dimensions for an artefact. "The primary, referring to the instrumental dimension related to the artefact’s function, and the secondary, related to the artefact’s social meaning and symbolism". By critiquing the over-emphasis upon human needs and necessity emerging from his or her natural instinct, the author argues that it is culture, not nature that defines such needs and necessity.
III. According to the author, a new way of understanding called socio-technical system helps we navigate through the complexities emerging from the conventional approach. This idea of the sociotechnical system stems from the work of Thomas Hughes on the rise of modem electrical power systems. “According to Hughes, those who seek to develop new technologies must concern themselves not only with techniques and artefacts but they must also engineer the social, economic, legal, scientific, and political context of the technology."
I. The empirical change in the labour market of United States: Around 1970' when the initial booming of technology, works at sectors with high-paid cognitive and low-paid manual tasks increased, on the other hand, jobs in middle-paid routinized tasks which required such skills were hit by unemployment due to technological interventions. After a small period of initial boom, "the marginal productivity and therefore investments in new technologies decrease as capital accumulates" which lead to a decrease in the demand for high-paid cognitive and middle-paid routine tasks, and an increase in low paid manual tasks and unemployment.
II. Impact on education, distribution and regulation policies: The technology also impacted the educational system due to its demand for the high - skilled employees to fill the voids and smooth running. It will be interesting to look at how bachelors in technology and engineering sector were booming around this change in economic policies. The income distribution and regulation of technology also lead to the equilibrium formulated between capital, labour and technology.
Equilibrium impact upon technological process: “It is intuitive to assume that technological progress not only changes relative labour demand but also impacts on other parts of the economy. For example, in 1930 John Maynard Keynes wrote: We are being afflicted with a new disease of which some readers may not yet have heard the name, but of which they will hear a great deal in the years to come—namely, technological unemployment. This means unemployment due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour. But this is only a temporary phase of maladjustment. . . . If one believes at all in the real values of life, the prospect at least opens up the possibility of benefit. (Keynes, 1930)" This shows the importance of equilibrium to be achieved for redistributing the positive consequences of correlation between labour and technology.
I. Poor houses and red flagging: The individualist responsibility becomes a burden for the poor, who are always accused of his laziness and responsibility, which led to him to this fate. The red flagging is the initial process where the poor come under the radar to catch ' potential frauds'. The inequality is reproduced among the poor and working class through cutting down the accessibility and delegitimizing their rights to welfare schemes ().
II. The theory of able and impotent: This division of poor into those who are rightful in claiming the social security and those who live upon eating the citizen's tax. Conveniently, it put forward a message of who is a citizen and who is legitimate or able poor. The basic logic behind this elitist division roots from the historical blame on poor liked a 'culture of poverty. The author explains these criteria or eligibility through automation and its consequences in chapter 2.
Algorithms, sympathy and discretion: the author talks about how algorithms play an important role in curtailing the basic social security plans available for an average U.S citizen through its impersonal, codified responses. Through algorithms, the agency which uses it has the accountability of welfare schemes and it also detects 'unwanted' payments and 'overspending outside by the individual and blocks it. This data collected, analysed and implemented by the automation is used by beurocrats, politicians and other agencies with high social, cultural and psychological consequences upon poor and working class
“Labour markets are characterized by imperfect information about the location of workers and of vacancies, and by asymmetric information on the ability of workers and the quality of their work. Here technology can change both the search and hiring process and also facilitate new monitoring and performance management schemes once an employment relationship is initiated" () rather than looking into the one-dimensional impact of technology as a substitute, he emphasises its role in change at other dimensions of production, industry and labour.
I. Hiring: The developments related to technology and information technology increased the possibility with which the labour force is able to find out jobs that are matching (). A study by Kuhn & Mansour (2014) and Faberman & Kudlyak (2016) found that online job search is mostly associated with short tenure works than for jobs with a commitment for longer durations. The efficiency to find such apt works are high in an online job search than the offline ().
II. Production: This is a classic example of work that has been changing after the so-called ' technological change. The author argues that technology mostly affects the way and quality of works rather than a complete change and quantitative difference of work. Earlier "labour markets were characterized by imperfect information about the location of workers and of vacancies, and by asymmetric information on the ability of workers and the quality of their work. Here technology can change both the search and hiring process and also facilitate new monitoring and performance management schemes once an employment relationship is initiated", with the intervention of technology.
Monitoring: is an important aspect of production and labours in relation to profit. It is a conventional assumption that those who work as wage labour have a tendency to be lazy and to be non-committed to their works. From the era of feudalism, itself monitoring was an important tool to control and subordinate the ' working' class such as peasants, bonded labourers and the modern proletariat. The technology is used to enhance the monitoring and increase the surplus by efficient coordination between automated machines and those who operate it. He argues that" Tesco uses electronic armbands to track the movements of stock pickers in its warehouses. The armbands direct staff around the warehouse, instruct them to select particular items and automatically log inventory. The company Steelcase puts sensors in office furniture to monitor how employees interact and how long they stay at their desk, while Evolve takes screenshots to monitor how individuals are working in real time"
"What explains the slowing growth of abstract task-intensive employment? One interpretation is that automation, information technology, and technological progress, in general, are encroaching upward in the task domain and is beginning to substitute strongly for the work done by professional, technical, and managerial occupations. While one should not dismiss this possibility out of hand, it does not fit well with the pattern of computer and software investment. If information technology is increasingly replacing workers high in the skill distribution, one would expect a surge of corporate investment in computer hardware and software. Instead, data from early 2014 shows that information processing equipment and software investment was only 3.5 per cent of GDP, a level last seen in 1995 during the outset of the “dot-com” era.
I. Humanistic approach - non-routine tasks: most people look on to work as monotonous, impersonal, regular works. But before the onset of these works, there were works which were atypical to democratized routine works. For example, a medical nurse who needs to give doses of medicine should use her immediate discretion power of whether to use it or not in an already sedated patient. Even though he/she might think about her work as something routine, it is not always a pre-planned setting, where automated machines can apply their coded response. “Computers largely substitute for routine tasks, how do we characterize the no routine tasks for which they do not substitute?"
In Autor, Levy, and Murnane (2003), they distinguish two broad sets of tasks that have proven to be stubbornly challenging computerization. One category includes tasks that require problem-solving capabilities, intuition, creativity, and persuasion. These tasks, which we term “abstract,” are characteristic of professional, technical, and managerial occupations. They employ workers with high levels of education and analytical capability, and they place a premium on inductive reasoning, communications ability, and expert mastery.
The second broad category includes tasks requiring situational adaptability, visual and language recognition, and in-person interactions—which we refer to as “manual” tasks." Both of these extreme ends of the labour spectrum shows the diverse characteristics in it, and how they respond to automation and other accused technologies supremacy. The author also opines that this polarisation will not exist for a longer period. The prosperous period for abstract, high skill jobs in the one end of the spectrum are getting complimented by the technology and the low- skilled, manual works are overflowed from the supply of labour force, who were belonged previously to the middle range, mediated jobs such as office staffs and clerks. It is also important to note how much per cent of the labour force was previously working in this post-world war middle range service sector jobs or before the advent of the so-called technological interventions and automation. The increased accessibility and lowered skills make the lower stratum of work called manual works became a "daunting challenge for automation" in the US labour markets.
II. The over-emphasis upon literary tools in social sciences such as postmodernism and post-industrial society, had hidden the empirical truth upon production? Does production really cease to exist? As David Harvey noted in his book 'Spaces of capitalism’ (2001), the biggest advantage of capitalism is its flexibility and that the opposition to this is highly fragmented and not united. Clearly depicting a Marxist interpretation. But when we look deeper into the strategy of capitalism, behind the boogeymen of globalization and technological digital world, the real production became an invisible project. Theoreticians are contesting upon whether our society is passing through modernity or postmodernity, but the basic empirical scene is yet hidden under the name of the automation. The author argues that most of the semi-skilled and skilled jobs are offshored to the 'third world ' where the labour and resources are cheap. This shows that there are many factors apart from the influence of technology and automation which causes the reduced number of jobs in North America and the European Union. As noted earlier," technological change is far from the only factor affecting US labour markets in the last 15 years. For example, the deceleration of wage growth and changes in occupational patterns in the US labour market after 2000, and further after 2007, is for sure associated to some extent with two types of macroeconomic events. First, there are the business cycle effects—the bursting of the “dot-com” bubble in 2000, and the collapse of the housing market and the ensuing financial crisis in 2007–2008—both of which curtailed investment and innovative activity. Second, there are the employment dislocations in the US labour market brought about by rapid globalization, particularly the sharp rise of import penetration from China following its accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001 (Autor, Dorn, and Hanson 2013; Pierce and Schott 2012; Acemoglu, Autor, Dorn, Hanson, and Price forthcoming,)
According to the author this 'multidimensional complementarity among causal factors' leads to a faraway conception of single and pure reason for job losses and shift in production paradigm.
The Polanyi's paradox and automation: The social philosopher Polanyi’s idea of our inherent inability to express completely on the matters we know is used by the author to explain how certain ideas upon discretion and aesthetic knowledge cannot be translated and being unable to be expressed into the language of technology. "Polanyi's paradox—“we know more than we can tell”—presents a challenge for computerization because, if people understand how to perform a task only tacitly and cannot “tell” a computer how to perform the task, then programmers cannot automate the task—or so the thinking has gone to one." As an impartial researcher, the author gives accounts of how technology “through a process of exposure, training, and reinforcement, machine learning algorithms may potentially infer how to accomplish tasks that have proved dauntingly challenging to codify with explicit procedures(). But, “an irony of machine learning algorithms is that they also cannot “tell” programmers why they do what they do. “He gives examples of google car and automation programs started by Amazon and how they paradoxically highlighted the limitation of technology to accomplish certain non-routine tasks where the capacity of 'human ingenuity' is integral in removing such obstacles and ‘reengineering the environment' while the particular tasks are accomplished. He also argues that " the issue is not that the middle-class workers are doomed by automation and technology, but instead that human capital investment must be at the heart of any long-term strategy for producing skills that are complemented by rather than substituted for"
"Global phenomena are not unrelated to social and cultural problems. But they have a distinctive capacity for decontextualization and recontextualization, abstract-ability and movement, across diverse social and cultural situations and spheres of life. Global forms are able to assimilate themselves to new environments, to code heterogeneous contexts and objects in terms that are amenable to control and
valuation. At the same time, the conditions of possibility of this movement are complex. Global forms are limited or delimited by specific technical infrastructures, administrative apparatuses, or value regimes, not by the vagaries of a social or
1) The decline of the Asian tiger model: the author gives empirical examples of how this industry oriented economy was left by both Singapore and Malaysia. On the other hand, they were introducing new economic policy based on neoliberal ideas of expertise, technological innovation, the boom of service sector etc. the author quotes a press conference where the Singapore supremo declares about a new economy based on expertise and service boom rather than the manufacturing and industrial orientations
2) Knowledge economy: one of the basic reason for this change is the new economic policies oriented towards a knowledge economy. The knowledge economy was boosted by starting technical universities and other greater infrastructure to get the benefits out of it. The ecology produced by it envisions a new way of development. According to author “Particular alignments of knowledge, politics, and ethics also constitute an ecology of positions, whereby diverse subjects are administered in relation to each other. The government of diverse populations increasingly depends on the neoliberal calculation of the worth, as individuals and populations become operable through specific knowledge’s, techniques, and expertise"
3) Nativism, clash of citizenship and resistance: it is well argued in the book that, this change provoked a greater retaliation from the 'native' citizens who include both the elites of past who controlled the export-oriented economy and subaltern classes who are losing jobs due to structural changes in the economy. The new definition of citizenship through global assemblages and import of expertise made these people believe that they become secondary citizens and state were more preferential towards the foreign experts. “Citizenship becomes invested with technological and risk-taking values, foreigners, it appears, have been the ones to benefit most handsomely from government largess. The moral demands of a technopreneurialism citizenship have risen higher as citizens are expected to compete with Asian foreigners on home ground. The continual influx of expatriates and their coding as the scientific experts or entrepreneurial subjects have coincided with the retrenchment of less competitive workers in a variety of fields. Growing public anxiety has surfaced in the state-controlled newspaper. Some letters to the editors request that first job preference be given to locals and that only unfilled positions be occupied by foreigners"
1) Flexibility - the new world view: by quoting the experts on flexibility, the author explains how flexibility became the new and swiftly spreading set of ideas in every intersection of life. it is said to be one of the desirable condition by the current populations and this is used in academic, educational and other ways of understanding regarding the immune system and other phenomenon’s related to the 'flexible body'
2) The cultural construction of immunity and body: even the top brass scientists and researchers in the medical field don’t have a concrete answer to what is called an immunity system and how it works. Like social theory, they try to define it from the socio-cultural context and its metaphors for better explanations. For example, the author explains about immunity as ' body at war'. She also argues about how the immune system is defined as the totality of 'immunology on the street, alternative understandings and immune philosophy of scientists and practitioners in the socio-cultural context such as flexible specialization.
3) The important criteria for a better understanding of the main argument by the author are not through formal interviews and mere participant observation. she argues about a way of understanding called visceral learning, which with the combination of conventional ways helps us to understand how flexibility is rooted in day to day life and all aspects of it.by quoting the author is quoting a scholar called Bloch (1991 " what might be called visceral learning has long been part of field-work in the anthropological sense and is often what sets anthropological work off from that of other disciplines. Maurice Bloch believes that most of what anthropologists learn is gained precisely through these kinds of non-linguistic, felt experiences, not through the answers to verbal questions but directly to people (Bloch, 1991)
1) The India-Bharath discontinue: the author explains how this discontinuity in the Indian economy, is evident in how India is failing at becoming a full-fledged creating of an entrepreneurial economy based on expertise. after the BPO hype and IT boom also, there is a huge chunk of Indian population even in the outskirts of cities and rural area unaware of what is entrepreneurialism, and still works forces at traditional setting rather than being a ' citizen with the responsibility'.
2) origin: the origin of taking engineers, scientist and innovators as heroic on one hand and leading advocates of entrepreneurialism are rooted in the ideology of neoliberalism, where the state itself withdrawn from the responsibility of social welfare and individuals as corporations are expected to help out the poor for the sake of nation building. The dangerous equation of development with poverty eradication is another reason for the emergence of innovative technology-based enterprenauralsism ideology as a substitute for centralised socialist planning. Existed till 1991.
3) Class, caste and middle class: one of the main question asked by the author in her research is whether India is able to achieve the three goals such as development, creative freedom and uplift the poor through the idea of entrepreneurship. The first problem raised is regarding the participation of all classes. A multi-diverse nation with a brutal colonial past, with brutal hierarchies, will be unable to democratise this process, certainly, this was also happening all around the world. But what makes India more vulnerable is the stronghold of the caste system over the political and economic system. the Indian middle class is largely an out product of an educated, upper caste, who have a dominant representation in all sections of social life, especially in the think tanks, beurocracy and policy-making bodies. This actually harms the idea of a complete enterprenual society