Anthropology + Technology 2021 Conference, May 20-21

Theme: How do we respond to the problems in tech using our abilities?

How do we create technology that doesn’t exacerbate or reinforce existing social and economic inequalities?  This question has been central to the conference since it was inaugurated. The tagline for the conference, ‘Championing socially-responsible tech’, invites the tech industry and researchers to reflect on what actions we can take to address inequality.

Companies building technology “have a right to advance the art of technology in many different ways and use what they can to best advantage”, but they also have a “responsibility to the people who will be affected by it”. In developing tech, we must always bring the focus back to people and society and create technology that augments human capabilities rather than replacing them, and build tech that works for people, demonstrably and measurably.

From the many articles and papers published over the past few years, we know what the critiques are. The question is: what do we do? We must instead focus on achieving actual change. How do we respond to the problems in tech using our abilities?

The  conference will be renamed the Response-ability Summit to reflect this focus on action, and broaden the conversation beyond anthropology to the social sciences generally, Announcement to follow.

We invite you to propose a 10-minute talk. What is your company or institution *doing*? A great example of ‘doing’ from the 2020 conference is Lisa Talia Moretti’s talk, in which she shared how to *do* ethics. We want to hear from people working both in start-ups and large corporations, as well as academia. How are you applying social science to tech? How do we *do* interdisciplinarity (it’s hard work). How *do* we design, build, and deploy tech that reflects a society we all want to live in? How *do* we decolonise tech?

Deadlines

All deadlines are 11:59pm, BST (London).

  • Deadline for submissions: Monday 1 March
  • Notifications: Friday 14 March
  • Final presentation submissions: Friday 8 May (so we can check/upload your presentation, if recorded).

How to submit your presentation proposal

Please submit your presentation to info@anthtechconf.co.uk. To be accepted, your proposal must be 200-300 words in length and include:

  • a short title
  • your name, and institution or company
  • your contact email address
  • a short bio
  • any social media links (e.g. LinkedIn and Twitter)
  • any other relevant information you want to share with us.

About the Conference

The Anthropology + Technology Conference is a unique two-day event that brings social scientists and technologists together to foster interdisciplinary conversations on how to build, design, and deploy tech responsibly.

The purpose of the conference is to encourage and facilitate conversations and collaborations between the social sciences and technology, particularly in industry. This conference was created in response to the rapid pace of emerging technologies and the strong belief that the perspective of social scientists has never been more critical.

It was founded in 2018 by Dawn Walter and the inaugural event took place at the Watershed in Bristol, U.K. in October 2019. The event returned on 9 and 12 October 2020, this time online, connecting speakers and delegates from across the globe, and two major sponsors, Microsoft UK and Spotify, with funding from UKRI (ESRC). (A renaming and redesign process is currently underway to better reflect the broader social sciences, not just anthropology. The new name will be: Response-ability Summit.)

For 2021, we return on May 20-21, both online and offline in various European cities including Bristol, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Helsinki, and London, local covid restrictions permitting. This means accessibility is retained while enabling delegates to meet in person, something we’ve all been missing. The first day will be talks, panels, and debates. On the second day delegates can attend workshops, a career clinic, or participate in challenges, designed to showcase what the social sciences can offer and how to work with social scientists on tech projects. Come away inspired and with practical tips and tools to apply to your work and research. Further announcements to follow.