Modes of AI research: stealing old ideas

“This time is different” is a common refrain from AI’s more passionate advocates. Here’s Maggie Boden on the history of ideas in AI, from her incredible 1,000+ page history of cognitive science. If today’s AI researchers aren’t deliberately stealing and renaming old ideas, as Father Hacker advises, they are sometimes reinventing the wheel—and lack of […]


Categories: research notes

Human capabilities for innovation in UK makerspaces

Title: Human capabilities for innovation in UK makerspaces Authors: Cian O’Donovan and Adrian Smith Précis: Makerspaces can be a source of human capabilities that benefit people and society. But these capabilities will only lead to flourishing communities if they are accompanied by structural changes to our economies, cities and environment. Full blog at STEPS Centre.


Categories: blog

Reasons the UK doesn’t need an MIT of the North

From Twitter FT.com headline: Johnson plans to shift civil servants out of London. PM said to be keen to locate new government agencies outside capitalLink: https://www.ft.com/content/56230938-27d7-11ea-9305-4234e74b0ef3 Does UK science and technology need an MIT in the North? Wrong question. Rather, do we need an MIT model at all? Almost certainly not. Here are a few […]


Categories: research notes

Technology and Human Capabilities in UK Makerspaces

Title: Technology and Human Capabilities in UK Makerspaces Authors: Cian O’Donovan and Adrian Smith Download full paper: 10.1080/19452829.2019.1704706 Abstract: The relationship between technology and human capabilities is an ambivalent one. The same technology can expand capabilities for some users under certain circumstances, whilst diminishing capabilities for others situated differently. In this paper we analyse human […]


Categories: journal article

Explicitly ethical standards for robotics

Title: Explicitly ethical standards for robotics Authors: Cian O’Donovan Full paper download: https://www.sussex.ac.uk/webteam/gateway/file.php?name=odonovan-2019-robotics-standards-210210.pdf&site=25 Abstract: This paper explores how explicitly ethical standards for robotics are peer-produced. It describes the motivations, organisation and practices of standardization contributed by a globally distributed community of experts. The research question asks what kind of rules for robots are being created […]


Categories: working paper

Automation, technology and choices

Letter to the editor, Irish Times. Sir, – You highlight the threat to jobs in Irish towns in your coverage of the UCC report on automation technologies (News, February 22nd). Whether this anxiety is justified or overstated, as later news reports suggested, the authors present automation as an inevitable force of nature. It is not. […]


Categories: blog

Maps, Measures and Narratives for Transdisciplinary Research

Title: Maps, Measures and Narratives for Transdisciplinary Research. Report: A workshop for the ESRC Nexus Network Authors: Becky Ayre, Cian O’Donovan Full download Abstract: The report summarises the activities and discussions at the workshop coordinated by the ESRC Nexus Network at the UCL Institute of Global Prosperity on 1 May 2018. It offers some conclusions […]


Categories: report

The emergence of innovation systems in new locations

Title: The emergence of innovation systems in new locations: theoretical explorations and an in-depth case study of wind energy technologies in Ireland, 1990-2014 (PhD Thesis) Author: Cian O’Donovan Download full thesis Summary: This thesis is about the processes of creating renewable electricity systems in new locations. Specifically it addresses the challenges and drivers of building-up […]


Categories: journal article