“We don’t get paid for empty beds”

A snippet of research that I’ve just been expunged from a working paper on how care and accountability are imagined in the UK’s social care infrastructures. An interview with Mike Padgham, managing director of the Saint Cecilia’s care home group in Scarborough reveals to the Financial Times the choice [care home operators like him] faced […]


Categories: research notes

Human capabilities and diversity

My friend O overheard (oversaw?!?) this gem at one of those big summer conferences academics go to, the kind that migrated to Zoom in 2020. She knew I’d like it. I did. Skip forward a few months and I’m desparately hacking at a piece of writing that is far too shrub-like for its own good. […]


Categories: research notes

EASST/4S 2020: Scaling robot demand through doing robotics in public

Presentation from 4S EASST 2020. Download PDF here.Authors: Carlos Cuevas Garcia, Cian O’Donovan, Federica Pepponi Presentation abstract: Scalability has been a key driver in research funding initiatives in the field of robotics. A widely spread assumption in this field suggests that for robotics to thrive it must create and keep adapting to an ever growing […]


Categories: presentation slides

Capabilities for doing transdisciplinary research

Large funders of research are increasingly framing their research investments in terms of societal challenges. When funders like UKRI in the UK look across their portfolios, they often talk about expanding research capacity in a certain area to tackle these challenges. Say in AI research, or climate change, or sustainability. or even economic productivity. This […]


Categories: working paper

The possibilities of robotics in situ

Backstage at the 2019 SciRoc Smart Cities robotics competition at the Centre:MK shopping mall in Milton Keynes, UK. What was inside this box was inevitably less intriguing than the possibilities of its exterior. But maybe that was the point of hosting a four day competition for robot developers inside of a shopping centre. Using a […]


Categories: research notes

How UK Research and Innovation projects imagine social care and accountability

Some ongoing data research on how innovation and technology projects funded by UK research councils consider understand social care. I wanted to know two things: How research about innovation in social care such as assistive living robotics, advanced data tech like AI and machine learning applications and tele-health conceptualised and imagined what exactly social care […]


Categories: research notes

AI ethics from the ground up

Presentation from a special workshop at #WebSci20. Presentation abstract: Interdisciplinary research has led to significant breakthroughs in the fields of AI, robotics and autonomous systems. Yet it has also been the basis of significant controversies. Cambridge Analytica and Facebook’s amalgam of psychographics, data science and engineering at scale being perhaps the most infamous recent example. […]


Categories: presentation slides

They promised me robots

This article originally appeared in Alchemy. Science for the Real World. The magazine of UCL’s Department of Science and Technology Studies. June 2020. They promised me robots. What I wasn’t expecting was a foyer that was something between luxury spa and elderly day centre. I was in Stoke Gifford, ExtraCare’s still-under-construction retirement complex outside Bristol, […]


Categories: blog

Statues perform their politics in the present

Published in the Irish Times, June 13th, 2020, in response to “Once you start pulling down statues, where do you stop?”, Opinion & Analysis, June 12th. Sir, – Diarmaid Ferriter’s article on history’s complexities is well made. Yet it neglects the current controversy’s chief concern – that statues in our streets are political statements in […]


Categories: blog

Warehouse working conditions and the NHS contact tracing app

From a Twitter thread A question for @NHSX: Can you assure us of accountability, recourse and fairness all the way down the application stack? The NHS contact tracing app is using a tonne of technologies, platforms and infrastructures from private and public orgs to get this done. @NHSX tell us our data is safe, our […]


Categories: research notes