The possibilities of robotics in situ

Categories: research notes
Categories: research notes
Image by cian
Robot delivery at the 2019 SciRoc Smart Cities competition. Photo: (cc) Cian

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 situational analysis approach, at SCALINGS, we’re trying to make sense of these kinds of efforts to do innovation, experiments and trials with, in and on the public. We’re tracing the actors that make a difference, the discursive arrangements they are contributing to and trying to establish some axes of difference, concern and controversy in our data.

We’re not quite sure what we’ve got yet. But already it’s clear that ideas in the mix include how roboticists engage the public, how human practices are re-coded as ‘everyday tasks’, and strangely content-less notions of what smart cities are and might be.

Situational map of the analysis
Work in progress: situational map of the analysis of three competition events including Milton Keynes.
Interactions. Photo (cc) Cian
Awards. Photo (cc) Cian