Conference Agenda

RN24_01a: Science, technology, innovation & society I
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Harald Rohracher, Linköping University
Location: UP.3.213
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Third Floor Oxford Road


The Social and Ethical Challenges Of The Intellectual Property Rights In Human Genome Editing Technologies

Franc Mali

University of Ljubljana/ Faculty of Social Sciences, Slovenia

In the last time, the tremendous progress of human genome editing technologies has big influence on biomedicine. It is predicted that newest genome editing tools (e.g. CRISPR-Cas 9) will revolutionize field of biomedicine. They will revolutionise the treatment of human disease, correcting defective genes within diseased bodies, and banishing genetic errors from the germ-line. Taking in regard the anticipated (presented) revolutionary impact of human genome editing technologies on human life, there are arising a lot of new social, ethical and legal dilemmas. In the contribution, there will be presented the issues who should have the property rights on this revolutionary technology. In the last five years, these tensions have been nowhere more evident than in the patent battle between Jennifer Doudna's research group (The University of California) and Feng Zhang' research group (The MIT/ Broad Institute). This most disreputable case of patent battle between two academic institutions did show extreme mutual exclusivity of both involved parties which are leading to negative social (and ethical) consequences for the further progress of this revolutionary technology and its application in biomedicine. The contribution will try to explain the social reasons and (negative) consequences of increased battles among academic institutions (research groups) around ownership of basic discoveries in the new revolutionary technologies. The attention will be given to socio- economic (ownership versus open innovation models) as well as socio- ethical (the use of patentable subject matter doctrine in different periods of development of genetic engineering) reasons. The comparison between different world regions concerning this precarious issue will be also taken in regard. The paper will base on author's theoretical and empirical analysis in the last two years.

DNA Recombination/Archeology of Artificial Life

Eva Slesingerova

Goethe University, Germany/ Masaryk University, Czech Republic

Taking analytical inspiration from the contemporary sociological and anthropological views on knowledge, technology and science studies, the paper shows the outcomes and initial results of ethnographical research conducted in biochemical laboratories in the Czech Republic in comparison with a German context. The fieldwork relates to the context in which the various technologies of DNA recombinant and genome editing are used. DNA recombinant is understood here as the exchange of DNA strands to produce and design new nucleotide sequence arrangements. Specifically, the paper focuses on technologies that deal with “lifelike entities”, “bio-informatic life models”, “immortal cell lines”, “genetic tools/genes as tools”, “edited DNA sequences”, and “living beings”.

The views, perspectives, and attitudes of scientists and laboratory technicians are analysed and presented with special regard for the naming and dealing with emotions and body or life borders. It primarily addresses the following questions: How do scientists approach issues of life and embodiment? How they relate themselves to the various interfaces of bodies, biological tissues, machines, digital simulations and other networks? How do they deal with their expectations, hopes, fears and emotions in general?

The Technopolitics of an Augmented and Virtual Reality: Gamifications in the Womb of Neoliberalism

Daniel Muriel, Jaime Cuenca

University of Deusto (Spain)

In recent years, there has been a proliferation of devices with augmented and virtual reality capabilities such as virtual reality glasses and smartphones, which have widely fostered a process of hybridization between digital and physical objects, connecting bodies, technologies, and spaces in complex sociotechnical assemblages. These devices and the social practices that entail are developed within particular social and political apparatuses, which determine what and how can be seen and done. In this paper, we would like to explore some of the most relevant technopolitical implications of both augmented and virtual reality.

While these technologies are increasingly applied to the fields of labour, education, healthcare, it is in their use as leisure devices where their potential to transform our daily social interactions in a decisive way becomes most apparent. In this sense, this paper aims to explore the – often unnoticed – political implications of virtual and augmented reality technologies as they are being used in different contexts to gamify all sorts of practices, social interactions, and activities. Building upon theoretical debates around the hegemonic dispositifs, scopic regimes, and political rationalities of our time, we will discuss some of the different ways in which these technologically mediated and gamified contexts can shape power relations by offering new forms of disciplining bodies, opening up wider territories for sur- (and sous-)veillance, enabling identity reconstruction, and affecting spatial representations, among others. Not only do virtual and augmented reality reproduce some of the main political implications of dominant neoliberal narrative, but they also carry the promise of new modes of power relations and agency that help transform our daily interactions in unexpected ways.

Innovation Practices in Social Collaborative Frames: Hackathons Are Not For Hackers?

Julianna Faludi

Corvinus University Budapest, Hungary

Social innovation is about „reinventing innovation itself” where participation, deliberation and community are focal points of the process (Smith 2017). Hackathons are many times framed as social, or include a public goal in their activity (Gregg 2015), which stems from them being applied based on civic, organizational, governmental, or corporate backing. The framing of hackathons plays a role in defining the voluntary effort of the participants. This implies that the instrumental usage of hackathons may serve various purposes, and invite participants as contemporary lifestyle “problem-solvers” or those pursuing “self-actualization” (Davis 2017), far from hackers and hacker ethics of the computer world, rooted in subcultures of computer-hackers (Coleman). Hackathons, app jams, and coding camps are being criticized for their precarious nature, however they may seem to be an interface for a broader study of the contemporary precarious society (Gregg 2015, Söderberg 2012 Zukin and Papadantonakis 2017). This paper takes under scrutiny the potential for social innovation focusing on how the ‘social’ is being tucked into ‘innovation’, where innovation is a social action itself (Hellström 2004). Particularly it focuses on education-driven and citizen-science framed social hackathons as practices of collective social action to innovate for social change (Cajaiba-Santana 2014).