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Technology and Social Imagination

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Technology and Social Imagination

How to imagine a livable world by designing and debating technologies

Technology is not simply an object of engineering design and economic analysis. It permeates our personal and social lives. As we design and use technology, we also imagine a society. Our relationship with technology is something that needs to be morally thought through, socially negotiated, politically debated, and culturally assimilated. Our decisions on when, where, why, and how people will interact with technology affect the ways we interact with each other and our society is governed. We redefine education when we put tablet PCs and Internet connections in classrooms without necessarily increasing human interactions between teachers and students. We reformulate medicine and welfare when we replace human caregivers in healthcare and elderly-care facilities with robots of human and animal forms. We redesign democracy when we substitute communication technologies of mobile voting for human presence and paper ballots. We reignite debates about human rights and the criminal justice system when we attach electronic bracelets to sex offenders. These are complex and difficult issues and they are deeply connected with important policy discussions in education, healthcare, welfare, law, and politics. Technology and Social Imagination Research Group aims to enrich public discussion on how to engage with technologies in imagining better societies.

Project

  • Electricity Dispatch, Accidents, and Experience in the Age of Automation

    Yeongsu Kim and Chihyung Jeon

    In Korea, the electricity dispatch work—generation, transmission, transformation and distribution of electricity—has been controlled by the Central Load Dispatch Center (CLDC) and automated for the past half century since its establishment in 1961. This project traces the history of such automation, focusing on the experiences of the dispatchers who coordinate the electric power system 24 hours a day. With automation, dispatchers' tasks have changed from calculation of equations and acquisition of data for the economy and quality of electricity into surveillance over accidents and malfunctions within the power grid for reliability. Former dispatchers gained experience from accidents whereas recent dispatchers receive training with computer simulators. These historical findings can be useful in interpreting the follow-up measures taken after the nationwide rolling blackout occurred in 2011.

  • Technologies of medicine and Their Policy Implications

    Hana Cho and Chihyung Jeon

    From stethoscope to telemedicine, medical technology has evolved in accordance with the society's demand and creative pursuit for better health. Advancement in medical technology has highlighted a novel concept of medicine such as robot doctors and distant diagnosis. Yet social implications of these technologies need more attention. We want to investigate the changing role of doctors and patients in response to new medical technologies that have been shaped within social, cultural and political landscapes.

  • Science in E-education

    Hanbyul Jeong and Chihyung Jeon

    Development of the Internet infrastructure has brought great changes to the field of education. E-education has overcome the physical distance between educators and students and achieved equality in education. My research interest focuses on the various implications and impacts of E-education in science education. How do science educators and students perceive E-education? E-education has enabled fast and effective transfer of knowledge but could there be possible negative consequences? What other aspects should we consider in education along with transferring scientific knowledge? This research examines what aspects of science—knowledge, practice, methodology, etc.—are highlighted or downplayed in the E-education of science.