Pub. Date:
Stanford University Press
Studying Those Who Study Us: An Anthropologist in the World of Artificial Intelligence

Studying Those Who Study Us: An Anthropologist in the World of Artificial Intelligence

by Diana E. Forsythe, David J. Hess
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Diana E. Forsythe was a leading anthropologist of science, technology, and work, and especially of the field of artificial intelligence. This volume collects her best-known essays, along with other major works that remained unpublished upon her death in 1997.
The essays proceed as a series of developing variations on the key questions that still confront science and technology studies today. What assumptions do expert systems designers make about users, and about knowledge more broadly, when they build software? How should humans interact with computers, and how do they, really? Why do computing firms hire anthropologists to study human-computer interaction, and what do anthropologists find once they are hired? And how and why are traditional power asymmetries between men and women produced and maintained in engineering firms and laboratories?
The book is not only a significant anthropological study of artificial intelligence and informatics, but is also an exemplar of how reflexive ethnography should be done. Among several pioneering strands of thought, it investigates the roles of gender and power in computer engineering, looking at the cultural mechanisms that support the persistent male domination of engineering, and analyzing the laboratory as a fictive kin group that reproduces gender asymmetries.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804742030
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Publication date: 07/01/2002
Series: Writing Science
Edition description: 1
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 1,076,104
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.62(d)

About the Author

The late Diana E. Forsythe was Associate Professor in the Medical Anthropology Program at the University of California, San Francisco, and a visiting scholar in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at Stanford University.

Table of Contents

Editor's Introductionxi
Editor's Notexxvii
1.Blaming the User in Medical Informatics: The Cultural Nature of Scientific Practice1
2.The Construction of Work in Artificial Intelligence16
3.Engineering Knowledge: The Construction of Knowledge in Artificial Intelligence35
4.Knowing Engineers? A Response to Forsythe59
5.STS (Re)constructs Anthropology: Reply to Fleck66
6.Artificial Intelligence Invents Itself: Collective Identity and Boundary Maintenance in an Emergent Scientific Discipline75
7.New Bottles, Old Wine: Hidden Cultural Assumptions in a Computerized Explanation System for Migraine Sufferers93
8.Ethics and Politics of Studying Up in Technoscience119
9.Studying Those Who Study Us: Medical Informatics Appropriates Ethnography132
10."It's Just a Matter of Common Sense": Ethnography as Invisible Work146
11.Disappearing Women in the Social World of Computing163
12.George and Sandra's Daughter, Robert's Girl: Doing Ethnographic Research in My Parents' Field183
AppendixAdditional Publications197

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