That the mechanization of labor is entering a new and accelerated phase is well recognized. Robots and artificial intelligence have purchase in all corners of the economy, operating in many areas where humans previously labored, reasoned, and governed. The implications of all this mechanization for basic questions in political ecology, however, remain under-examined. How does the offset of wage labor in agriculture affect intensification, inputs, outputs, and waste streams? What role do robots, drones, and automated remote observation play in conservation, and to what degree do these trends solidify or erode the power of “fortress” conservation? How does automation increase or decrease human access to, and interaction with, the thriving riot of biotic non-humans around them? This session seeks to rigorously examine trends in robotics, mechanization, and artificial intelligence in areas of resource management, agroecology, and conservation, among others, uniting the core concerns of political ecology with analysis of trends in the automation of economy. We seek papers that not only provide conceptual and theoretical purchase on these questions, but also those that provide concrete cases, exploring all aspects and dimensions (both normatively positive and negative) of the emerging ecology of robots.
|Presenter||Karen Bakker*, University of British Columbia, Empathy machines? Political ecologies of the interspecies internet||15||9:55 AM|
|Presenter||Erle Ellis*, University of Maryland - Baltimore County, Deconstructing the Social Construction of Nature: Empowering Nonhuman Agency in Autonomous Conservation Systems||15||10:10 AM|
|Presenter||Mary Lawhon*, University of Oklahoma, Tyler McCreary, Florida State University, UBI: It Changes Everything||15||10:25 AM|
|Presenter||Lauren Gifford*, University of Colorado, Boulder, Alyssa Whitcraft, University of Maryland, Show me the money: When conservation finance is held hostage by GIS data||15||10:40 AM|
|Presenter||Laura Martin*, Williams College, Instrumentalizing Care: The Automation of Ecological Restoration||15||10:55 AM|
|Discussant||Paul Robbins Nelson Institute for Environmental StudiesUniversity of Wisconsin||20||11:10 AM|
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