Robotocene: the political ecology of automation II; Conservation and Species

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Balcony B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Organizers: Paul Robbins
Chairs: Paul Robbins


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.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
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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