#40 Robot Reflections: Inger Mewburn on researching researchers & welcoming our robot overlords

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In episode 5 of our STS Series, Inger Mewburn, Associate Professor and Director of Research Training at the Australian National University, founder of the popular blog The Thesis Whisperer and author of How to Tame Your PhD, Becoming an Academic, How To Be An Academic, and How to Fix Your Academic Writing Trouble, chats to our own Jodie-Lee Trembath. They talk about what it means to be a post-disciplinary or interdisciplinary scholar using ethnography to understand social phenomena, about machine learning and the values that are reflected through the machines we create, and how sometimes these values are ones that we don’t really want to see, and about the future of research and work where algorithms and technology form a collaborative effort between humans and robots. QUOTES (full list on thefamiliarstrange.com) “[Machine learning] is a broad area of study, and that’s one thing you don’t see from a distance is how broad it is. We like to do what we call human-in-the-loop type of machine learning, which is a co-creation of something. So, what we’re using is the machine to, sort of, both capture our knowledge and reflect it back at us, but at the same time the machine’s training us … When a social scientist or an anthropologist or anyone for that matter, who’s looking to collaborate with a machine, it’s a collaboration: they shape you, you shape them, what you make is this nexus in between.” “Ethnography is just a really considered look at what’s right in front of your face – the familiar strange, right. As soon as you slow things down, start to take things apart, you notice things that, in the moment, just pass you by.” LINKS AND CITATIONS (full list on website) If you'd like to read Inger's blog The Thesis Whisperer, you can find it here: https://thesiswhisperer.com/ This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific and College of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, and is produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association. Music by Pete Dabro: dabro1.bandcamp.com Shownotes by Deanna Catto

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