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ISSN 0869-5377
Author: Erofeeva Maria

Erofeeva Maria

Senior Research Fellow, International Center for Contemporary Social eory, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences (MSSES); Research Fellow, Center for Sociological Research, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), 84 Vernadskogo ave., 119571 Moscow, Russia.


Work in the Age of Intelligent Machines: The Rise of Invisible Automation / Logos. 2019. № 1 (128). P. 53-84
annotation:  The article analyzes how an emerging form of automation may drastically transform contemporary employment dynamics. Recent breakthroughs in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) make it possible to automate both manual and mental non-standard tasks. The first part of the article traces the development of AI. Whereas classical algorithms required the creation of a hermetic environment for AI to thrive, modern neural network-based AI is capable of surviving in the chaotic realm occupied by humans. Based on an analysis of changes in the nature of AI, the authors distinguish between substitutive and supplemental automation. The former refers to a complete replacement of humans by machines, while the latter indicates a selective substitution of humans in specific professional functions.In order to conceptualize professions as a nexus of automatable components, the authors employ Goffman’s dramaturgical framework. Goffman studied the social visibility of professional activity. Goffman held that any profession can be divided into invisible routines that are fundamental to it and a dramatization that makes the profession socially visible. The article demonstrates that the current utopian and antiutopian views of automation both reduce work to its visible components and neglect the logic of supplemental automation. The authors argue that the targets of modern automation are not the socially visible components but the invisible routines. In the final section, the authors develop a model that takes these invisible professional routines into account and analyze what effect this new type of automation may have on different types of professions with differing degrees of social visibility.
Keywords:  artificial intelligence; neural networks; mess; automatization; professional occupations; dramatization; Erving Goffman; social visibility; labor market dynamics.
Actor-Network theory: An Object-Oriented Sociology Without Objects? / Logos. 2017. № 3 (118). P. 83-112
annotation:  This article compares different ways of conceptualizing the object in actor-network theory (ANT). Contrary to Graham Harman, the author argues that ANT considers objects as trajectories, and their material realizations as events. This allows us to speak of the sameness of an object. The interpretation of objects proposed here is connected with the conceptualization of objects as institutions and projects, which one can read about in ANT studies of socio-technical artefacts. Different phases of a project represent different forms of the existence of an object, which brings about an object-institution, i.e. technology embedded in collective life. The institution and the project represent actantial and temporal dimensions of delegation respectively, i.e. the ability to act while being absent (in the article this is called “a folded presence in an object”). In this conceptualization, objects have a relational being. In order to find a pattern for analyzing all kinds of objects particular to ANT, the author turns to the problem of technology as “a privileged object.” Drawing on the works of Bruno Latour on the anthropology of the moderns, it is demonstrated that technological objects are hybrids (quasi-objects) which produce other kinds of objects (natural and social), and therefore can be seen as privileged. At the same time, the article stresses that the constitutive feature of technologies is not materiality, but rather the specificity of the folded presence, which makes only technological objects visible, while technology itself is invisible. The author concludes that technology cannot be considered as a privileged object; instead, ANT uses a relational pattern of describing how actions of different actors are connected in order to analyze them.
Keywords:  actor-network theory; object-oriented sociology; object-oriented ontology; material turn; object; technology; Bruno Latour; Graham Harman
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