It was a lot of fun to think about the ethics of outsourcing emotional labor to technology for Christine Rosen's excellent piece for Slate this week. Check out the full article here.
Furthermore, despite the hype that often accompanies their release, these technologies can reinforce existing inequalities and stereotypes about caregiving, for example. Julia Ticona, a doctoral fellow in sociology at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia who studies the social impact of technology, told me, “I think it’s important to ask questions about how these technologies may reinforce or perhaps change our ideas about care and who’s ‘naturally’ more inclined to do it. Which patients will receive human care, and who will be tended to by robots? For me, thinking about devices that are designed to save humans emotional labor in the future is a really interesting place to look at the politics of care in the present—who gives it, who gets it, and how much we value it both emotionally and in dollars and cents.”