Artificial Intelligence In Wheelchair: From Technology for Autonomy to Technology for Interdependence and Care

휠체어 탄 인공지능: 자율적 기술에서 상호의존과 돌봄의 기술로

  • 하대청 (광주과학기술원 기초교육학부)
  • Received : 2019.05.25
  • Accepted : 2019.07.12
  • Published : 2019.07.31


This article seeks to explore new relationships and ethics of human and technology by analyzing a cultural imaginary produced by artificial intelligence. Drawing on theoretical reflections of the Feminist Scientific and Technological Studies which understand science and technology as the matter of care(Puig de la Bellacas, 2011), this paper focuses on the fact that artificial intelligence and robots materialize cultural imaginary such as autonomy. This autonomy, defined as the capacity to adapt to a new environment through self-learning, is accepted as a way to conceptualize an authentic human or an ideal subject. However, this article argues that artificial intelligence is mediated by and dependent on invisible human labor and complex material devices, suggesting that such autonomy is close to fiction. The recent growth of the so-called 'assistant technology' shows that it is differentially visualizing the care work of both machines and humans. Technology and its cultural imaginary hide the care work of human workers and actively visualize the one of the machine. And they make autonomy and agency ideal humanness, leaving disabled bodies and dependency as unworthy. Artificial intelligence and its cultural imaginary negate the value of disabled bodies while idealizing abled-bodies, and result in eliminating the real relationship between man and technology as mutually dependent beings. In conclusion, the author argues that the technology we need is not the one to exclude the non-typical bodies and care work of others, but the one to include them as they are. This technology responsibly empathizes marginalized beings and encourages solidarity between fragile beings. Inspired by an art performance of artist Sue Austin, the author finally comes up with and suggests 'artificial intelligence in wheelchair' as an alternative figuration for the currently dominant 'autonomous artificial intelligence'.


Supported by : 한국연구재단


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