Designing the Driver out of the Equation

Speaker: Dr Jameson Wetmore # Arizona State University

11th Nov 2013

15:30 - 17:00

Conference Room, David Hume Tower


This seminar will explore the attempts by automobile safety advocates in the United States to redesign the relationship between people and machines to address the problem of automobile injuries and fatalities. It will focus on a series of events in the 1970s when government regulators, insurance company executives, and many safety advocates focused on “designing the driver out of the problem” by developing technologies that would ensure safety regardless of the actions of the drivers and passengers.  By examining air bags, seat belts, automatic seat belts, and a variety of other strategies, it will trace how the goal of delegating responsibilities to artifacts instead of human beings was debated, attempted, revised, and at least partially abandoned 


Speaker Biography

Jameson Wetmore's work combines the fields of science and technology studies, ethics, and public policy in order to better understand both the interconnected relationships between technology and society and the forces that change those relationships over time. His research spans a broad array of topics and time periods, but most of it comes back to a recurring question: How do people design and create technological systems and, in turn, how do these technological systems help to define, reinforce and propagate specific values? He is an Associate Professor at Arizona State University and is visiting STIS in Autumn 2013.


For more information, please contact Alyson Macdonald (tel. 0131 650 9113).