From the Lab to the Street?

Mapping the Issues of Driverless Cars with Digital Methods

12 February, 2018, 15:30 – 18:30
University of Edinburgh

Joint Workshop
Depts of Sociology and Science, Technology and Innovation Studies

This workshop considered the use of digital methods of issue mapping to elucidate a substantive question: how have driverless cars been received ‘in society’? In the UK, street trials of driverless cars have been on-going since at least 2016 on motorways and in city centres. Social media provide a prominent site for analysing public engagement with this form of innovation “in society” and, as I will argue, they may even allow us to investigate how relations between debate forums and field sites are being configured as part of this innovation drive. The workshop will start with a presentation of the case, and of preliminary results of analysing driverless car tests in social media, in particular Twitter and Youtube. In the second half of the workshop, participants will be invited to produce an issue map of their own using social media data. We will conclude with a discussion about the capacity of issue mapping to render analys-able changing relations between field and platform, street and laboratory, in a digital society.