34th Chaos Communication Congress

»Think big or care for yourself«
2017-12-28, 12:45–13:15, Saal Dijkstra

Technology is perceived as a danger. In German nursing sciences the dominant position on emergent technologies demands the removal of machines from caring environments („Entmaschinisierung“). In contrast to this, European research policy heavily focus on developing new health and social technologies to solve societal issues like a skill shortage in nursing. In this talk we first give an overview on main arguments against digital technologies in care with an example of a current research project in the field of Augmented Reality in care work. Secondly, we argue that those luddite positions in nursing science are losing touch with their subject’s reality. Consequently, they are about to miss another chance to establish their sphere of influence.

In the first part of this talk we introduce current positions of German nursing science and German nurses on emergent technologies. For German nursing scientists the main element of nursing is the relationship between the patient and their nurse. One central aspect of this relationship is communication. Corporal [“Leib”] perception is stressed as well as implicit or tacit knowledge. Nursing experts are presumed to use these kinds of knowledge to guide their action. It is argued that digitalization stands in the way of using these kinds of non-discursive knowledge, as digital technology is only able to display discursive knowledge. Thus, care logic and logic of technology are described as incommensurable. Nevertheless, usage of electronic health records is increasing. Furthermore, a wide range of prototypes are developed as they are conceived as solutions regarding existing problems at least from certain points of view. E.g. Smart Devices can be used to support blood sampling or the documentation process. We will show you a prototype which is part of our research project, to offer you the possibility to get your own ideas of advantages and disadvantages. In the second part of this talk the theoretical premises of main arguments against technology will be revealed and a counterperspective will be introduced. The progress of biotechnologies in some way stimulates a slowly growing mutual interest of the humanities and natural sciences. Notwithstanding in nursing science there is still a hostile attitude against if not a categorical denial of technologies ranging from robotic systems to smart home technologies and even the PC. Emergent technologies are mistakenly seen as strongly (and only) bound to medicine and hence being hopelessly fought. On closer consideration it becomes obvious that the theoretical premises of this perspective is deeply linked to the idea of human exceptionalism. In their (neo-) humanistic vindication nursing scientists seek to set themselves free from the influence of medicine as a dominant discipline. In doing so technology becomes the uncanny “other”. For it is a question of perspective a brief glimpse into the idea of Gilbert Simondon on the “open machine” will be offered as a possibility to rethink the relation between humans and technology.